The Cowboys logged their first win of the 2018 season with a 20-13 win over the New York Giants that looks closer on the scoreboard than it really was Sunday night.
Here are five things to know about the win:
A hot start
The Cowboys came out of the gates quickly Sunday night – the opposite of their Week 1 start – with 160 total yards in the first quarter. But, possibly more importantly, they did it by opening up the offensive playbook.
The third play of the game was a 64-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to Tavon Austin, and it was an actual deep ball. It was the first 60-yard pass play in Prescott’s career that traveled more than seven yards through the air, according to the NFL's research department.
The first two series also included a 20-yard burst from Ezekiel Elliott and an end-around to Austin that netted 15 yards.
Dallas cooled down on the offensive side of the football after the first quarter, totaling 27 yards in the second quarter and another 111 in the second half.
Under pressure, pushing down on Eli
It was thought by many to be a key to the game: Get into the backfield and make Eli Manning uncomfortable. Dallas delivered.
The Cowboys applied almost constant pressure, totaling four first-half sacks and six in the game. Taco Charlton, Damien Wilson, Antwaun Woods, Kavon Frazier, Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence all recorded a sack apiece.
Wilson’s was a sack-fumble, recovered by Charlton, in the third quarter to set up a field goal.
The pressure on Eli Manning even became a meme early in the game.
The Cowboys used their weapons
Nothing in the Cowboys box score is particularly sexy, but the play-calling signaled effective use – or intended use – of their weapons.
Prescott rushed seven times for 45 yards. It's the 11th time he's carried the pigskin more than five times in a game in his career, and the Cowboys are 9-2 in those contests. The aforementioned eventual game-winning drive saw Prescott make strategic use of his athletic ability to extend the drive.
Elliott's 78 yards weren't the game-breaking total the Cowboys hope for week in and week out, but he broke off a 19-yard run and later punched it in from six yards out to end that game-winning drive – shades of 2016, when Zeke would wear down defenses in the second half. He was also targeted six times in the passing game, something that should make Cowboys fans hopeful about maximizing Elliott's versatility.
The Cowboys acquired Tavon Austin with the intention of becoming faster at wide receiver. That speed led to the 64-yard score on the opening drive. Prescott threw the ball deep on multiple occasions in the first half – something the Cowboys infamously haven't done much of in games that count.
Even Rico Gathers, the former basketball player who has a spot on the roster despite minimal usage outside of the preseason, got in on the action. He was targeted twice, including an incompletion on a play that saw him wide open in the end zone in the third quarter.
The Giants look bad right now
Sure, the Cowboys looked great Sunday night. The defense was stalwart all night, and the offense cleaned up its act after an abysmal Week 1.
But make no mistake, the Giants look bad
One would think an offense headlined by Odell Beckham Jr. and a talented wide receiver corps, Saquon Barkley and an allegedly-revamped offensive line would be headed for greatness.
Instead, they’ve scored just one touchdown in 21 drives this season, a less than five-percent rate. And that’s just a fraction of their 30th ranked rate of 13.4 percent last season, according to ESPN.
A tie for first place
Look, division standings mean nothing in Week 2 of a 17-week season. But, with the Philadelphia Eagles being upset by Tampa Bay and the Washington Redskins also losing Sunday afternoon, a win Sunday night brought the Cowboys into a three-way tie for first at 1-1.