DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants 21-6, earning their third straight win and inching closer to an NFC East title. Week 15 featured another week where the defense led the charge and the offense played just well enough to help the team come away victorious.
Sunday’s outcome was never much in doubt. While this wasn’t exactly one of those ugly wins that the Cowboys have become accustomed to, it wasn’t as pretty as the early-season games when the offense was clicking, either. Dak Prescott and company had some good moments, but there is still work to do.
Mike McCarthy mentioned the other day how he doesn’t start talking about the playoffs until his team gets to 10 wins. Well, his Cowboys are now 10-4. Dallas faced three road games to start December and they came away with three wins.
The surprise isn’t that the Cowboys are at 10-4 and in control of the division, it’s how they are doing it. The defense is leading the charge while the offense is figuring things out.
Against the Giants, the defense was once again the main reason for dominating another rival. From the start, Dan Quinn’s unit set the tone. It was just six plays into the game before the defense created its first of four turnovers.
Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence’s menacing afternoon began when he hit Giants quarterback Mike Glennon’s arm while he was throwing, and the pass floated in the air. Just as the Cowboys have done all year long, they took advantage of the opportunity as cornerback Jourdan Lewis grabbed the easy interception and set the offense up with stellar field position.
Two plays later, the Cowboys punched it into the end zone for a touchdown and an early lead.
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Later in the first half, Lawrence forced Giants running back Saquon Barkley to have the first lost fumble of his career. The Cowboys turned that into three points to take a double-digit lead before the half, and by that point the game already felt over.
Dallas’ defense was far from done, however. In the second half, the Cowboys stopped the Giants twice on fourth down attempts and picked off two more passes. Trevon Diggs’ league leading 10th interception in the end zone saved the Cowboys from having to sweat out another game.
With the Cowboys on cruise control midway through the fourth quarter and up 15 points, Prescott fumbled to give the Giants life. Glennon decided to test Diggs in the end zone, but the second-year cornerback had blanket coverage to come away with the pick.
The interception gave the Cowboys the league’s first 10 and 10 guys on defense since 2007.
Meanwhile, Prescott still hasn’t returned to form, but with how the defense was playing, he didn’t need to do too much. The offense overall was better as the running game with Elliott and fellow runner Tony Pollard got into a rhythm again, grinding out 126 yards.
Yet, the passing game remained a struggle. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb had three drops, including one that likely took away points, and even with Prescott completing over 75% of his passes, there weren’t many explosive plays.
Those issues can be worried over in the coming days and weeks. For now, the Cowboys had the goal of traveling east for the second time in two weeks and leaving with a win. Mission accomplished. And with it came a season sweep of the Giants.
The Cowboys entered December losing two games in a row and were searching for a way to stop the bleeding. Now, three games into December, the Cowboys have won three games, all on the road, with two against NFC East rivals. That’s difficult to do in today’s NFL.
Dallas now enjoys a new winning streak and, unlike the one from early in the season, it’s the defense dominating instead of offense. For as much as they would surely like to see the whole team firing on all cylinders, the Cowboys will take the wins no matter how they can get them.
The Cowboys are now 4-0 against NFC East opponents, and the latest win was a prime example of Dallas being the cream of the crop in the division. The Week 15 win wasn’t perfect - but it was never a question for the Cowboys.
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