The Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Cooper Rush was nearly flawless, and the relentless pass rush of Dan Quinn’s defense earned the Cowboys a win on Monday Night Football over the New York Giants 23-16 at the Meadowlands. The Cowboys advance to 2-1 with the win over their division rival, ending the Giants’ best start to a season since 2016.
Rush continues to perform at a high level while churning out numbers that many starters in the league will envy. On Monday, Rush threw 21 completions on 31 attempts and hooked up with CeeDee Lamb for both players’ first touchdowns of the season.
Rush totaled 215 yards passing while the Cowboys running game finally began to take shape. A big part of the reason was an outstanding job in protection by the Cowboys line. Rush was only hit twice and had only three of his passes blocked by the Giants defense.
The Cowboys had hoped to get receiver Michael Gallup and tight end Dalton Schultz on the field in Prime Time, but neither were ready to go by game time. Instead, newly-elevated tackle Jason Peters stepped in after guard Matt Farniok struggled in pass protection. On his first play, Peters set a block that sprang running back Tony Pollard for a 46-yard scamper to set up the Cowboys’ second field goal.
Pollard finished the night as the leading rusher with 105 yards on 13 carries. Ezekiel Elliott also turned in respectable numbers, earning yards the hard way with power runs straight into the defense. His total for the night included his first rushing touchdown of the season, which was also the first given up by the Giants defense. Elliott had 15 carries for 73 yards.
Lamb arguably had the biggest play of the night, a sensational one-handed catch with a toe drag over tight coverage for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. The score was redemption for Lamb, who dropped what would likely have been a walk-in score in the first half.
The Cowboys defense continues to evolve into an unpredictable and aggressive unit under Quinn. With linebacker phenom Micah Parsons slowed this week due to a cold and double-teamed throughout much of the game, his numbers weren’t as flashy as they have been. Instead, it was the rest of the defense that was making plays to the tune of five sacks for 27 yards and a total of six tackles for loss.
The icing on the cake for Dallas came on the Giants’ final offensive snap. Cornerback Trevon Diggs was in coverage against receiver Michael Shephard when the Giants player went to the turf. Diggs dove for the errant Daniel Jones pass, getting his hand beneath the ball and maintaining control for his first interception of the season. The takeaway allowed the Cowboys to come out in victory formation as the remaining time bled off the clock.
The Cowboys return to AT&T Stadium on October 2 to face their second divisional opponent in a row, the Washington Commanders. The Commanders lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3 by a score of 24-8.