The Cowboys had a tough opponent in the Week 1 – the New York Giants. Interestingly enough, this is their third consecutive season when the two teams face one another in the first week of football. This time, it was the Cowboys that prevailed with a 19-3 victory in front of 93,183 fans who couldn’t wait for this season to commence.
The whole team stepped up, but there are always individuals who steal the show and this time it was Jason Witten, a veteran in his 15th season with Dallas. He tied Ed Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei for the most seasons with the club, but before the game, he also needed 17 yards to pass Michael Irvin for the most receiving yards in the Cowboys history. In the first quarter, he had a seven-yard catch, later on, he broke the record in the second with an 11-yard long grab.
But this was not all from the old man. Witten passed Tim Brown and moved into sixth place on the NFL’s all-time career catches list and posted a team-high seven receptions for 59 yards. Witten also scored the first touchdown of the season for the Cowboys. What a night!
Even before his score, Dallas was in control of this game, dominating on the stat sheet through each side’s first four possessions of the match. Dallas had 170 total yards, compared to the Giants’ 41, but there was also a vast difference in passing yards – 125 for the Cowboys and only 18 for the Giants. Moreover, Dallas had nine first downs, whereas New York only two and this pretty much set the tone for what was to come.
Even though the differences were more than clear, it was a score which counted, and Dallas had only six points on the board thanks to kicker Dan Bailey who was confident from 21 and 48 yards. The Cowboy’s dominance continued, and the results started to show just before the half time. The fifth possession was crucial, and Dallas moved forward 65 yards in just six plays to reach the end zone. The team from Texas had help in Giants’ cornerback Janoris Jenkins who committed a 21-yard pass interference penalty, moving the ball to 15 yards from the line.
Prescott found the veteran Witten for the TD, his 64th in what already is an amazing career. Before the half, the Cowboys forced the three-and-out and started one last attack from their own 24-yard line. They reached the New York half quickly, and Bailey came out on the field once again to send the ball between the bars from 42 yards – 16-0, Dallas.
The Giants had to change something, so in the third quarter, they had a 16-play drive which lasted almost 10 minutes, but they couldn’t get more than 3 points on the play. And this was the only serious attack by the Giants in the entire match. Dallas managed to stop every Giants’ attack partly because the punter Chris Jones forced the visitors to start their drives from their 10-yard line or deeper four times total. Later in the game, Anthony Brown recorded an interception after which Bailey was certain once again, this time from 36 yards, increasing the lead to 19-3.
The Cowboys dominated every aspect of the match with Ezekiel Elliott that continued where he stopped last season finishing with 104 rushing and 36 receiving yards. Prescott completed 24 out of 39 passes for 268 yards and one TD. Meanwhile, Terrance Williams had ankle issues, so he had to leave the field after a first play, but he returned to record 68 receiving yards on six catches. Orland Scandrick injured his hand, which could be a problem for the Cowboys in the future but the vulnerable Dallas defense proved that it could play. They limited Giants to 233 yards in total and sacked Eli Manning three times, two times being the courtesy of DeMarcus Lawrence.
The Cowboys started the season well, and now they are heading to the Mile High City to face the Broncos next Sunday.