In a classic NFC East battle, the Dallas Cowboys (1-1) and the New York Giants (0-2) turned back the clock and played a style of football reminiscent of their 1990s encounters. The Cowboys prevailed 20-13. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:
If it hasn’t already, the game ball should go to defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. The Cowboys harassed the Giants offense all game, holding their division rival to 35 rushing yards and sacking Eli Manning six times. Marinelli utilized his traditional single high safety looks with a few twists. Throughout the game, the fifth-year Cowboys defensive coordinator threw in some slot blitzes and twisting stunts along the defensive line. Manning was forced to run off his spot and settle for checkdowns. Even when he had time, he “hopped” in the pocket and didn't set his feet to throw. A good example of this was in the second quarter on third down when Manning panicked and rushed a throw that went behind his intended receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. The Giants addressed their skill positions in the offseason but Dallas took advantage of an offensive line and a quarterback that were out of sync.
Cowboys kicking game
Much to the dismay of Cowboys fans, Dan Bailey was released before the season. Bailey, who had an 88-percent field goal accuracy percentage over his seven-year career, was replaced with 28-year old rookie Brett Maher. Maher missed his only field goal attempt from 47 yards against the Panthers in Week 1, but did go 2-of-2 against the Giants. The kicks were from 37 yards and 29 yards respectively. Maher wasn’t tested in Week 2 with long range attempts but his progress over the season will be worth monitoring. In a division which is so heavily balanced, special teams could decide who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t.
The Giants second overall draft pick has showed through two games that he can contribute in multiple ways. Dallas looked to stack the box against the run while also avoiding the home run ball to receivers Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard. Despite rushing for just 28 yards, Barkley caught 14 passes for 80 yards. The rookie from Penn State has transferred his open field deceptiveness from college to the NFL. On one play in the second quarter, Barkley caught the ball in the flat by beating the Cowboys linebackers to the outside and then used a spin move to avoid safety Kavon Frazier to gain a few extra yards. Look for head coach Pat Shurmur to continue to tailor the playbook to get Barkley more quick touches in the open field, whether that be in the running or passing game.