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How The Passing Game Got Back To Its Big-Play Ways In Win Over Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Cowboys and New York Giants had played to a stalemate for a quarter and a half Sunday: 50 total plays, three drives each, three points each.
Then Giants quarterback Eli Manning hit tight end Evan Engram for a 35-yard completion that led to a touchdown with 2:12 remaining in the first half. It was the first explosive play of a grind-it-out game to that point.
But quarterback Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense would counter with their own catalog of chunk plays to leave the Meadowlands with a 30-10 victory.
First was wide receiver Dez Bryant shaking away cornerback Brandon Dixon for a 50-yard catch and touchdown to tie the game 10-10 just before halftime.
The offense got three more big pass plays in the fourth quarter to seal the win: wide receiver Cole Beasley’s 54-yard catch setting up tight end Jason Witten’s 20-yard touchdown down the seam; and running back Rod Smith’s 81-yard touchdown catch on an inside slant route.
All except Witten’s were short throws with significant yards after catch.
“I credit the receivers and the offensive line,” Prescott said. “I was just getting the ball out of my hands, quick throws, and then those guys do what they do.
“For me it’s about staying within my plays, staying within my reads. And that’s why I say that’s the biggest takeaway I take from the game is doing that. It’s getting the ball out, even though they’re short routes, having that confidence and getting that guy a good throw, a throw where he can shake off his man and go make a play.”
Those four pass plays of at least 20 yards matched the offense’s total from the previous four games combined (one win, three losses) with running back Ezekiel Elliott serving his current six-game suspension.
They were a timely counter to Giants blitzes called by interim head coach/defensive Steve Spagnuolo. Bryant, Beasley and Smith each had one defender to beat and nothing but open field in front of them after the catch.
“Dak did a great job of getting the ball out early and giving guys an opportunity to make plays,” Beasley said.
“Anytime you play a team that sends all-out blitzes like that, if they do it enough times, one of them has got to go. It’s frustrating when they don’t, so I’m just glad we got a few to go our way today.” Read