Skip to main content

Aggressive Dallas Defense Hosts A Sack Party


ARLINGTON, Texas – At this rate, it would be easier to write about who didn't have a sack on Sunday night.

That was the vibe from the Cowboys' postgame locker, where six different players recounted their experiences bringing Eli Manning to the ground in a 20-13 win against the Giants.

"Man, they're coming out of the wood work," joked DeMarcus Lawrence. "They're looking good. I really don't know how many it is right now. I think Taco, 'Twaun, Tyrone. I don't know, did Jaylon get a sack?"

That's pretty impressive recall for someone who was playing in the game. Jaylon Smith did not register a sack, settling instead for 10 tackles and a tackle for loss – but everyone else got in on the action.

By the time Tyrone Crawford sacked Manning early in the fourth quarter, he had joined Lawrence, Taco Charlton and Antwaun Woods on the ledger – not to mention Kavon Frazier and Damien Wilson, who tallied sacks with a surprisingly aggressive blitzing scheme.

"It's just a frenzy," Lawrence said. "We're going to keep it a tight, close group. I'm just proud those boys came to work today."

If Lawrence his proud, imagine how his coaches must feel. From the start of training camp, the Cowboys have shown flashes of having a dynamic front. To unleash it during a regular season game, against a quarterback who has given them problems in the past, had to have been gratifying.

"It was really important for us tonight to harass the quarterback, because he's such a good player and they have so many good weapons around him," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett."I thought for the most part we did a good job containing him."

At the end of the night, Manning had thrown 44 times for 279 yards and a touchdown – but on top of the six sacks, he was hurried another eight times and had fumbled. He was even popped by Smith on an ill-advised quarterback scramble, for good measure.

"It's tricky when you're hitting quarterbacks, because you want them to stay up, but you bank on them going down for protection. It's a quarterback league," Smith said. "But he exposed himself, and the competitor I am, just making him pay for it."
That was a theme for the night. If the Cowboys weren't swarming Manning, they were swarming Saquon Barkley – who finished the day with 108 total yards, but needed 25 touches, including 14 receptions to get there.

"They are a fast flowing team, especially when I caught the ball in the backfield," Barkley said. "They flow to the ball really well. That was really impressive."

It's also a trend for the season – albeit a young one. Combining this performance with their loss in Carolina, the Cowboys' defense now has nine sacks through two games. They are also surrendering an average of just 274 yards per game, with a stout scoring average of just 14.5.

It continues a pattern that Sean Lee said he noticed back in 2017, when the Cowboys finished their season by allowing just 62 points in the final five games of the year – an average of just 12.4 per outing.

"I look back to last year and looked at us as the season went on," Lee said. "You look at the last four games last year, when we had everybody, when we were healthy, when some of the young guys got back and were able to play a couple games and get experience."

Lee was the first to point out that two games does not amount to a season, and that the Cowboys have plenty of work to do.

Even still, it's easy to understand the enthusiasm.