ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys did just about everything they wanted to in their regular-season opener, thrashing the Giants, 35-17, in a one-sided contest.
There are plenty of highlights to pick from in this game, with Dak Prescott throwing four touchdowns and Ezekiel Elliott rushing for another. But all games have those hidden plays that perhaps go unnoticed or are forgotten that still played a huge role in the outcome.
Here are the five plays you can’t forget about:
Gallup extends drive with tough catch
The Cowboys trailed 7-0 and had a third-and-4 at their own 49-yard line. Up to that point, Prescott had struggled with his accuracy and on this play, he fired the pass over the middle in a crowd to Michael Gallup, who had to make an acrobatic, contested catch in traffic to get the first down. That proved to be big, as the Cowboys didn’t have to punt and instead continued the drive for the score. It would prove to be the first of five consecutive scoring drives by the Cowboys – all ending in touchdowns. As for Gallup, it was his first catch of the day in what became a career performance for the young receiver. He finished the game with seven catches for 158 yards.
LVE rushes Eli into penalty
With the Giants facing third-and-1 at the Cowboys’ 35-yard line late in the first quarter, it appeared New York had two plays to get a first down and try to regain the lead. But Eli Manning was flushed out of the pocket by a swarming Leighton Vander Esch, forcing the veteran quarterback to hurry his throw toward the sideline. He was called for intentional grounding since the pass didn’t make it back to the line of scrimmage, leading to a 10-yard penalty. The Giants were pushed back to their 45 and punted to the Cowboys, who then drove the field for a go-ahead score.
Cobb’s extra effort leads to a TD
With the game tied 7-7 in the second quarter, the Cowboys had a third-and-10 at the Giants’ 18-yard line when Prescott hit Randall Cobb on the right sideline short of the first down. But the crafty receiver kept himself alive on the play using some hand-fighting to prevent the tackle and ended up reaching the 4-yard line for a first down. Moments later, Jason Witten scored on a short pass from Prescott for a 14-7 lead.
Cowboys benefit from NYG holding call
The Cowboys were driving late in the first half, leading only 14-7 when they had a second-and-20 near midfield. Cobb caught a 7-yard pass to set up a third-and-long but away from the play, Giants linebacker Tae Davis was flagged for holding Blake Jarwin down the field. That gave the Cowboys an automatic first down, and they not only scored, but chewed up five more minutes of game clock to go into halftime up 21-7.
Giants stuffed on third-and-2
The Giants trailed 28-10 but had a shot to cut the lead down to two scores. But with a third-and-1 on the Cowboys’ 8-yard line, New York opted not to give the ball to star running back Saquon Barkley, instead handing off to fullback Eli Penny, who was stuffed for just 1 yard. On the next play, Eli Manning rolled out to pass but was sacked and then fumbled. The Cowboys were in the end zone just minutes later for a 35-10 lead.