EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Statement. Message. Ass-kicking.
Whatever the phrase you want to say, the Cowboys made it, delivered it and gave it to the Giants Sunday night in what will go down as one of the more dominant games we've ever seen in this series.
You have to go back to 1995 – and trust me when I say that many fans always love to point back to that season for other reasons. So let's go there. The most dominating win with a message sent that I can remember is when the Cowboys went into the Meadowlands to open the 1995 season and blew out the Giants, 35-0. That game propelled them to the Super Bowl.
We all know that's the last time the Cowboys have made it there because it gets referenced at the end of every season.
Who knows if the Cowboys will have the same kind of success this year because this 40-0 blowout is literally just one game, but man if it wasn't a beautiful one – at least from the Cowboys' perspective.
And the reason a game played in the pouring rain like this can be so enjoyable to watch is because they were absolutely dominant in all three phases of the game.
I almost wrote "perfect" in all three phases, but that wasn't accurate because they really weren't perfect. The rain had something to do with that, but in a way it almost makes this game even more impressive.
The Cowboys just beat a division team that made the playoffs last year, on the road, in front of the entire nation, by the score of 40-0. And it wasn't perfect? Wow, what does that really say about this team?
OK, let's clarify. The offense wasn't perfect and the special teams was close but had a missed extra point. But that defense? Yeah, perfect in every way.
If you guys know me at all, you know how crazy I am about the Arkansas Razorbacks – always have been and always will be. One of my favorite players of all time was a basketball player by the name of Corliss Williamson, who I may or may not have named a dog after. But Corliss was so good, so strong and so dominant that he had the perfect nickname for his style, "Big Nasty." So for me, nasty isn't always a negative word, and that's really the only way to describe this Cowboys defense.
That squad led by Dan Quinn and, of course, Micah Parsons is beyond nasty.
On the elevator ride down to the field, the Giants radio broadcast is piped into the speakers and the announcer was reading off the stats that said Daniel Jones was hit just 11 times in the game. "Yeah, go ask Daniel Jones in the morning if he got hit 11 times and see what he says," the play-by-play announcer said sarcastically. To him, it probably felt like 20 or 25 because that's probably what it was.
Don't forget that the Giants started off the game by running Jones all over the place. Well, those plays usually end in tackles as well, which also can be considered hits. Any way you slice it, Jones was beaten on for nearly four quarters because the Giants refused to take him out.
The Cowboys got after Jones in every which way, to the tune of seven sacks. And while Parsons had just one on the stat sheet, his presence was felt on just about every play, especially the sacks.
My favorite was the one where defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa lined up at end and Parsons dipped inside to get a double-team, leaving Osa free around the edge for a second-quarter sack.
That kind of play not only shows the strength and respect of Parsons, but the versatility of these defensive players to line up all over the place.
Donovan Wilson, the playmaking safety who hasn't played since the first day of training camp because of a calf injury, really wasn't missed because of stellar performances by Juanyeh Thomas and Markquese Bell.
And then there's the cornerback position. Also missing a veteran in Jourdan Lewis, who will probably come back next week. But they had two huge plays by Trevon Diggs that led to turnovers. Stephon Gilmore and DaRon Bland each got a pick and Noah Igbinoghene scored the first touchdown of the season with a scoop-and-score off a blocked field goal.
The depth of the defense is why the Giants scored zero points. Even when they pulled the starters, the backups were still aggressive, still hungry to make plays and probably still better than the other side of the ball.
For those who like to come back with the "it's only one game" line or something like "let's not get carried away," just remember what this game actually was. Let's put it in perspective of just one game.
It's the biggest Week 1 victory in Cowboys history. It's the biggest shutout the franchise has ever seen.
Yeah, it's just one game. One game we haven't seen before and a game that shows just how nasty the Cowboys could be this year.