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Dallas Cowboys defeat New York Giants on MNF behind another solid game from Cooper Rush

  • September 27, 2022

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Wearing his headset on the sideline, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott lifted the speaker and howled a “Let’s go!” that was so loud that ESPN’s broadcast microphones picked it up.

Backup Cooper Rush, making his second start in place of the injured Prescott, had just lofted a perfectly-placed throw to receiver CeeDee Lamb for a one-yard touchdown that would put the NFC East-rival New York Giants away, 23-16.

The victory allowed the Cowboys (2-1) to stay on the heels of the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, who have looked to be the class of the division through the early going of the season. The performance, however, was not without its significant faults.

Here are the takeaways from Dallas’ victory Monday night.

Reliable Cooper Rush

Rush — once again — played reliably and proved once more that he is a reliable backup in this Dallas system. He finished the game 21-of-31 passing for 215 yards with one touchdown.

He released the ball quickly, throwing passes in an average of 2.54 seconds, and avoided mistakes. He distributed the ball to Dallas’ playmakers, despite facing a steady dose of blitzes (48.4%). In particular, Rush found gaps in the second level of the Giant defense. In passes that traveled between 10 and 20 yards, Rush completed 5-of-6 throws for 108 yards.

So, though Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ comments about there being a potential quarterback controversy are nothing more than an attempt to drum up coverage for a team that loves to be in the headlines, Rush provides something far more valuable than manufactured intrigue: he’s dependable. And that’s all the Cowboys need from him.

Jekyll and Hyde in the red zone

The Cowboys entered Monday night as the NFL’s top outfit in red zone conversion rate, though that came with a significant caveat: Dallas had crossed the 20 just twice in the 2022 season. Still, Dallas scored touchdowns in each of those trips, both of which came in a Week 2 victory over the Bengals. 

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Unforced errors and penalty problems persist

In what is quickly becoming a hallmark of Mike McCarthy’s Cowboy squads, lapses of concentration and unforced errors often mar the team’s momentum at inopportune moments. On Monday night those problems were manifested in drops and penalties.

Third-year wideout CeeDee Lamb, who has underwhelmed so far this season, had two early drops in the game, including one in which he was wide open, streaking down the left sideline for a potential touchdown. Like Dallas’ course correction with its first half red zone woes, Lamb shined after intermission and made one of the catches of the season when he hauled in a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone.

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