Mandatory Credit: Photo by Frank Franklin II/AP/Shutterstock (13422536g) New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (90) during the first quarter of an NFL football game, in East Rutherford, N.J Cowboys Giants Football, East Rutherford, United States – 26 Sep 2022
The Dallas Cowboys (2-1) got another solid performance from backup quarterback Cooper Rush in their big 23-16 win at MetLife Stadium over the New York Giants.
Rush leads another late comeback
Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush made it three wins in three starts, leading Dallas to the win over the Giants on Monday night.
Like his first two wins, Rush had to bring the Cowboys from behind to get the victory over New York.
Dallas trailed 13-6 before Rush led the Cowboys on a lengthy drive to tie the score on an Ezekiel Elliott 2-yard run.
On the very next drive, Rush picked up a crucial fourth down with a 5-yard completion while leading the Cowboys on an 85-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb to give the Cowboys the lead.
Rush, starting his second straight game for an injured Dak Prescott, completed 21 of 31 throws for 215 yards to improve to 3-0 in his career.
Running game breaks loose
Once the Cowboys put nine-time pro bowler Jason Peters into the lineup at left guard in the second quarter, the running game took off.
The Cowboys finished with 178 yards rushing, while Ezekiel Elliott scored the offense’s first rushing TD of the season.
Tony Pollard, who finished with 105 yards, broke free for a 46-yard run on Peters first play of the season. The Cowboys biggest play of the season led to a Brett Maher field goal and the early lead.
On the next drive, Elliott, who amassed 73 yards, would have his biggest run of the season, with a 27-yard scamper behind Peters on third and 12.
It is the most yards rushing by the Cowboys since they put up 153 yards last season in a week 12 win over New Orleans.
Barkley held in check
New York running back Saquon Barkley came into the game leading the NFL rushing through the first two weeks of the season, but the Cowboys kept him in check most of the night.
Barkley, who had just 26 yards on seven carries at halftime, broke free on a 36-yard touchdown run early in the second half before finishing the game with 81 yards.
It is the first rushing touchdown the Cowboys have given up this season.
The Cowboys’ defense, led up front by defensive tackles Quinton Bohanna, Trysten Hill, and Osa Odighizuwa, were able to plug the holes up front for the first half, while the defensive ends kept him from turning the corner to pick up big yards.
But the NFL’s rushing leader was able to get his yards in the second half as the Giants continued to pound the ball on the ground.
Barkley added 45 yards receiving on four catches to go with his 14 carries in the Cowboys’ win.
Lamb comes to life
CeeDee Lamb caught a 1-yard TD pass to give the Cowboys the lead midway through the fourth quarter. At the time, it was Lamb’s eighth catch of the game.
He made a 26-yard grab, his longest in the game, on the play before the touchdown to get the Cowboys down the Giants’ goal line.
Lamb finished the game with eight catches for 87 yards and the one score.
But it wasn’t a good start for the Cowboys’ top receiver.
Lamb dropped what might have been a 52-yard touchdown strike if he could have pulled in the pass at around the Giants’ 20-yard line in the first half.
Lamb was open coming across the middle, and quarterback Cooper Rush put the ball where he could catch it in stride. Lamb just dropped the ball. It was one of four drops the Cowboys’ top wide receiver had in the game.
Defensive pressure too much
While Micah Parsons has been the talk of the defense over the first two weeks of the season, it was Demarcus Lawrence that wreaked havoc on the Giants’ offensive line all night.
While the Cowboys finished with five sacks in the game, Lawrence set the tone early with a pair of sacks in the first half and another in the third quarter to finish with three on the night.
Dorance Armstrong added a first-half sack, while linebacker Anthony Barr had the Cowboys’ other sack on the night in the second half.
Parsons did put a couple of hits on Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in the first half, who was harassed close to 25 times in the game.