Cooper Rush rallies to win third straight career start as Dallas Cowboys hand New York Giants first loss

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — Cooper Rush, filling in for an injured Dak Prescott and starting for the first consecutive start of his career, led the Dallas Cowboys to a 23-16 win over the New York Giants on Monday. He was helped by a fierce pass rush that sacked QB Daniel Jones five times and pressured him 24 times.


Dallas Cowboys

When the Cowboys needed Rush the most in the second half, he was at his best. After the Giants took a 13-6 lead in the third quarter, Rush completed 12 of his next 13 passes for 129 yards in leading back-to-back touchdown drives. The first drive ended with Ezekiel Elliott scoring a touchdown against New York for the fifth straight game to tie it.

The second ended with Rush throwing a perfect fade into the corner of the end zone where receiver CeeDee Lamb made a one-handed grab at 8:30 to play. Early in the drive, Rush and Lamb converted an important fourth and fourth, then connected for a 26-yarder with the Giants’ 1-yard line.

Rush’s final numbers weren’t amazing — 21 of 31 for 215 yards and a touchdown — but they were good enough to win. Rush is only the third Cowboys quarterback to win his first three career starts. The other two? Jason Garrett, his former head coach, and Hall of Famer Roger Staubach. And all three wins were accompanied by fourth-quarter game-winning drives and overtime, making him only the second quarterback of the Super Bowl era (Virgil Carter).

Promising trend: The Cowboys have 13 sacks in three games, which leads the NFL. They harassed Daniel Jones throughout Monday’s game. Everyone knows Micah Parsons. DeMarcus Lawrence made his mark with the third three-sack game of his career against the Giants before suffering a left foot injury. The 13 sacks come from six defenders. The Cowboys have a varied pass rush that can stay fresh throughout a game, which will be able to drain an offensive line.

Stunning next-gen stats: Lamm smiled after that, but a drop in the second quarter had to kill him. If he had saved the rush pass on a deep over, he might have scored. Instead, he became the first player to drop a wide-open goal at least 30 yards down the field this season. He was 6 yards clear, making it the fourth drop of its kind since 2020, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. But on the fourth-quarter go-ahead drive, Lamb excelled, converting a fourth-down pass, collecting 26 yards and then making the one-handed TD grab that number 88 Dez Bryant wildly celebrated in one of the MetLife Stadium Suites. – Todd Archer

Knowing underestimated statistics: Ezekiel Elliott becomes the first player in Cowboys history to have a rushing touchdown in five straight games against the Giants.

Next game: vs. Commanders (1pm ET, Oct. 2)


New York Giants

This was the blueprint the Giants had used to win the past two weeks: hold the game on low points, make enough offensive plays in the second half, and squeak out a win.

Only this time, Wink Martindale’s defense didn’t hold up quite as well. The Giants (2-1) fell from the ranks of the undefeated. Now only division rivals the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins remain undefeated. Still, New York remains in decent form with the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium next week.

QB collapse: Jones actually played pretty well, even if his numbers weren’t that impressive. He completed 20 of 37 passes for 196 yards without touchdowns and an interception on the final drive after wide receiver David Sills slipped.

The Giants’ best offensive option was Jones’ legs. Jones had seven rushes for first downs Monday night, the most by a quarterback this season. Under unrelenting pressure, he ran nine times for 79 yards in the competition. He came on Monday night with 16 rushes for 46 yards. To put that in perspective, Jones is primed for 142 rushing attempts this season. Jalen Hurts of Philadelphia led all quarterbacks with 139 rushing attempts last year.

Worrying trend: The Giants haven’t scored a touchdown in the first half of this season. Three games, nine first-half points for the Giants. Coach Brian Daboll said last week that they are constantly making improvements. But whatever the Giants did this week, it still didn’t work. However, the adjustments made at half-time were commendable. New York has 46 points in the second half of their three games. — Jordan Raanan

Knowing underestimated statistics: Jones was pressured at 24 dropbacks and ran for his life all evening. It was the biggest pressure of his four-year career, the biggest by a quarterback this season and the second-biggest in the last two seasons. Rookie right tackle Evan Neal had a tough pass protection game. Neal was beaten to three sacks alone by Lawrence and made a crucial false start on the final drive of the game.

Next game: vs. Bears (1pm ET, Oct. 2) Cooper Rush rallies to win third straight career start as Dallas Cowboys hand New York Giants first loss

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