The Dallas Cowboys should “open up the playbook” for quarterback Dak Prescott if they want to crack the Big Blue code that has them 11-0 against the NFL and 0-2 against the New York Giants, an ESPN analyst says.
ESPN NFL Insiders analyst Louis Riddick, a former NFL safety, scout and pro personnel director, said the Cowboys haven’t been able to produce explosive plays against the Giants (9-4) in losing twice, 20-19 in the season opener and 10-7 on Sunday night.
“They haven’t done a good job of isolating guys down the field to win some jump balls in the outside lane, and haven’t put the safeties under duress,” Riddick said on Monday’s telecast.
“At some point you have to have 20-yard chunk plays.”
He said Dallas is not getting those plays because “they’re not calling for them. They’re going to have to open the playbook for Dak and really allow him to stretch the field vertically if they want to crack the code” against the Giants.
The Cowboys had a jump-ball pass to Brice Butler that slithered through his arms in the end zone on Dallas’ second possession. On the next play, Prescott connected with a wide-open Terrance Williams for a touchdown.
The Cowboys could see the Giants again in the playoffs. The Cowboys right now would be the No. 1 seed in the NFC and would get a first-round bye; the Giants would be No. 5 if the playoffs started today and be in a wild-card game.
SB Nation has the chart of the 20 instances since 1970 when a team won two matchups and had a chance to win a third.
Cowboys on third down
NFL Insiders analyst Field Yates said the Cowboys’ abysmal 2-for-24 conversion rate on third down in their last two games is a byproduct of not having success on first and second down.
Yates said of their last 11 first-down plays against the Giants, the Cowboys totaled 32 yards, and 18 of those yards were on one play. That helps set up a lot of third-and-longs.
Most of those first downs started in rotten field position.
The Giants have good pass rushers and a talented secondary and they “let those pass rushers get upfield and let Dak Prescott make bad decisions or poor throws,” Yates said.