Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys defense pounced once Eli Manning and Giants were forced into pass mode

Boise State well represented in Cowboys-Giants Sunday Night Football matchup

Boise State was well represented in Sunday night's Cowboys-Giants matchup. Leighton Vander Esch, Tyrone Crawford and Demarcus Lawrence play for the Cowboys, with Donte Deayon playing for the Giants.
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Boise State was well represented in Sunday night's Cowboys-Giants matchup. Leighton Vander Esch, Tyrone Crawford and Demarcus Lawrence play for the Cowboys, with Donte Deayon playing for the Giants.

New York Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning was seeing stars in every direction. On his left. On his right. Right in front of him. The Dallas Cowboys sacked Manning six times in Sunday’s 20-13 win at AT&T Stadium and took the Giants’ offense out of their game plan from the start.

Linebacker Jaylon Smith credited defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli for the aggressive game plan against the Giants. It’s the most sacks for the Cowboys since they had six at Arizona a year ago this month.

“We have guys that can rush from the front level, the middle level, even from the secondary,” said Smith, who had a team-high 10 tackles. “We have some guys who can really get after it. When you stop the run, you can unleash different packages and plays. It’s about having fun.”

For the first time since 1997, the Cowboys had six different players record at least one sack. And, indeed, they came from all over the defense. Safety Kavon Frazier had one. Linebacker Damien Wilson had one. And the defensive line collected one each from DeMarcus Lawrence, Taco Charlton, Tyron Crawford and Antwaun Woods.



“We didn’t plan it, but it happened that way and we were happy for the guys,” Charlton said. “We know we all work so hard. We compete with each other but we want each other to succeed so even to be on the sideline watching another guy get a sack we’re just as happy as if we got one ourselves.”

The Cowboys taking a 7-0 lead on the third play from scrimmage and then building a 10-0 lead with six minutes left in the first quarter also put the defense in a spot they could exploit. It forced the Giants to go to the air.

That allowed the Dallas front to pin their ears back. They held the Giants and heralded rookie running back Saquon Barkley to 35 total yards rushing.

Good coverage by the secondary also helped with holding Manning to 170 yards passing through three quarters. The Giants trailed 20-3 with less than six minutes remaining in the game before he threw for 102 yards on New York’s final two possessions to tack on a touchdown and field goal in the final 1:27.

“They did a hell of a job staying on top making those underneath routes more conflicted for Eli,” Lawrence said. “Once the game got deeper and the offense put up more points they had to start throwing deep balls and it was time to get after him then. He was everywhere. He did a good job of moving around today. I have to give it to him. Eli had a little juice, but we still got after him.”

Lawrence said the identity of the defense is still developing but he likes the direction they’re headed. He also praised Marinelli and the defensive staff.

“These defensive coaches are doing a hell of a job putting us in the right position to make plays,” he said. “As long as they keep giving us that recipe we’ll keep making that meal for them.”

And a quick lead doesn’t hurt either.

“We don’t need our offense to score a thousand points,” Smith said. “Just give us enough where we can do our thing.”

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