The Dallas Cowboys 2019 season kicked off at home with the New York Giants. Here's my observations from the press box.
During pregame the fans at AT&T Stadium would cheer anytime they put Ezekiel Elliott on the jumbotron. It's clear they are happy he signed a contract extension.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley gashed the Cowboys for a huge 59-yard gain on his first carry of the game. He ended up with 120 yards on 11 carries. Dallas did a much better job of containing him after that big play, but as a whole the Giants pretty much gave up on the run with only 17 attempts.
The Cowboys defense wasn't that great allowing 470 total yards, but for the most part made big plays when needed. They forced Eli Manning to hurry his throws on several third downs, resulting in incomplete passes. Jeff Heath batted away Manning's Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half, the way defensive backs are taught. It was definitely a "bend, but don't break" defensive opener for Dallas.
Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, back from a one-year retirement and stint in the TV booth, made his first catch of the season for a six-yard gain with 6:42 left in the first quarter, and the fans gave him a very loud reception. Witten brings some much need veteran leadership.
New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is off to a great start. His calls were not predictable like that of Cowboys former OC Scott Linehan. Moore's offense spread the ball around, and didn't stall in the Red Zone. Yes, it's only one small sample, but Dallas has to feel good about the possibilities.
After an okay first drive, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott found his rhythm. He missed a few passes early that were just off target, not accurate, which has been a problem for him. Once he settled in, Dak was lights out showing nice touch on several passes, including a great toss to the outside shoulder of Michael Gallup. It was between Gallup and the sideline where only Gallup could make a play, which he did for a gain of 18 yards. But perhaps his best throw was his 20-yard touchdown strike to Amari Cooper, that made it 21-7 Dallas. He dropped a dime right over Amari's head and into his bread basket.
Randall Cobb, Gallup and Cooper all had big games, but it was their yards after catch that really hurt the Giants. Cobb and Cooper are known for getting separation after making a catch, and Gallup really showed what he's capable of doing. Yards after a catch can wreck a defense, and those three shredded the Giants defense.
Opening day attendance at Jerry World was 90,353 fans and a high percentage of them left happy.