What we learned in the Dallas Cowboys 40-0 season-opening blowout vs. New York Giants

As openers go, the 2023 season couldn’t have started in better the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday’s 40-0 drubbing against the New York Giants before a horde demoralized fans at MetLife Stadium.

It was the most lopsided regular season shutout in franchise history — the first coming in 1978 with a 38-0 win against the Baltimore Colts, also on Monday Night Football season opener. Also, it was arguably the most impressive performance of the weekend as it came against a Giants team that made the playoff last season, won a playoff game and had hopes of taking another step forward in 2023.

The Cowboys took a 17-0 first quarter, spurred by a blocked field goal by safety Juanyeh Thomas and 58-yard touchdown return to the end zone by Noah Igbinoghene and a 22-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Deron Bland.

A first-half that also included four sacks, an interception by cornerback Stephon Gilmore and a 2-yard touchdown by Tony Pollard was so thorough and dominant that the home team was booed off the field at halftime, down 26-0.

A 10-play, 75-yard scoring to open the third quarter mandy it 33-0 and sent many Giants heading for the exits on a rainy night.

The Cowboys opened the season with a win for first time under coach Mike McCarthy.

What we learned in the Cowboys opening win vs. Giants:

Streaking Dak Prescott’s easy day

Quarterback Dak Prescott didn’t a great day but he didn’t need to because of the Cowboys dominance on defense and special teams.

Prescott, however, made history where it counts the most with the continued mastery that the Cowboys and Prescott have had against the Giants.

The Cowboys have now won 12 of their last 13 games against the Giants, including five straight. Prescott has a personal 11-game winning streak against the Giants. He now joins Hall of Famer Roger Staubach with the most consecutive wins against the Giants since 1950.

The best thing Prescott did on the field was manage the game and not turn the ball.

He led the league interceptions with 15 in 12 games last season.

He completed 13 of 24 passes for 143 yards.

A potential touchdown pass in the third quarter was dropped by tight end Peyton Hendershot. Tight end Jake Ferguson also had a dropped pass to kill a potential touchdown drive, forcing the Cowboys to settle for a field goal. Ferguson had another drop.

KaVonta Turpin also had a dropped pass.

Free agent additions making immediate impact

Much was made about the veteran free agent additions of cornerback Stephon Gilmore and receiver Brandin Cooks.

Both made immediate impacts against the Giants. Cooks caught two passes for 22 yards. He also drew three penalties; a 37-yard pass interference flag and a flag for holding an illegal contact.

Gilmore was asked to help with coverage of Giants tight end Darren Waller. He had an interception on a pass to Waller, four tackles and a couple of pass deflections in the game.

Parsons, Cowboys pass rush unblockable

Micah Parsons is the Cowboys best pass rusher and draws a lot of attention but this is a defense with deep arsenal of quarterback seeking defenders.

And once the Giants got behind on Sunday, Daniel Jones was easy prey.

Parsons got the first sack but he would not be the sack leader as defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa and defensive end Dorance Armstrong had two sacks each. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and Chauncey Golston had one each.

The Cowboys were third in the league in sacks last season. No team had more on opening weekend.

The Cowboys led the league in turnovers in each of the last two seasons, matching the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL mark from 1972-74.

They are looking to make it three straight have notching three turnovers against the Giants, interceptions by Deron Bland and Gilmore and forced fumble by Trevon Diggs.

A special impact

Thomas set the tone early for the Cowboys with his play on defense and special teams.

Thomas was forced into action because safety Donovan Wilson was sidelined with a calf strain.

Thomas proved to be a force on the run game but his biggest play was a blocked field on the opening of the game. Noah Igbinoghene returned it 58 yards for a touchdown.

It was Thomas’ first career blocked field goal in his first career game, and Igbinoghene’s first career touchdown in his first game as a Cowboy.

The last time the Cowboys blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown was against Minnesota on Oct. 21, 2007. Chris Canty made the block, and Patrick Watkins recovered the ball and returned it 68 yards for the score.

Thomas is the first Cowboy to block a field goal in his NFL debut in the last 25 years.

Kicker Brandon Aubrey had a solid day after a disappointing start in his NFL debut. He missed his first extra point but made his next four. He also had field goals of 21 and 38 yards.

Tony Pollard nice debut a RB1

The Tony Pollard era as the team’s featured back officially began against the Giants.

And Pollard and the team’s running back looks to be just fine without former two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott, who was released in March and is now a member of the New England.

Pollard rushed for 70 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns on the ground and caught two passes for 12 yards.

Pollard is the 10th player in team history to rush for multiple touchdowns in a season opener and the first since Marion Barber on Sept. 7, 2008 against at Cleveland.

The Cowboys supplemented Pollard with Rico Dowdle, who had 24 yards on six carries and receiver/kick returner KaVontae Turpin, who had three rushes for 14 yards out of the back field at 155 pounds.

Turpin added insult to the blowout with a 7-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to make it 40-0.