Week 1 has not been nice to the Dallas Cowboys during the Mike McCarthy era. They have notoriously struggled in their season openers, but more than made up for it with their performance on Sunday Night Football this year.
Heading on the road to face their NFC East rivals the New York Giants, the Cowboys unleashed three years of disappointment on Big Blue. Dallas won the game 40-0, winning in Week 1 for the first time under McCarthy.
Not only did the victory get the proverbial monkey off McCarthy’s back, it was a record-setting performance as well. The Cowboys became only the fifth team ever to open their season with a 40+ point shutout in NFL history. According to Ed Werder of ESPN, the last time it happened was in 1999 when the Pittsburgh Steelers did it to the Cleveland Browns.
It certainly didn’t look like things would go that way for the Cowboys at the start. The Giants were finding a lot of success running the ball with Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, moving right down the field.
However, a false start penalty against Giants’ left tackle Andrew Thomas and an errant snap from rookie center John Michael Schmitz set things in motion for the Cowboys. They blocked Graham Gano’s field goal attempt and returned it for a touchdown, which started a myriad of errors that Dallas took advantage of.
This is the exact kind of start that McCarthy was looking for as the Cowboys announced their presence as a contender in the NFC. Defeating a divisional opponent coming off the season in which the Giants did is an impressive feat, one that will assuredly create a lot of positive momentum for Dallas.
They will have a chance to replicate that success against the other MetLife Stadium tenants, the New York Jets, next week. The Cowboys will be hosting a familiar foe in Aaron Rodgers, who has been a thorn in their side for years when he was the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback.