In a game that didn’t impact the Cowboys postseason aspirations they still found a way to keep it entertaining.
What many assumed to be a rest day for the Cowboys starters turned into a couple career games for quarterback Dak Prescott and tight end Blake Jarwin in their 36-35 win over the New York Giants. Head Coach Jason Garrett wanted this team to carry over some momentum into the playoffs and Prescott surely did that with his 387 yards passing and four touchdowns on 27-of-44 attempts.
Though the defense left much to be desired it was a positive sign the offense could crank up without key contributors Ezekiel Elliot, Tyron Smith and Zach Martin. In a game that was meaningless to many fans watching, this week 17 division matchup answered a lot of questions and appeared to create a few new ones. So here are three takeaways from the Cowboys finals game of 2018.
The Tight End puzzle has been solved
Jarwin had a game-high seven receptions for 119 yards and three touchdowns. Much like the receiving core earlier in the year, the Cowboys had approached the tight end position as a success by committee. A season-ending injury to Geoff Swaim forced Dallas to rely more heavily on Jarwin and rookie Dalton Schultz. The increase in reps has done nothing but good for both tight ends. In the past four weeks, the best outing for any tight end against the Giants was Washington tight end Vernon Davis, who went for 4 catches for 31 yards. Jarwin’s performance today may have earned additional trust from both Prescott and this offensive coaching staff.
Tavon Austin may deserve touches in the backfield
Rod Smith and Darius Jackson combined for a total of 18 carriers for 51 yards. A woeful 2.8 yards per carry. It was Jackson’s first game this season getting a look at running back, but Smith has been disappointing the entire year. He may be a running back who you trust to get 20 carries a game but it is clear his play style is not suited to be a spell back for Elliot. Austin lined up in the backfield a few times this game and was primarily used in the passing game. Austin’s game fits perfectly for what Lance Dunbar was able to do a few seasons ago. A few carries a game may be enough to energize this offense.
Don’t forget #11 this time
It seems after every big game from Cole Beasley comes four weeks of disappearance. Yes, Amari Cooper and Elliott can continue being the focus of the offense but teams will devote much of their resources to stopping them. A combination of Beasley and Gallup should be more than enough to limit 8-man boxes and added attention towards Cooper. Beasley’s six receptions for 94 yards was his highest output since week 6 against Jacksonville. With the cooling of Cooper’s dynamic performances lately, a Beasley-Gallup-Jarwin takeover could not have come at a better time.
It has been a bumpy ride for the majority of the season, but it ended with the Cowboys winning seven of their last eight games to bring them to 10 wins. Dallas will be back at AT&T stadium and hopefully it’ll be the first of four playoff game recaps from Dallas Sports Fanatic. What a way to end 2018 Cowboys.
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