Holder of a second game in a row for the first time in his career, Cooper Rush seized his opportunity with both hands.
After winning last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, Rush and the Dallas Cowboys handed the New York Giants their first loss of the season, 23-16, Monday night.
Rush — starting for the Cowboys in place of Dak Prescott who suffered a hand injury in Week 1 — finished an error-free night with 215 passing yards and a touchdown to CeeDee Lamb.
Rush joined Roger Staubach and Jason Garrett as the only Cowboys quarterbacks in franchise history to earn their first three career starts.
The night was capped off for Dallas with a spectacular one-handed catch from Lamb in the fourth quarter to give them a late lead.
The 23-year-old reached out with his left hand to grab Rush’s pass to give Dallas the lead, which they never gave up.
The Dallas defense kept the pincers on Giants quarterback Daniel Jones throughout the night, intercepting Jones once and sacking him five times.
Star defensive end Demarcus Lawrence himself finished with three sacks, matching his career high. Playing alongside Micah Parsons – last season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year – Lawrence says the pair’s friendly rivalry has led to one of the most threatening defensive lines in the NFL.
“It feels good,” Lawrence told NFL Network’s Jane Slater after the game. “Me and Micah had a little bet going on, I feel like I’m a little behind. Energy was up, my body felt good today, so I attacked it.
He added: “I have to make sure I keep putting pressure on him. [I] I want all the guys to be the best they can be and also for me, so we’re going to keep competing.
For the Giants, Monday’s loss was their first of the season. Despite the defeat, there were still positives to take away from the evening.
Jones, playing in the final year of his rookie contract, continued to look solid despite his interception.
But the re-emergence of Saquon Barkley, after two injury-plagued years, will be a real bright spot for New York fans.
On Monday, he was the main driver of the Giants offense, finishing the night with 81 rushing yards on 14 attempts – including a 36-yard touchdown – and 45 receiving yards.
But continued offensive line struggles meant Jones was under pressure all night, and it’s something Giants head coach Brian Daboll said they needed to improve on moving forward. .
“You never want your quarterback to get hit,” Daboll said. “But I would say he takes care of himself.
“Again, the further you can get them away from the quarterback, the better for the quarterback. And he’s athletic enough to make loose plays, and there could be hits when he hustle. But yes, there is no doubt that we need to do a better job of protecting it.
The Giants slip to 2-1 this season, while the Cowboys improve the same record.