CeeDee Lamb went into the Cowboys home opener without new sidekick Brandin Cooks, who injured his knee a week earlier.
A lot of help wasn’t needed for the team’s No. 1 receiver.
Lamb set up both of Dak Prescott’s touchdown passes, Brandon Aubrey kicked five field goals in his home debut, and the Cowboys defeated the Jets 30-10.
Cowboys quarterback Zach Wilson threw three interceptions in his first start since Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending Achilles tendon injury.
In Dallas’ opening game, the Cowboys rout the Giants 40-0, and in New York, the Jets (1-1) beat Buffalo in overtime after Rodgers was injured on the fourth snap of his debut.
“I like how we have done it in different ways,” Dallas general manager Jerry Jones said. I think we’ve seen a lot of the fundamentals of our team, special teams, offense, defense, certain things that we’ve put in. We’re trying, we’re using them.”
This time, lamb was at the top of the list.
On the first possession after Dallas took the ball on the coin flip rather than deferring, Ferguson caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from tight end Jake Ferguson after he caught a 25-yard pass over Tony Adams.
Lamb’s next touchdown catch was a 20-yarder on a drive after Wilson’s 68-yard catch, in which he hung on despite landing on his shoulder after being upended by Adams, who injured his hamstring on the play.
Luke Schoonmaker scored his first career touchdown after Brandin Echols was called for pass interference in the end zone.
Jake Ferguson TD!
The @DallasCowboys' hot start to the season continues.
— NFL (@NFL) September 17, 2023
Sauce Gardner almost had a pick-6 to put the Jets in front before halftime but the ball slipped through his grasp when Prescott targeted Lamb so much – 13 times, two short of his career high.
The longest catch Lamb made – a 31-yarder – set up Aubrey’s first field goal. “I know what I’m capable of doing and what I’m good at,” said Lamb. “The show isn’t over yet. I’m still working every week. I’m proving to myself and to my guy that I’m one of the best.”
Garrett Wilson’s long touchdown catch in the second quarter got the Jets within three points, and Wilson ran for 36 yards on a drive to a field goal at halftime.
While New York had just 147 yards outside the long touchdown, four second-half turnovers left little doubt for Dallas, which controlled the ball for over 42 minutes and ran 83 plays to the Jets 46.
We saw almost 90 of them today, and you’re going to run out of gas,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. ” We didn’t give ourselves a chance defensively to get off the field and give our offense a chance.”
— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 17, 2023
Jayron Kearse, Malik Hooker, and Trevon Diggs intercepted Wilson three times a week after Dallas dropped the Giants’ Daniel Jones seven times.
Just before Cook was tackled, Micah Parsons, who had two sacks, ripped the ball from Cook’s hands. Parsons ran to the end zone, but was ruled down.
After two games, the defense has led the NFL in takeaways for the past two seasons, and was among the league’s leaders in sacks last year. “The pressure and the takeaways are at an incredible level,” McCarthy said.
Tony Pollard rushed for 72 yards and Prescott completed 31 of 38 passes for 255 yards. Wilson had 12 of 27 passes for 170 yards.
Since botching his first attempt at an extra point against the Giants, Aubrey hasn’t missed a field goal in 13 attempts, including a 55-yarder. Aubrey got the job because Brett Maher missed four consecutive PATs in a wild-card win at Tampa Bay last season, which led to Aubrey’s unflappability ever since.
As a result of medical concerns, Dallas defensive assistant Sharrif Floyd was removed from the field during the second half. He went down on the sideline and was attended to before going to the medical tent.
Cowboys: LG Chuma Edoga, who has started in place of Tyler Smith in both games while Smith recovers from a hamstring injury, left with an elbow injury in the second half. He was replaced by undrafted rookie T.J. Bass. Pollard ran into the back of RG Zack Martin on a carry, causing an ankle injury to him.
THE NEXT STEP
New England visits the Jets next Sunday, the second AFC East rival in three weeks.