Having won last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, Rush and the Dallas Cowboys handed the New York Giants their first loss of the season, 23-16, on Monday night.
Rush – starting for the Cowboys in place of Dak Prescott who suffered a hand injury in Week 1 – finished a mistake-free evening with 215 yards passing and a touchdown to CeeDee Lamb.
Rush joined Roger Staubach and Jason Garrett as the only Cowboys quarterbacks in franchise history to win their first three career starts.
The evening was capped for Dallas by a spectacular one-handed catch by Lamb in the fourth quarter to give them a late lead.
The 23-year-old reached out with his left hand to snag in the pass from Rush to give Dallas the advantage, which they never relinquished.
Dallas’ defense kept the clamps on Giants quarterback Daniel Jones throughout the evening, intercepting Jones once and sacking him five times.
Star defensive end Demarcus Lawrence finished with three sacks himself, matching his career high. Playing alongside Micah Parsons – last season’s defensive rookie of the year – Lawrence says the pair’s friendly rivalry has lead to one of the NFL’s most threatening defensive lines.
“Feels great,” Lawrence told NFL Network’s Jane Slater after the game. “Me and Micah got a little bet going on, I feel like I was a little behind. The energy was up, my body felt good today, so I attacked it.”
He added: “I gotta make sure I keep putting pressure on him. [I] want all the guys to be the best they can be and also for myself, so we gonna keep competing.”
For the Giants, Monday’s defeat was their first of the season. Despite the loss, there were still some positives to take from the evening.
Jones, playing in the final year of his rookie contract, continued to look solid despite his interception.
But the reemergence of Saquon Barkley, after two injury-plagued years, will be a real bright spot for New York fans.
On Monday, he was the primary driving force for the Giants offense, finishing the evening with 81 rushing yards on 14 attempts – including a 36-yard touchdown – and 45 yards receiving.
But the continued offensive line struggles meant Jones was under pressure all evening, and that’s something Giants head coach Brian Daboll said they have to improve on going forward.
“You never want to have your quarterback hit,” Daboll said. “But I’d say he takes care of himself.
“Again, the more you can keep them off the quarterback, the better for the quarterback. And he’s athletic enough to make some loose plays, and there might be some hits in there when he’s scrambling. But yeah, there’s no question we got to do a better job of protecting him.”
The Giants slip to 2-1 on the season, while the Cowboys improve to the same record.