The decision to trade for Michael Bennett ahead of the NFL deadline has immediately come up roses for the Dallas Cowboys, and was quite the fancy feast for the veteran pass rusher in his debut against the catty New York Giants. The team landed the 33-year-old defensive lineman from the New England Patriots in exchange for a 2020 conditional late-round pick, and .
That's exactly what they did when they visited the New York Giants, and he showed the world he still has the juice, delivering his first career sack as a Cowboy along with three tackles -- one for a loss -- and four hits on quarterback Daniel Jones. The only imperfections were two offsides penalties, but he shot out of a cannon to tackle All-Pro running back Saquon Barkley in the red zone for one of his TFLs that negated one of the mistakes, helping to force one of four stalled RZ drives by New York.
That was just one instance of Bennett helping the once beleaguered Cowboys run defense, as the team went on to hold Barkley to career-low 28 rushing yards with only 2.0 yards per carry.
"I thought he was outstanding. I thought he really was impactful in there," owner Jerry Jones said following the game. "I thought that the team in general were feeding off of what he was bringing, and of course very likely he was feeding off what [DeMarcus Lawrence] was doing out there and what [Robert Quinn] was doing. He really is a great addition for us, and don't really use that word but he is a great addition for us."
Week 9 is in the books and there's a lot to go over. Fortunately Will Brinson, John Breech, Ryan Wilson and Sean Wagner-McGough are here to break everything down on the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast. Listen to the full show below and be sure to subscribe right here for daily NFL goodness.
That's saying the least, and on a night when the Cowboys defensive front combined for a total of a season-high five sacks, 11 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Bennett played a big part in forcing the Giants to play one-on-one across the board, as noted by Lawrence, who openly praised the decision to trade for Bennett after hearing of the move.
"It opens up our game, and it opens it up for Rob on the other side," Lawrence said after the 37-18 victory in New York. "They can't chip forever, and they can't chip both sides forever and expect to get the ball out in under three seconds."
That tidbit is also something predicted by Bennett's younger brother, Martellus, a former tight end of the Cowboys who proclaimed just how.
The additional playing time certainly didn't hurt, when compared to his lack thereof in New England that led to the rift preceding the trade to Dallas, his 43 defensive snaps against the Giants being more than any of his games under Bill Belichick. Bennett now has 3.5 sacks on the season and 66.5 for his career with seemingly more to come, with an instant chemistry having been struck between him, Marinelli, Lawrence, Quinn and his renewed working relationship with passing game coordinator Kris Richard -- who coached him for several seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and was key in pushing the Cowboys to acquire him.
Bennett did damage from multiple positions on "Monday Night Football," creating personnel shifts the Giants had a hard time dealing with.
"What we liked about him is his versatility and his ability to make plays," head coach Jason Garrett said of Bennett, speaking to 105.3FM the Fan on Tuesday morning. "We've been playing against him a long time and he's simply hard to block. ... He just seemed really active, working both inside and outside."
It's the second time in 2019 the Cowboys have landed an impact pass rusher for a late-round pick -- Quinn being the first, in exchange for a 2020 sixth-rounder to the Miami Dolphins -- making for another master stroke by Jones and the front office.
"I think Bennett was a big factor [in the win over the Giants]," Jones told 105.3 FM the Fan on Tuesday morning.
Bennett himself has yet to speak with media following the move to North Texas, but the performance in his shining debut spoke for him in a big way. On a night when a, Bennett proved he's still what athletes and football aficionados lovingly refer to as a "dog", and that his bite can far outweigh his bark.