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HC Mike McCarthy on Cowboys' statement-making 40-0 win: 'We know where we want to go'

More than an hour after the proverbial dust settled on the Dallas Cowboys' season-opening shellacking of the New York Giants, Micah Parsons took to social media.

"Y'all thought this was a game?!" he posted.

There was no game on Sunday night. Rather, the Cowboys flexed their might in a one-sided 40-0 mollywhopping, announcing their intentions as Super Bowl contenders emphatically.

"I think we made the statement which I've been trying to make: We're the best defense in the National Football League," Parsons said, via Yahoo Sports’ Jori Epstein.

On an evening of such statistical substance, no result was more impressive than the final score. It was the largest shutout victory in Cowboys history, per NFL Research. The three previous scoreless showings it surpassed -- 1978 (38-0 over the Baltimore Colts), 1977 (37-0 over the Detroit Lions), 1995 (35-0 over the Giants) -- came via Dallas squads that reached the Super Bowl.

Though head coach Mike McCarthy cautioned this was but one week, he also was clear that the Cowboys have started down the right path to their ultimate destination.

"It's one game," the head coach said. "We're excited. We feel good about the way we played tonight. I think we're still evolving. We know where we want to go. I feel like we are fully capable and have an understanding of how to get there. But it's a long journey."

The odyssey began in stunning fashion, as Parsons had a sack on the opening drive of the game. Dallas had seven for the night, overwhelming Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in a ferocious blur of blue, white and silver.

"I mean, that's who we are," McCarthy said of the pass rush. "I clearly feel like we have taken another step. You could see that in training camp, but you look at the way teams are going to try to play us. You look at their first series. They're going to try to pound the ball and challenge our run defense over and over again and try to soften our pass rush. But, yeah, the pass rush was relentless tonight.

"We gave up contain a couple times early, but after that, it clearly was in total control of the game."

Noah Igbinoghene, a first-round bust for the Dolphins, scored his first career touchdown on a return of a blocked field goal to open the parade of Dallas dominance. DaRon Bland scored on a 22-yard interception return to propel the Cowboys to a 16-0 lead before the first quarter was out -- and before the Dallas offense even found the end zone.

The Giants mustered only 171 yards -- just 2.6 yards per play -- and had three turnovers.

It was all Dallas from start to finish in front of a prime-time audience.

Last season, the Cowboys went 12-5, recording back-to-back seasons of double-digit wins for the first time since 1996. That 1996 season marked the end of the Cowboys' 1990s dynasty after winning three Super Bowls from 1992-95.

There is no mistaking that a Super Bowl berth is the ultimate goal, whether it's Week 1 or Week 18.

So, McCarthy isn't ready to celebrate too loudly, but this was a historic start he's no doubt hoping will lead to history ahead.

"We took the first step the right way," he said. "We played their identity. We took the ball away, we took care of it. We ran it when they knew we were going to run it. We knew they were going to try to run it at us. That's the way these games are going to go when we line up each week. I thought we got off to a good start."

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