Dallas Cowboys emphatically quiet doubters with win
By Tyler Harris
The Dallas Cowboys emphatically silence any doubters while beating Tampa Bay on Sunday Night. Dallas sits one win away from the number one seed.
The Dallas Cowboys faced a lot of scrutiny by fans and the media alike following their loss to the New York Giants last week. The Cowboys were able to come out this week and answer any doubters and emphatically remind people they are the class of the NFC.
Games during December in the NFL have an added intensity to them. Sunday Night’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys was no different. Tampa needed to come out and win this game to keep their division-championship aspirations alive. So, to them this was every bit of a playoff game.
The Cowboys had plenty of questions of their own following a divisional loss to the Giants a week ago, allowing them to crawl back into the divisional race. The game wasn’t always pretty, and at times they couldn’t get out of their own way, but the Cowboys showed the world why they are the best team in the NFC while beating Tampa.
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was under more pressure than arguably anybody else in the NFL after a dismal performance a week ago against the Giants. Prescott kept his focus on the field, kept the noise out of his life, and completed 32/36 of his passes (88.9%) and was dominant throughout the game.
With veteran quarterback Tony Romo behind him, this performance was needed to silence the critics, and to reaffirm to the fan base that he’s no fluke. Dak answered all the questions, and the Dallas Cowboys are his team.
Rookie running-back Ezekiel Elliott delivered yet another MVP-like performance rushing for a career-high 159 yards, and adding another 29 yards in the passing game. Zeke was the difference in the game, and he has made all the difference in the world for the team this year.
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Perhaps the most impressive takeaway from Sunday’s game was once again the Cowboys defense. The Dallas defense was on a roll last week only allowing the Giants to score 10 points, and they continued their hot streak by putting on a dominant performance on Sunday night.
If you take away a fluke deep touchdown pass that was deflected by corner-back Brandon Carr, the defense only allowed Tampa Bay to score 13 points, and they also created four turnovers. If this defense can continue playing this way, this team has a very good chance to be hoisting their sixth Lombardi Trophy in February.
The defensive push was led by surprising player. It wasn’t star linebacker Sean Lee, or veteran safety Barry Church. It was defensive-end David Irving, who has played a small percentage of overall defensive plays due to the rotation along the defensive line. Irving had a game that makes you turn your head, and it appears Dallas has struck gold on this signing with Irving.
Irving finished with a stat-line of 2 tackles, 2 sacks, and two throws disrupted. That’s impressive in itself, but it doesn’t show the amount of pressure he put on Tampa Bay. Irving, along with rookie nose-tackle Maliek Collins, was simply impossible to block while he was on the field. He looked like an all-pro pass rusher out there, and that will only help the Cowboys down the stretch.
The rest of the Dallas defense was stout as well. The defense held Tampa Bay without a 100 yard receiver or rusher, and wreaked havoc much of the night. The Bucs were never able to get into a full rhythm as a result.
The Cowboys front office continues to find diamonds in the rough to put out there on the field, and the team keeps finding ways to win. At 12-2 and a single victory away from locking up home-field-advantage throughout the playoffs, look for this young Cowboys to continue to grow and build one game at a time.
Next: Cowboys defeat Bucs despite mental mistakes, 26-20
After a demoralizing loss to a bitter divisional rival, the Cowboys look refocused and ready to go on a tear through the playoffs in their hopes for a Super Bowl championship.