In the Dallas Cowboys Week Three game against the Arizona Cardinals, finding a middle ground both on and off the field made them winners.
The NFL might be a six month season but it’s truly week to week.
The Dallas Cowboys epitomize this truth. In Week One, they have a dominating defense, allowing just three points. Last week, they could not stop a decent but underwhelming Denver offense, allowing 42 points.
Last night, you saw something in the middle with flashes of brilliance. That’s likely the most accurate portrayal of what the Dallas Cowboys defense will look like. Make no mistake, however. This defense deserves a large portion of the credit for both of the wins so far in 2017.
Last night, the offense was struggling again. Early on, the defense was as well.
After already giving up seven quick points, the defense came back out onto the field as was on the ropes. Arizona was poised to go up two scores but a holding penalty negated that opportunity. The Cardinals then missed a field goal and never again held the lead.
Offensively, the Cowboys big three all did something to positive to hopefully get themselves back on track. The questionable catalyst of the offensive success came from the one guy you would hope would provide the spark.
Maybe the statistics won’t wow you, but the game that Dak Prescott put together should. His poise and play leads us off as we take a look at the biggest moments in a 28-17 Cowboys victory.
- Did it take longer than it should for this offense to figure things out? Yes, but I think the woe’s from last week may have a solution. It’s clear that teams are going to try to shut down Ezekiel Elliott. Last week, the Cowboys did not prepare for such a game plan. Early on Monday night, it did not appear they had the answer either.
Then Prescott was able to use his mobility and things started to click. Run-pass option keepers. Play-action bootlegs. The entire mobile quarterback repertoire was on display. Dak’s first touchdown was on a run, finishing off the score with a dive over the goal line that won’t fade from memories any time soon.
His final touchdown, an absolute dime on the run off of the bootleg, was a thing of beauty. In between, Prescott did what you have come to expect. A mixture of low risk throws and protecting the football gave this team just enough offense to put away a win.
- I think that the Cowboys put to bed any talk of a lack of effort in last night’s victory. Dak’s dive was one example. The insane one on five touchdown from Dez Bryant was the best example, however.
Even though he was shut down for the most part, Bryant showed pure will to get into the end zone bullying through five Cardinals defenders on his way to a score.
It was clear that the Cowboys wanted to come out and erase the memory of last week. Those two plays plus the tenacity of the defensive line did just that.
- Speaking of the defensive line, you have to like what you’re seeing early on from this crew. Did you ever think there would be a time when the Dallas Cowboys would be tied for second in total sacks?
This is, of course, in large part thanks to the emergence of Lawrence. Take a guess who leads the NFL in sacks after three weeks. It’s not J.J. Watt. It’s not Von Miller either. That honor belongs to #90 in white, blue and silver.
Some think his play is due to this being a contract year. Others believe it’s because he’s finally healthy. Regardless, Lawrence is making himself some serious cash next year. More importantly, he’s vastly improving this Dallas Cowboys defense this year.
- Staying on the defensive side of the ball, you have to like what you saw from rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis. Although he did not have the benefit of a training camp due to an injury, Lewis is using the regular season as a trial by fire.
Last week, there were some mental mistakes but you could also some talent. This week, the ball skills and tackling were on point. Several times, Lewis was on an island and made a play either by bringing down a ball carrier or defending a pass. At this rate, it won’t take long for him to put a stranglehold on a permanent starting spot.
- Lastly, staying with things you had to like, I don’t think you could have had a better pregame display than what Dallas did on Monday night,
Major kudos to the Dallas Cowboys players, coaches and owner Jerry Jones for unanimously taking a knee to show support those who want awareness, but also being respectful to some of the country’s cornerstones.
Whatever your feelings are about these topics, you have to admit that doing both goes a long way towards coming together and showing that there can be a middle ground.