#2. Andy Dalton’s improved play
Taking over for an injured Dak Prescott in Week Five against the New York Giants, longtime Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton seemed to live up to his label as the NFL’s top backup by leading the Cowboys to a comeback victory in that very same game.
Yet, a punishing first start for Dalton against the Washington Football Team the very next week ended with a concussion. Against Washington, he’d complete just nine passes, threw for 75 yards and an interception before leaving midway through the third quarter.
A bout with COVID-19 soon after would further hinder the 33-year old passer and slowed his development within the offense. Dalton would return in Week 11 to post a solid performance in a win over the Minnesota Vikings but followed that up with duds against the Baltimore Ravens and Washington again.
Things started to really take off in Week 14, which was a very personal matchup against his former team. Dalton would post an efficient stat-line of 185 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions with a quarterback rating of 122.6 in a 30-7 win over the Bengals in Cincinnati. Presented with the game ball by his new teammates afterward seemed to be a turning point for the veteran passer in his new home.
Against the Niners the following week, Dalton would post a similarly clean performance. He’d throw for 209 yards, two scores, and no picks with a QB rating of 96.7. The Cowboys would go on to defeat San Francisco, 41-33.
This past Sunday, Dalton would put up his best performance by far for the Cowboys. He’d complete 22 of his 30 passes for a whopping 377 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Dalton posted a quarterback rating of 134.7, his best of the season so far, in the decisive 37-17 victory over the Eagles.