Dallas Cowboys: The true power of their high-octane offense

Dallas Cowboys (Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys (Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Dallas Cowboys are doing things that no one had imagined coming into the season. Despite losing in Week 1 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, America’s Team has been dominating every game since. Their +52 differential is the third highest through five weeks only trailing the Buffalo Bills (+108) and the Arizona Cardinals (+62).

The defense likely deserves some of the credit for that. This unit is making stops when they need to and has the second-most takeaways in the league (12). Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s new defense is revamped and forcing takeaways, something that this group struggled with a season ago.

Nevertheless, the Cowboys’ offense is the talk of the town as they are performing at an elite level. Quarterback Dak Prescott looks to be better than ever after his ankle injury last season and running back Ezekiel Elliott appears to be faster and quicker. Both of these have probably contributed to Dallas’ early success.

What the Cowboys have been able to do this season makes them one of the scariest teams on offense in the NFL. Through the first five weeks, they average 34.0 points per game which ranks second in the league only behind the Bills (34.4). They also rank second with 172.8 rush yards per game, only trailing the Cleveland Browns (187.6 rush yards per game).

How are the Dallas Cowboys so successful on offense?

The Cowboys have been so successful on offense for many reasons. For starters, credit is due to offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Moore has gotten this offensive unit ready to compete every week even against top defenses in the league. He has been able to mix things up on offense making each game plan different from the previous one.

The Cowboys aren’t afraid to mix things up on offense and try new things to throw off the defense. Two examples of this were in last week’s win over the New York Giants. One was a fake pitch to Elliott that winded up leaving him wide open for the receiving touchdown. The other one was a double pass from wide receiver Cedrick Wilson to wide receiver Noah Brown for a big gain.

Dallas is leaving defenses on their toes not knowing what to expect. They get everyone involved in every possession. That speaks to the excellence of this Cowboys offense, one that is scoring points at an all-time high.

Both running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard rank in the top 10 in rush yards to start the season. Elliott ranks third in rush yards (452) and sixth among other running backs in yards per carry (5.3). On the other hand, Pollard is 10th in rush yards (325) and first in yards per carry (6.4).

The Cowboys run game this season has been a scary site for defenses. The two-headed monster in Dallas draws comparisons to Cleveland’s running back duo Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Not only are the Cowboys running the ball efficiently, but Prescott has been on fire as well. On the season, the former Mississippi State quarterback has thrown for 1,368 yards, 13 touchdowns, and three interceptions. He also has a quarterback rating of 116.9.

Nonetheless, it’s what Prescott is doing through the air that makes this offense unstoppable. The 28-year-old quarterback is spreading the ball around more than ever and completing passing at a high level. His 73.9 percent completion rate places him second among other starters in the league.

Dallas’ top three pass catchers, CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Dalton Schultz, all have at least 24 catches, 280 yards, and two touchdowns through five weeks. Between those three, no player has more than 26 catches, 40 targets, or 350 receiving yards.

Additionally, this is all without wide receiver Michael Gallup, who is one of Dallas’ best deep threat options. With the former Colorado State product coming back soon, this can only open up the field for Prescott and the Cowboys.

Finally, the offense all starts with the offensive line. Last season was not a great look for Dallas’ protection. With guard Zack Martin, tackle Tyron Smith, and tackle La’el Collins all missing the majority of the season in 2020, this unit greatly missed them.

Now, excluding Collins who is serving a five-game suspension, the Cowboys, with Martin and Smith, can be seen as one of the best offensive lines in the league. They have only given up nine sacks on the season and have done a solid job at run blocking with tackle Terrance Steele filling in quite nicely.

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The Cowboys can beat you through the air or on the ground. They have been successful in both categories so far making it hard for defenses to stop them. Hopefully, Kellen Moore has more up his sleeve because if he does, it’s going to be hard to stop this explosive offense.