Alright, my heart rate is back to a normal rate. You guys all good? Yesterday afternoon was anything but calm watching the Dallas Cowboys go into New England and leave with a victory to get to 5-1. It took the offense, the defense, the special teams, and even some luck to pull this one off.
As I discussed in our pregame outlook, the records could be tossed out the window in this game and it was very likely going to be a bit of a dogfight. This proved to be exactly that. The Pats came out swinging and didn’t stop for four quarters.
I’ll admit it. Kudos to Mac Jones. He might just be legit. To throw what felt like a backbreaking pick-6 to Trevon Diggs late in the game only to bounce back with a touchdown pass on the next play is some next-level moxie. He showed me a lot in that moment. He went toe-to-toe with Dak Prescott and gave his team every chance to win. That is until this Cowboys team showed us something we haven’t seen in a while.
The Dallas Cowboys showed us they can win big games with big plays in clutch moments
It took all three phases to win this game. Prescott continued his rapid ascent into the top tier of NFL quarterbacks. He delivered a late strike to receiver CeeDee Lamb, who provided a monster game, to walk it off in overtime.
Runnings backs, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard grinded to 122 yards on the ground, while also adding a combined 10 catches for 72 yards. Pretty nice when your running backs can combine for nearly 200 yards in what felt like a bit more of a quiet day from them. Those ugly yards, chain movers, and check-down receptions are what it takes sometimes.
The defense continued their opportunistic and timely plays, albeit with some major errors. After giving up a stomach-churning late score, this unit bounced back in overtime to force a punt. That says a lot about the mentality that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has instilled into this team. Previous Cowboys teams seemingly would have collapsed after that. This unit buckled their chinstraps and did their job.
THE DALLAS COWBOYS BLOCKED A PUNT!!! In a normal game, which this was anything but, this play would stand out even more. Nonetheless, it was fantastic to see this unit and linebacker, Luke Gifford, making some game-changing plays. Kicker, Greg Zuerlein, bounced back from a missed kick to deliver a game-tying field goal to force overtime. This unit really stepped up against the Patriots who are possibly the most consistently great special teams unit in the league.
Coming off my, unfortunately correct, Kadarius Toney prediction, I stayed hot with a prediction of 120 yards on the ground between Zeke and Pollard; they put up 122. I mentioned a clutch touchdown from Prescott to seal it. All he did was come through with a touchdown toss to Lamb to win it in overtime. I closed by predicting a victory that would give this team confidence. Either the Cowboys like making me look good or maybe I should keep speaking things into existence. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.
Last week I called for the Cowboys to fix some gaps they showed against the Giants. This week is a different tune. While I still stand by the stance that this team can get even better, the ability to overcome mistakes on the road in a tough environment says more to me than anything.
There were still mishaps as the penalties continued to stall out drive after drive and proved to be the only thing that can really stop this offense. I don’t agree with all the calls, and we can scream at the referees until our faces turn blue, but it happens across the league. Great teams don’t put big decisions in the refs’ hands. The ultimate clean-up can be eliminating our own errors.
The defense broke a few times and got gashed at times in the run game. But each unit stepped up when it mattered. There is something to be said about timeliness. This team sings a different song than the Cowboys teams of the past.
The resiliency, quiet confidence, and unflappability displayed yesterday to overcome so much and win the game is what it takes to be a true playoff contender. That is what this team is. The Dallas Cowboys head into the bye week with a buzz around them we haven’t felt in a while and one that may get louder each passing week. For now, use the two weeks to heal up any bumps and bruises, clean up the errors, but also enjoy the ride.