The news is all good, mostly, after the Cowboys routed the Bengals, 28-14.
The Cowboys offense has raised it’s game again, this time steamrolling what was supposed to be a very good Bengals defense, especially against the run.
So now what? Is this 2014 all over again for the Cowboys? Their offensive line is dominating. Elliott is doing what DeMarco Murray did. Prescott is playing as efficiently as Romo.
Quibble if you will with the Cowboys' wins coming against teams that don’t have a winning record, but they are in first place in the NFC East. And it has happened without Romo playing all season, Orlando Scandrick missing the past three games and Bryant missing the past two.
Next week’s game at Green Bay will be a challenge, but so far the Cowboys have answered more challenges than anybody could have imagined at the start of the season.
That’s right. The first place Cowboys, leading the NFC East!
Ezekiel Elliott is getting better game after game, once he figured out that he needed to show a little patience in hitting the hole. But the one thing we hadn’t seen yet? The home run.
Ezekiel Elliott had been waiting for this run.
On their first drive of the second half Sunday, the Cowboys’ rookie running back burst through a huge hole off right guard, broke into the open field and split Bengals safeties Shawn Williams and George Iloka for a 60-yard touchdown – the franchise’s longest run in two years.
“Running backs love runs where they don’t get touched,” Elliott said with a smile after the Cowboys’ convincing 28-14 win over Cincinnati at AT&T Stadium. “All I had to do is turn the jets on.”
That play was a thing of beauty, and perhaps a glimpse of the future.
We love Zeke, but he couldn’t do it without the big uglies up front. And they dominated a defensive line that was full of stars.
Elliott and the Cowboys' offensive line made the Bengals' vaunted front seven look mediocre. And that's putting it kindly.
Cincinnati's Geno Atkins, one of the league's top defensive tackles, didn't even have a tackle. His sidekick -- starting nose tackle Domata Peko -- had just one.
For the first time all season, the Cowboys started the same offensive line that paved the way in 2014 for DeMarco Murray's season rushing record of 1,845 yards.
Wow, Geno Atkins, one of the best players around, totally shut out. Big ups to Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and Ron Leary.
I have to give credit to Terrance Williams. I, along with some others, beat up on him pretty good earlier this year. Yesterday, he made some key plays.
Say what you want about Terrance Williams and how you might not like him as a player, but he is becoming a reliable option for Dak Prescott -- especially down the field. Where I feel like Williams has improved his game the most, is as a route runner. There were games during his career where he struggled to get any type of separation, but that has changed since Dez Bryant has been out of the lineup.
Before the game, one could have gotten the distinct feeling that people thought the Cowboys were going to be over-matched by the Bengals. Especially from some of the Bengals crowd. They thought it, but not anymore.
In a game that looked eminently winnable on the road against a rookie quarterback before heading to next week’s Tom Brady Blue and White Homecoming in Foxboro, the Bengals offered one of their weaker efforts of the Green-Dalton era when they got blown out by the Cowboys in every category imaginable in a 28-14 loss Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
The Bengals’ vaunted run defense and pass rush got pummeled in shockingly easy fashion and let the Cowboys’ two rookies dominate them in ripping off a 28-0 lead after running back Ezekiel Elliott took advantage ofMike Nugent’s 50-yard field goal try that went wide left by ripping off a 60-yard touchdown run on Dallas’ first snap of the second half.
Not looking so eminently winnable anymore.
The Cowboys defense has looked like it is also improving as the season is progressing. The defensive line had a great showing on Sunday, and welcomed back a guy who could make a huge difference.
[DeMarcus] Lawrence, speaking at length for the first time since his suspension, said he wasn't satisfied with his return, but his teammates said they could feel the effects of it all week in practice and meetings.
"I want to get some sacks," Lawrence said. "That's what I planned. I've been dreaming about that for five weeks, so that's why I say it didn't go as I planned. But I mean, they're going to come."
Lawrence came close to getting some sacks, but only played 16 snaps. He’ll surely get many more next week versus Green Bay.
Morris Claiborne’s magical season rolls on.
Mo’s pass breakup in the end zone – Leading 21-0, the Cowboys were trying to keep the Bengals from not only getting any points, but momentum as well. Dalton rolled right and looked for A.J. Green down the right sideline. But Morris Claiborne stayed right with Green and just as the ball got to both of them, Claiborne got his hand on the ball for a pass breakup, one of the best plays he’s made in several years. That kept the Bengals from a touchdown and forced a field goal, which was missed by Mike Nugent, keeping Cincy off the scoreboard. On the next play, the Cowboys pushed the lead to 28-0 with Elliott’s 60-yard run.
We haven’t talked about Dak Prescott yet, mainly because we discussed his excellent play quite a bit last night. But the one thing we can’t get away from is the QB controversy.
“Tony is our No. 1 quarterback. We’re going to have the luxury of being able to, I think, see them both,” he said. “I don’t want to presume that Dak is going to be necessarily healthy, I don’t want to presume anything like that. But I welcome the opportunity of having Dak playing at this level and Tony back in excellent health. It’s going to be really special for the Cowboys.”
Rick Gosselin wonders if Dak is about to pull a trick a few noted quarterbacks in the past have pulled - take the job of the injured or inefficient starter.
Will the Cowboys allow Prescott to follow in the footsteps of Warner, Dilfer, Brady and Kaepernick?
Granted, this is only a five-game sampling for Prescott. But five games without an interception and 18 quarters without a turnover are impressive feats for any NFL quarterback, much less a rookie fourth-rounder. In his 10-year career as the Cowboys' starter, Romo has never had a five-game stretch without an interception and the longest he's gone without a turnover was 17 quarters.
Jerry Jones let us know that Lance Dunbar will be out again next week, and will use the bye week to help recover from his knee injury. Tyron Smith came through the game just fine.
Cowboys running back Lance Dunbar won't play Sunday at Green Bay, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.
Jones said the Cowboys don't have any long-term concern with Dunbar's left knee, but the club wants to give him more time for it to improve. The Cowboys have a bye week after the Green Bay game, giving Dunbar three consecutive weeks of rest.
News travels fast in the NFC East.
There wasn’t much regard for the NFC East heading into this season. The Redskins won the division with a 9-7 record, and overall, it went an ugly 12 games under .500 in 2015. Now, even after a 2-2 day Sunday, the NFC East is the best division in football at 12-7.
The Giants, 2-3 after their 23-16 loss to the Packers on Sunday night, are the only team in the former NFC Least without a winning record.
The Cowboys are on top at 4-1 after their 28-14 victory over the Bengals in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday. They have won four in a row with rookie fourth-round pick Dak Prescott in place of the injured Tony Romo. Prescott and first-round pick Ezekiel Elliott have taken the angst out of the Cowboys’ offense, which in Romo’s tenure has been defined by a mix of scintillating big plays and unconscionable heartbreak.
It's all about Dak and Zeke today.
The Dallas Cowboys are leading the NFC East. They can thank their dynamic rookie backfield for leading the way. Not only are the Cowboys leading their division, they've matched last season's win total.
"It's not really time for that tough," Garrett said. "It's time to get back to work ... and get ready for a great challenge that's coming up this week in Green Bay."
And finally, I’ll leave you with this.
That’s the mood in Dallas these days. Relaxed, hopeful, aware of a loaded roster that starts with a dominant offensive line that was all the more improved today with the return of tackle Tyron Smith. The road ahead is treacherous but manageable given the roster talent. Next week Dallas travels to Green Bay, followed by a bye. Then they host the 3-1 Eagles, likely for divisional supremacy.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, get used to reading a lot about the Cowboys because barring catastrophe, Dallas is the real deal.