"We Dem Boys." That quote from Dez Bryant seems fitting in wake of the notice that the Dallas Cowboys served on the NFC on Sunday. The Boys are back in town and they are looking for some redemption. Woe be unto the foe who stands in the way.
Two seasons back the team arrived in Green Bay riding the crest of a season in which the Cowboys had finally become the team that Jason Garrett had imagined from the moment he assumed command. That squad had its dreams crushed partly by the Packers but also by one of the most controversial judgment calls in the history of professional football. The Dallas Cowboys who arrived this weekend had no intention of letting this week’s contest come down to a situation where the judgment of the men in stripes would influence the final outcome. They were there to play dominating football and that is exactly what they proceeded to do.
Dallas was the better team on Sunday; it was that way from the start. Never mind that the ‘experts’ and their power rankings had the Pack rated as the higher team. The Cowboys punished Green Bay from the start. Coach Garrett and his team probably didn’t notice that they were the weaker team, or maybe that was their source of motivation.
Naturally, the talented offensive line played a big role in dishing out some justice on the home team. They made short work of delivering the news that Ezekiel Elliott was going to pound the ball down the throats of the NFL’s top-ranked run defense. The Packer defense had grudgingly allowed 171 yards on the ground this season, young Mr. Elliot took it upon himself to double that number and he nearly succeeded. He gained 157 rushing yards running behind the Cowboys offensive line.
Dallas also delivered punishment when the defense was on the field. Rod Marinelli’s unit turned in their performance of the season, threatening to hold the Green Bay offense out of the end zone for the first time in nearly a decade. The Cheeseheads finally found the endzone late in the contest, but by that time, the important matters had already been resolved. It was obvious that the visitors from Texas were the better team.
A Cowboys defense that boasts a single Pro Bowl caliber name, Sean Lee, had harassed the Aaron Rodgers-led offense throughout the afternoon. The Rushmen were only able to sack Rodgers on one occasion, but they also forced him into a fumble and an interception. In short, the Dallas defense ate his lunch on Sunday. It reached the point that the home crowd booed their starting quarterback. That does not happen in Lambeau, but it did on Sunday.
Yes, it is safe to say that the Dallas Cowboys served notice to their competition that they are not the same team that floundered around last season. They are rounding into top form as the season progresses and they are ready to contend for a deep run into the playoffs. They are making their December 1st date with the Minnesota Vikings look mighty appealing. At the current rate it is looking like a showdown for conference supremacy and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Mike Zimmer’s purple clad crew of Norsemen might be the team to beat in the NFC, but Coach Garrett’s team is starting to look like the group that can get that job done.
Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to daydream of the days when Tom Landry and Bud Grant used to stalk opposing sidelines as the two franchises battled for dominance. I know that the ghost of Vincent T. Lombardi has been effectively laid to rest, at least for the time being.