It was already known that the Chicago Bears were banged up and that this was a very winnable game for the Dallas Cowboys, but they still had to go out and do the work. And luckily for all of us, that’s exactly what they did. There have been some nerve-wracking moments already this season so it was nice to be able and relax and watch the Cowboys comfortably outplay the other team.
Here are five observations from the Cowboys win on Sunday night.
Prescott Rolls On
Let’s all agree on this one thing – Dak Prescott is a good quarterback. There is no debate about that. It was another typical Dak performance. Okay granted, he threw his first NFL touchdown finally, so we can now stop worrying about that. He was close to having a couple of them earlier in the game when Jason Witten and Cole Beasley were ruled down just shy of the goal line.
So, it’s the same old, same old from Prescott. But with each new game he is demonstrating that this level of play is becoming more and more like what people can expect from him. Technically, he’s still a rookie and some would argue that he’s going to get better. But for now, he’s playing extremely well and it’s not hard to buy into the idea that he’ll keep making plays for this offense.
Oh yeah, and he still hasn’t thrown an interception. The last time a Cowboys QB went three games without an interception, Tony Romo was leading them to a division crown in December of 2014.
The most satisfying thing about Prescott is that he continues to make all the right plays. Whether he takes off running or has to make a tough throw on the run, he keeps doing everything right. How can you not love this kid?
Sometimes, it’s the little things.
Big run from Dak Prescott. https://t.co/WXC2zMzvUJ— Patrick Conn (@DraftCowboys) September 26, 2016
Prescott deserves a great deal of credit for making the plays, but the offensive game planning has been outstanding. Prescott was never put in precarious situations, and he had the Bears defense on their heels all night. The Cowboys had 199 yards on the ground, with 140 of them courtesy of Ezekiel Elliott. The rookie running back had more holes to run through, despite the offensive line missing their best player, Tyron Smith, and La’el Collins who left the game late in the second quarter with an injury.
The Cowboys continue to have confidence in their rookie offensive stars. For the second straight week, the Cowboys went for it on fourth down in the first quarter of the game. But instead of Prescott coming through this time, Elliott bounced to the outside and picked up the first down.
And Prescott’s love for Cole Beasley continues. The Cowboys’ slot receiver came into the game leading the team in receptions and yards. And after tonight, that hasn’t changed as Beasley caught seven more passes for 73 yards.
A strong running game and an efficient third down target is a big reason the Cowboys offense kept rolling Sunday night.
For the second time this season, the Cowboys scored on every one of their possessions in the first half. But unlike the Giants game in Week 1 where they only came away with three field goals, the Cowboys were able to score three touchdowns in the first half against the Bears. The team continues to show improvement from week to week.
Here are the Red Zone numbers:
- Week 1 against the Giants, 1 for 3.
- Week 2 against the Redskins, 3 for 5.
- Week 3 against the Bears, 4 for 4.
The Men In The Middle
While the Cowboys pass rush remains an ongoing issue, the play of the interior line has been very solid. This is largely due to the play of Terrell McClain and rookie Maliek Collins. The veteran McClain has been outstanding from the onset of the season and continues to show up in games. It is evident how valuable he is to this defense now that he is healthy. But the bigger surprise is the rookie. He is getting more reps and starting to exhibit why the team spent their third-round pick on him. Collins had a nice tackle behind the line of scrimmage and was constantly disrupting plays.
No Comeback On This Defense
It started to have that feel that weird stuff was about to happen. After Terrance Williams fumbled away an opportunity to blow open the game, the Bears marched down and scored their first touchdown of the game, making it a two-score game. The Cowboys defense answered back when J.J. Wilcox laid into the Bears receiver, forcing a fumble and putting the Cowboys in scoring position again. It’s easy to throw shade at Wilcox for all his slip ups, but he was a man on a mission tonight, taking no prisoners.
Bro on sidelines gets Mortal Kombat fatalitied by @dallascowboys Safety JJ Wilcox https://t.co/ly63Kjkt5p— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) September 26, 2016
But then, Dan Bailey uncharacteristically hooked a 47-yard field goal, again keeping it a two-score game. Once again, the defense came through. After a nice run by the Bears running back, the Cowboys would have two straight plays where they would tackle Chicago for no gain. Dallas would force a punt and the offense would cap off another drive with a touchdown, putting the game out of reach.
For a moment there, it had all the making for a late game collapse, but the defense held strong, reminding people that this isn’t the 2013 Cowboys team that couldn’t hold leads.