The Dallas Cowboys got exactly what they needed when they blasted the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. They needed the win, and they really wanted to look good doing it. That is what happened. Let’s take a look at the winners and the losers for the Cowboys in the game.
Ezekiel Elliott - What a huge day for Zeke. He had two rushing touchdowns to go along with a long pass catch and run for another touchdown. He ran with authority and looked as energetic as he has all season, finishing with 147 yards rushing and 72 yards pass receiving. It was basically vintage Zeke, if 2016 can be counted as vintage!
Offensive line - This is what Cowboys’ fans had in mind following the 2016 season. An offensive line punching huge holes for Zeke to run through and creating a cocoon for Dak Prescott. They tore apart a 49ers defense that has a pretty decent front line. If this is how they will be playing going forward, the Cowboys should be back in business.
Confidence - The Cowboys needed a blow out win over a team that was winless. They didn’t want to squeak out a win, or, dare I say it... lose. They wanted to crush an opponent to get the feeling that they are playoff-worthy.
Jeff Heath - Whatever issues we have with him on defense, congrats to him for stepping in when Dan Bailey couldn’t continue. Heath was two of three on extra-points, including one that banged off the upright and went through. He also did a decent job on kickoffs. Kudos to Heath.
Pass rush - The Cowboys keep on keepin’ on with their pass rush, one of the surprises of the 2017 season. They had five sacks, and probably three times as many pressures during the game. The Cowboys lived in the 49ers backfield. Two of those sacks led to fumbles and recoveries.
Turnovers - As just mentioned, the Cowboys finally started to get turnovers again. They got two after strip-sacks by DeMarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith, plus a special teams one courtesy of a Kavon Frazier hit and Xavier Woods recovery. They almost got an interception (nullified by penalty), caused another fumble they didn’t get and batted around a couple of passes.
Bonus winner: It really seemed like Dak Prescott just had an ordinary day, but he had three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. That’s how good he can be while just having a regular day!
Dan Bailey - Let’s hope the Great One is just temporarily injured and that his groin recovers quickly. Sure, Jeff Heath hung in there as the kicker, but Dallas needs Dan Bailey back.
Tackling Carlos Hyde - If there was one thing that was a little bit of a negative in the game, it was the tackling of Carlos Hyde. Sure, this is nitpicking but there were a handful of missed tackles there. Still, overall the defense was lights out.
Kellen Moore - Let the Cooper Rush era begin! Moore was inactive for the first time with Rush getting the call as the backup. Not only was Rush active, but he actually got to play, coming in late in the fourth quarter.