Before the game, the Cowboys opted to display unity — while still respecting the nation’s flag and anthem,
The Dallas Cowboys linked arm in arm in a sign of unity and then took a knee as a team before the national anthem in advance of Monday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
It was the team’s coordinated response to President Donald Trump’s controversial remarks over the weekend regarding player protests during the anthem over social injustice, police brutality and racism.
The public display came one day after teams across the league took knees, stayed in the locker room and raised their fist in a sign of solidarity to counter Trump’s remarks.
The Cowboys’ coordinated and unified answer came after talks among themselves and as a team with coach Jason Garrett and owner Jerry Jones.
The compromise came with Jones, Garrett, vice president Stephen Jones joining the team in linking arms in the yard markers on the field and then taking a knee as a team before going back to the sideline to stand for the anthem. They continued to link arms during the anthem.
Jerry Jones had this to say:
Jerry Jones: “We want to stand and respect the flag,” but Cowboys also want to emphasize unity & equality. Jones feels Cowboys did both.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 26, 2017
Here is what the scene looked like, if you missed it:
The Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones locked arms and took a knee in unity prior to the national anthem pic.twitter.com/7kK3qVMDSo— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 26, 2017
Michael adds that there is no validity to the rumors that Jerry Jones told his players that they could not kneel, as some suggested.
Before the National Anthem was played, the Cowboys full team, coaches and owner locked arms and took a brief knee. They wanted their actions to be separate from the National Anthem. They then stood together with locked arms as the Anthem played.
Despite all the reports that have been out there for a year, Jerry Jones has never given his team that “rumored” ultimatum.
Jerry discusses why the Cowboys decided to lock arms and take a knee ahead of the national anthem. He says he is “proud” of the Cowboys making a statement of “unity and equality”.
Bob Sturm writes on DeMarcus Lawrence’s big night.
What's DeMarcus Lawrence's ceiling and how did he get so much better?
Readers of my work know that he has always had this -- he just hasn't done it often enough. But, he was fantastic in 2015 and never fully right in 2016. He is just getting into his prime and deserves a fat extension to make sure his prime is all in Dallas. His ceiling is being a 12 sack guy who can dominate the edge. And he is pretty much there.
But he also notes he has some concerns about Ezekiel Elliott:
How does this game repair the lazy criticism of Ezekiel Elliott and the concerns about Dak from Week 2?
I have very few concerns about Dak Prescott. Zeke doesn't look right from a physical standpoint to me. He lacks some juice or top end burst like we are used to seeing. But, otherwise, I am not worried about him moving forward. This is a good running game and they have played some very difficult defenses. I anticipate the next month will demonstrate that those two are both pretty good and so is Dallas.
Tom writes on how the Dallas Cowboys were able to overcome their slow start in win over the Cardinals.
Even worse was the continued ineptitude of the Dallas offense. Elliott got stuffed repeatedly, Dak Prescott was not able to find receivers, and the Cowboys opened with not one but two three-and-outs. If someone did not wake up for them, it was going to be nothing but ugly for the second game in a row.
Someone did wake up, though. The defense finally started making some stops, aided by a fairly blatant holding call on Demarcus Lawrence (who was the clear MVP on defense, with three sacks and multiple other splash plays and QB hits). Then Damontre Moore made his first big play as a Cowboy, dropping Palmer just past the line of scrimmage to force a field goal attempt. And attempt would be all it was, as the kick was wide right, and the Cowboys were able to keep it to a 7-0 deficit, despite being severely outplayed for the entire first quarter and beyond.
But the main thing was that the Cowboys won the game, largely purging the bad memories from the loss to the Denver Broncos and keeping pace with the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington for the lead in the NFC East. It was gutty and a clear case of not giving up despite some early hardship. It may have not been the prettiest victory ever, but it was a very strong performance just when it was needed the most.
Dak and D-Law balled out on MNF.
Dak was not called on to throw 50 times like he was last week, going 13 of 18 for 183 yards with two touchdowns, but the game was very much in his hands. He ran the read-option several times (three carries for 16 yards), including once down near the goal line for Dallas' first score of the game.
He made a bunch of incredible plays outside the pocket, showing off his ability to make pinpoint throws on the run. Brice Butler was the beneficiary on the two most miraculous of those plays, pulling in a sweet touchdown grab as well as another long catch down the sideline.
Lawrence racked up four pressures in the first half alone, and finished the night with six quarterback hits and three sacks to get to 6.5 on the season. He generally just lived in the backfield all night long.
He's having one heck of a contract year and giving the Cowboys the go-to pass-rusher they need on the left side of their defensive line.
Hairopoulos writes on five thoughts following the Cowboys’ bounce-back win on Monday.
2. The "Beat Dallas Formula" worked for Arizona...for awhile
The Cardinals took it to the Cowboys at the start of the game, reminiscent of how Denver walloped Dallas in Week 2, committing to stopping the run and dominating time of possession. Arizona tallied 140 yards to Dallas' 3 in the first quarter and held the ball for over 13 minutes while taking a 7-0 lead. The Cowboys were lucky it wasn't worse as Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer opened the game by zipping the ball to several different receivers and for explosive gains. Meanwhile, Dallas' vaunted offense still couldn't stay on the field and even left tackle Tyron Smith, who's earned four-straight Pro Bowl invites, let a defender blow by him for a sack on quarterback Dak Prescott.
But the Cowboys defense rallied while the offense continued to struggle. It came up with three straight stops in the first half, starting with a missed field goal attempt for Arizona. End DeMarcus Lawrence, safety Byron Jones and other defenders' play gave the lackluster Cowboys offense a chance. Prescott took the ball into the end zone himself, flipping over the defender on a 10-yard run for his first rushing touchdown of 2017 to tie the score just before the half and give the Cowboys a reset.
More thoughts on Tank:
4. Tank Time....again
Lawrence continues to emerge as a real pass rushing threat, even with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli often going with only a three-man rush. The television commentators keep mentioning that it's a contract year, as Lawrence is in the final year of his rookie contract. But just as important is that Lawrence is healthy AND hungry after suspension and injuries limited him last season. Lawrence had six quarterback hurries and sacked Carson Palmer three times - three! - upping his total this season to 6.5 in three games, which ranks tops in the NFL. His career high is eight sacks in 2015. Lawrence actually had an additional sack on Palmer but it was wiped out by a penalty. The Dallas defense finished with six sacks on Palmer.
Todd Archer writes on Dak leading the Cowboys to their second win on the season.
Dak Prescott has had better games statistically since becoming the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback. He has thrown more touchdowns in a game. He has completed more passes and thrown for more yards.
But on Monday, Prescott made the plays with his legs and arms, finishing with 183 yards on 13-of-18 passing. He ran for 17 yards and bought time on a number of pass plays.
Dak and Zeke started slow, but they made sure to assert their dominance as the game progressed on Monday night.
But as the game wore on, Prescott and Elliott once again asserted the dominance that's essential for this team to forge a successful season.
Prescott was the more impressive of the two. After a first half in which he threw for just 25 yards, the quarterback finished the game by completing 13-of-18 passes for 183 yards with two touchdowns.
Statistically it was far from overwhelming. But after a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant in the third quarter -- a play in which Bryant caught the ball at the 3-yard line, with an assist from center Travis Frederick, pushed at least eight Cardinals defenders into the end zone -- Prescott did what critics say he can't.
He made Arizona pay down the field.
Monday night was just the latest example of Dak making the Cowboys his team, writes Schwab.
No matter what the NFL offensive rookie of the year award trophy said last season, Ezekiel Elliott was the engine that made the Dallas Cowboys go. Quarterback Dak Prescott had a tremendous rookie season, but the offense was built around Elliott.
In their second seasons, the roles are changing.
Prescott made the biggest plays when the Cowboys needed them on Monday night, and they needed all of them in a hard-fought and entertaining 28-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.
It was Prescott flipping into the end zone on a 10-yard touchdown run early in the game. Prescott delivered a perfect strike to Brice Butler for a 37-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. And after the Cardinals cut Dallas’ lead to 21-17 late in the fourth quarter, it was Prescott who found Butler behind Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu deep downfield and hit him for a game-changing 53-yard gain. Whenever the Cowboys needed a big play on offense, Prescott made it happen.
Check out some of the game’s biggest highlights!