As everyone expected, the Dallas Cowboys high-powered offense showed up and smoked the Jacksonville Jaguars mash-up of what they call a defense in a 40-7 beat down at AT&T Stadium. We all saw that coming, right?
It’s tough to explain what we saw on Sunday. The Cowboys offense has been struggling so badly lately, that it was hard to imagine them moving the ball against such a strong Jaguars defense. But they did. And then, they did it again. And then after that, they did it some more. The Cowboys scored eight times, and not all of them were field goals. In fact, four times, the Cowboys scored touchdowns in this game. What an incredible showing.
A struggling #Cowboys offense goes up against the NFL’s top ranked defense, top ranked passing defense; a team that played in the AFC title game last season...and completely wiped the floor with them.— Renny Mason (@RennyMason) October 14, 2018
I’ll take 10 more orders of THAT offense.
Just what we all expected, right? pic.twitter.com/Yns5dLYQWt
Here are 10 thoughts on the Cowboys emphatic victory of the Jaguars.
1. Irving’s back!
David Irving didn’t waste any time making his presence felt. On his first snap of the season, he was able to penetrate through the line and force Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles to toss the ball away.
On the very next play, he went right through the Jag’s offensive line during a punt causing a Jags player to grab onto his legs for dear life. That’s frowned upon and usually costs your team 10 yards.
It was a good thing he was held though as he might have blocked that punt with a clean shot.
The holding penalty added 10 yards to the end of a shanked punt and that set the Cowboys second possession inside Jaguars territory. It was a nice debut for Irving.
2. The Running Man
The Cowboys offense is built around the running game. We all know that. But we certainly didn’t expect that to mean Dak Prescott was going to cut loose. In just the first half alone, Prescott ran the ball nine times for 59 yards. He had more yards than Ezekiel Elliott at halftime.
Cowboys run game at halftime:— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) October 14, 2018
- Dak Prescott: 9 attempts, 53 yards
- Ezekiel Elliott: 11 attempts, 45 yards
On the day, Prescott ran 11 times for 82 yards, including a 28-yard scamper to keep the chains moving. Some of these runs were from scrambling, but some were from design. The Cowboys offensive game plan included Prescott using his legs to keep the defense honest. It worked.
Dak had some good luck on his side as he fumbled the ball in each of the offense’s first two possessions. Fortunately, the ball popped right back in his arms.
Dak learns sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. pic.twitter.com/6OC5mlrpgy— mike fisher ✭ (@fishsports) October 14, 2018
3. Romo praises Linehan
We had the great pleasure of listening to Tony Romo broadcast this game. He was very complimentary of the Cowboys play-calling choices. On three different instances in the first quarter, Romo praised Linehan for good play-calling. The Cowboys offense was humming, scoring on every possession they had in the first half, including three touchdowns. That’s more touchdowns than they’ve had in any full game this season.
Tony Romo: "You want creativity? You just saw it at the start of the game by Scott Linehan. Outstanding first two drives by the Cowboys."— One Cool Customer (@OCC44) October 14, 2018
It seemed like Romo went out of his way to defend his former offensive coordinator, who has been heavily scrutinized this season. Even when plays didn’t work, Romo was pointing out how they should’ve.
Romo with a good eye on that Dak run. Breaks down how it shoulda been a TD.— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) October 14, 2018
Look at Zeke streaking WIDE OPEN for a touchdown across the field to the right pylon pic.twitter.com/gTEmyvC3KF
4. A Saucy Performance
There’s been a lot of talk about the performance of this wide receiver group this season. Cole Beasley has come to the group’s defense at times this year telling people that they are getting separation.
I don’t know for sure, but Cole Beasley looks like a dude who is tired of having his ability called into question.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) October 14, 2018
What a damn catch.
Beasley caught all six of his targets for 79 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He would finish the game with over 100. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a Cowboys receiver do that.
5. Fourth and short again
Jason Garrett received a lot of criticism for his fourth down decision in overtime last week against the Houston Texans. Although the game situation was quite different, Garrett opted to go for it against the Jaguars. Late in the first half, the Cowboys put their foot on the gas near midfield, converting a 4th-and-1. Dallas finished that drive with a touchdown, going up 24-0 and put the Jaguars in bad shape at the half.
Garrett faced another 4th-and-1 right at that magical 42-yard line again late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys converted with a Zeke run up the middle and capped off the drive with a field goal.
Clearly, these situations are much different. The Cowboys were having success running against the Jaguars where they weren’t against the Texans.
6. Shutdown Corner
Everyone knew that this game would feature one of the game’s best corners. Of course, everyone expected it to be the Jaguars star CB Jalen Ramsey. But on this day, the top corner would be Byron Jones. Early on, Bortles wouldn’t even look his way, attacking mostly to his right. And when he did go after Jones, it didn’t work out.
Romo: "Have we even said Byron Jones' name today?"— Laurie Horesh (@LaurieHoresh) October 14, 2018
Byron Jones 4th down break-up.
Romo: "Byron Jones."
Jones continues his great season, playing his first full season at cornerback.
7. Money Maher
Many thought this could be a game riddled with field goals and a lot could be riding on the leg of rookie kicker Brett Maher. Well, he did kick four field goals on the day (50, 46, 32, and 55), but he also added in four extra points. The Cowboys offense was clicking and reeled off 40 points. Not only was Maher right down the middle with his kicks, but he had plenty of leg on his 55-yarder. I wouldn’t be surprised if he nailed a 60+ yard kick this season.
We aren’t even halfway through the season, but we’ve gone from being uncertain what they have at kicker to possibly having one of the better performing kickers in the league.
Brett Maher is on pace to make the Pro Bowl four months after the entire world questioned the Cowboys for keeping him on the roster— David Helman (@HelmanDC) October 14, 2018
8. Strong Defensive Outing
The Cowboys were without their defensive leader in Sean Lee, but the team didn’t miss him. The duo of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch are holding down the fort just fine. The defensive line had both Irving and Maliek Collins, making them the strongest they’ve been all year. And the secondary was out there getting takeaways. Jeff Heath had an interception and Jourdan Lewis made a nice fumble recovery right before going out of bounds. The Cowboys converted both of those turnovers into points.
The Jaguars only had 202 yards of total offense. Bortles had less than 150 yards passing and T.J. Yeldon was their team’s leading rusher. He had 41 yards.
It was a great showing by the Cowboys defense as once the Jags got down, they really never had a shot to get back in the game.
9. Home Sweet Home
I never really gave much stock into home vs. away games with this Jason Garrett team. After going 8-0 on the road in 2014, I was convinced the whereabouts doesn’t really matter. And I still feel that way, but I can’t overlook the fact that the Cowboys have lost every game on the road this season, yet won every game at home. Is there something to that? Let’s hope not because we all know what type of record that will result in.
For the first time since the Cowboys moved in to AT&T Stadium in 2009 they have won their first three home games of a season with their convincing 40-7 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. At 3-3, the Cowboys hope to use the win to build some momentum in a season that has...— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) October 14, 2018
10. The Knockout
MMA fighter Connor McGregor got the Cowboys fired up in the pregame huddle and the team carried that energy with them throughout the game. Several players played tribute to McGregor by impersonating his swag walk.
Cowboys y’all really got Connor there for inspiration? ♂️ pic.twitter.com/6tUE9NLdos— The Mad King (@Kingkeraun) October 14, 2018
It was delightful.