The Cowboys are fresh off their biggest offensive output of the Dak Prescott era, when they racked up 576 total yards in a 29-23 win over the Eagles. Dak Prescott also had a career day throwing for 455 yards, completing 42 of 54 passes (78%). Amari Cooper had a career day as well, catching 10 of 13 targets for 217 yards and hauling in three touchdown catches. The Cowboys offense forced Philadelphia’s defense to defend a total of 93 plays, that’s close to playing two games in one.
This Cowboys offense has truly done a 180 from where it was through the first half of the season. Here is what the Cowboys offense looked like through the first eight games:
|Weeks 1-9||Total Yds||Plays||Yds/Play||1st Downs||3rd Dn %||OFF TOP/Dr||PPG||Turnovers Lost|
Up until these last five games, the Cowboys were pretty much at the bottom in everything but turnovers. Since week 10, not only have the Cowboys been winning games but their offense has been putting up some numbers. What kind of numbers are we talking about here?
|Weeks 10-14||Total Yds||Plays||Yds/Play||1st Dns||3rd Dn%||OFF TOP||PPG||Turnovers Lost|
The Cowboys have gained more total yards in the last five games than any other team in the NFL. They also are first in time of possession and first downs since their win streak began in Philadelphia. From way down in the depths of despair to first in those three categories? That’s huge for the Cowboys but so is their rise from 28th to second in third-down percentage, from 33% to 50% is a hefty jump. Remember when the Cowboys were among the offenses not seeing a surge in points, averaging less than 20 per game? Despite still having a lot of work to do in red zone offense, they, at least, rose from 26th to 10th in points per game.
The three biggest differences in offensive production have been without a doubt: Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliott. Those three guys have all seen improvement but let’s start at the top with the quarterback. Here is a look at Dak Prescott through the first eight games:
|Weeks 1-9||Pass Yds||Yds/Gm||Yds/Att.||Comp. %||TDs||INTs||Passer Rating|
Yuck! That’s just gross quarterbacking, plain and simple. Though Dak still has moments in games that put you on edge, he’s been night-and-day better than where he was.
|Weeks 10-14||Pass Yds||Yds/Gm||Yds/Att.||Comp. %||TDs||INTs||Passer Rating|
Dak Prescott deserves a lot of credit for his own turnaround because he’s been playing like an upper-echelon quarterback over the last five games. We can talk about the interceptions that he threw last week but how many quarterbacks are capable of hanging in there and delivering like he did in the end? The guy playing across from him this past Sunday is getting all kinds of flak from his critics for not delivering at the same level as Prescott did. Dak may never be in the elite company of the Tom Brady’s or Aaron Rodgers’ of the world, but 30-15 as a starter is quite the feat for a fourth-round comp pick.
Let’s move on to Ezekiel Elliott, he’s been performing at a high-level since he was drafted but even he had room to do a lot more.
|Weeks 1-9||Rush Yds||Yds/Gm||Yds/Att.||Rush TD||Rec. Yds||Rec. TDs||All-Purpose Yds|
If you’re drafting a running back at fourth overall, it’s because he can do everything you want him to do. Zeke is a very special back and now he’s starting to be used like the do-it-all player he was drafted to be:
|Week 10-14||Rush Yds||Yds/Gm||Yds/Att.||Rush TD||Rec. Yds||Rec. TDs||All-Purpose Yds|
In Elliott’s first two seasons, he was only targeted 78 times, had 58 catches for 632 receiving yards. Elliott did miss six games last season but even if he played all 16, his projected output would be 74 catches on 100 targets for 694 yards over two seasons. This season, Zeke is fourth in receiving production for running backs and is third with an 80% catch rate. Elliott has 65 receptions on 81 targets for 502 yards, and three touchdowns.
Only Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Alvin Kamara have done more in their offense’s passing game. Elliott’s on pace for 80 catches on 100 targets for 618 yards. Zeke is not only the NFL’s leading rusher but his 1,764 all-purpose yards leads the league as well. That’s how you get him more involved. Now, if only they could start getting him the ball more in the red zone.
Lastly, let’s finally get to the man of the hour, Amari Cooper. Without Cooper, this offense was in the sunken place. Speaking of sunken place, it seems like Cooper was sinking in Oakland:
|Weeks 1-7 OAK||Rec. Yds||Targ.||Rec.||Rec. Yds/Gm||Yds/Rec.||Rec. TDs||Catch %|
When you look at the turnaround this team has made from 3-5 to 8-5, Amari Cooper is only second to Jon Gruden at the top of the “Thank You” card list for the Jones’ family. Dak and Zeke should also be out looking for a pretty nice Christmas gift for this season’s savior. The Cowboys defense has been amazing and a huge component of the win-streak, but without Amari Cooper, this offense would still be a dumpster fire. It’s truly been a match made in heaven for the Dallas Cowboys.
|Week 9-14 DAL||Rec. Yds||Targ.||Rec.||Rec. Yds/Gm||Yds/Rec.||Rec. TDs||Catch %|
It’s incredible how much this offense has improved since the bye week and it really was just about finding balance. The trio of Dak, Zeke, and Amari in addition to an elite defense has transformed the Cowboys into legitimate contenders. From 29th in total yards over eight weeks to first in the last five games? Not the Saints, Rams, or Chiefs but the Cowboys? What a turnaround it truly has been!