That is more like it. That is the Cowboys team we expected to see the week prior. This team showed toughness, resiliency, swagger, and an overall level of production you would expect to see from a quality team that is angry. The Cowboys were on fire on all three phases of the game and put together s dominant and complete win, as thorough as you can expect to ever seen in an NFL game.
Here are 10 thoughts from the Cowboys impressive win over the Atlanta Falcons
1. From the first drive the offense set the tone.
The Cowboys won the toss and elected to receive which is rare in todays NFL. The Cowboys weren't messing around and wanted to get last week’s bad taste out of their mouth from the start. The Cowboys did just that as they drove down the field and scored an opening drive touchdown that just let everybody know that this week was absolutely going to be different.
2. This was Jourdan Lewis’s best game as a pro.
From the big fourth-down stop, to the plays following it where Lewis was sticky in coverage, it was about as good of football as you could see from a cornerback. Lewis has shown ability throughout his NFL career, but never quite on a consistent level to instill the amount of confidence you would hope from the young cornerback. Lately he has been playing well and Sunday was the best he has ever looked in his career.
3. Dorance Armstrong stepped up in a big way.
Armstrong found himself in a much bigger role Sunday with the absence of Randy Gregory and he sure answered the bell. From the sack, to the blocked punt, Armstrong looked strong, quick, and confident on the football field. The Cowboys would be a much better football team if Armstrong can continue to progress and positively affect the game. DeMarcus Lawrence and Gregory will be back soon, if Armstrong can come in rotationally and provide the type of juice he did Sunday, this defensive line could be legit going forward.
4. The Cowboys played a near perfect first half on all phases and it was enough to pull out the win.
This game was over before half time. We haven't been able to say that many times over the years. The Cowboys were so dominant in the first half that everybody around the team was able to get in on the fun and play loose, fun football. Outside of Atlanta moving the ball at will on the first drive, the defense gave up virtually nothing from there on out, the offense took what they wanted when they wanted, and the special teams got in on the fun with a blocked punt for a touchdown. What a great half of football.
5. Dak followed up his seasons worst outing with this seasons best outing.
Dak was playing and executing at a rare level on Sunday. He completely understood what the defense was trying to do to him and knew exactly how to attack. It’s clear he took the week prior personal and was determined to come out firing in Week 10. From the pre-game huddle he led, all the way to his final touchdown run to end his day, it was clear that Dak Prescott was a man on a mission on Sunday.
6. The return of Michael Gallup is about to unlock this offense.
Michael Gallup had a solid game on Sunday, despite one drop he knew he should've had and said as much following the game. Beyond just this past Sunday is Gallup’s impact on this offense as a whole. His presence allows for CeeDee Lamb to flourish because Gallup demands attention and possesses the ability to take the top off the defense at any given time. The Cowboys have been productive, and Ced Wilson has been a quality player in the #3 role this year, but having Michael Gallup back will allow this offense to take it to another level.
7. Vindication for Dan Quinn.
All week Dan Quinn stated this game was just another one and approached it like any other game with the focus of a good coach who has been around the league a long time. However, there is no denying what this game meant to him and the players that rallied around him. To hold the team that fired him midseason to three points while committing an offensive beatdown is about as good as it gets for revenge. Capping the day off by receiving the game ball from the team was the cherry on top.
8. Have a day, Cowboys secondary.
Anthony Brown, Trevon Diggs, Jourdan Lewis, pick, pick, pick. The top three cornerbacks for the Dallas Cowboys all came away with a take away Sunday and it feels good to see a unit that many viewed as a weak point on this defense have such a productive day. We all know how Diggs has been playing, but Anthony Brown has quietly been having a quality season himself. The man on the other side of Diggs rarely gets the praise but he just stays quiet and goes to work. When players work hard and put out a quality outing it is always good to seem them get rewarded.
9. Ezekiel Elliott is a complete running back and consistently proves that week in and week out.
Whether it is running in the hole, or taking a screen pass, or even stepping up and stone-walling a blitzing cornerback or linebacker, there is simply nothing Zeke can’t do. Coming off the worst year of his career it has been great to see a productive and motivated Zeke out there being his old self. With eight touchdowns on the season and pushing towards 1,000 yards rushing, the numbers are there. But the most impressive thing about Zeke this year is the quiet little things he does each week that can’t be charted in the statistical category that makes this team better.
10. How will the team respond moving forward?
The Cowboys had every reason to come out like they did this week. Following embarrassment, a team has a little more drive and a little better attention to detail. Now that that is behind them, how they respond moving forward will define this team. The Cowboys have a tough stretch of games coming up, but they are all winnable, and on the other hand, they are certainly all losable, too. This team showed what they can do when they are mad, can they hone in and bring this type of game week in and week out? That remains to be seen.