After learning the news that Dak Prescott would be inactive for Sunday night’s game, the notion that we’d be in store for an exciting Halloween game seemed to disappear like a bowl of candy left out on the porch for hungry trick-or-treaters. Not only that, but because of injury and reasons unbeknownst to us, the Dallas Cowboys were also without Tyron Smith and La’el Collins at the tackle positions. In the blink of an eye, it was like the 2021 season all over again.
Only it wasn’t.
We discussed Sunday night’s win and how it is the mark of an elite team on the latest episode of CowboysCast on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
Things are different in Dallas as the Cowboys found it in themselves to pull out a 20-16 come from behind victory to advance to 6-1 on the season. Led by Cooper Rush, who was making his first-ever NFL start, the Cowboys put up 419 yards of offense. And 341 of those yards came through the air, which was 45 more passing yards than the Cowboys had averaged over their first six games with Prescott.
Rush wasn’t perfect by any means. He threw the ball 40 times, only connecting on 60% of them, the lowest completion percentage of the season for a Cowboys starter. There were times his delivery and arm strength caused the ball to arrive a little late allowing the defender to already be draped over the receiver. And yes, there were even some errant throws that he shouldn’t have made, one of which resulted in an interception.
But despite the bad moments, Rush delivered the goods when it counted. And he did this against a defense that was committed to taking away the run and forcing him to beat them with his arm. Against loaded fronts, the Cowboys only gained 3.25 yards per carry, their lowest per attempt average on the season. With the help of some creative play-calling, the Cowboys kept attacking in the ground game, and even utilized backup offensive linemen La’el Collins and Connor McGovern as extra blockers in the backfield in the inverted wishbone. What a sight to see that was.
6-1 and I just wanna run this forever pic.twitter.com/EJKCgOh63w— Kelsey Charles (@kelsey_charles) November 1, 2021
Not only was offensive coordinator Kellen Moore creative in the running game, but he dialed up some nice tricks in the passing game as well as Rush wasn’t the only Cowboys player to throw a pass on Sunday night.
What a sensational little weapon that Cedrick Wilson fella is turning out to be. pic.twitter.com/c6zx1D87hL— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) November 1, 2021
This Cowboys offense is loaded with talent and it was so refreshing to see everyone utilized. Ezekiel Elliott was running hard, Amari Cooper was catching passes off of a defender’s body, and CeeDee Lamb was creating comfortable separation for his quarterback. The Cowboys' offense had a great plan by Moore and played well enough to carry it out.
But that’s only half the story.
The biggest surprise of the day came from the Cowboys defense. Despite not creating a single turnover (which ended their 13-straight game streak with a takeaway), the defense was able to make stop after stop against a very good Vikings offense. The Cowboys allowed 278 total yards on Sunday, their lowest total on the year. They only allowed 177 yards through the air against a team that had one of the better wide receiver duos in the game in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Jefferson, who had 1,400 yards receiving last year was held to just 21 yards receiving on the day.
And while there were moments when they allowed a big play or two, for the most part, they were shutting the Vikings offense down as Minnesota just couldn’t move the chains. Look how fantastic the Cowboys' defense was on the money down!
Your 2021 Dallas Cowboys defense, ladies and gentlemen... pic.twitter.com/POUHq9MK2y— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) November 1, 2021
The Cowboys defense was tackling everybody. Sometimes late and sometimes out of bounds according to flag-happy officials, but they were knocking back ball carriers so hard that even Jourdan Lewis looked Ray Lewis out there.
It’s no secret the Cowboys haven’t had very much luck with backup quarterbacks over the years. And I’m certainly not going to pretend like Cooper Rush is a different cat who has that something special to get it done. Rush proved on Sunday that he’s a solid player and that is all you should expect from a backup quarterback.
But the real difference here is that the Cowboys have a strong offensive mind and enough weapons to make Rush successful combined with some actual talent on defense to carry the team when needed. These things collectively got this Cowboys team the win on Sunday. They won as a team.
This is unchartered waters for this Cowboys team. The only wins the Cowboys could muster with a backup quarterback over the years have come against really bad teams. Whether it’s Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton, Garrett Gilbert, or even Andy Dalton (all his wins last year came against losing teams), the Cowboys just haven’t been able to beat good teams with a backup quarterback. Until now.
That is what great teams do. That is what championship teams do. During the Cowboys' three Super Bowl wins in the ‘90s they were lucky that Troy Aikman was healthy in two of them. However, when he went down, it was a very unexciting, red-headed quarterback named Jason Garrett who filled in and led them to victory, keeping the Cowboys season intact until Troy arrived. And that’s not because Garrett was anything special at quarterback. He wasn’t. But rather, it was because the Cowboys as a team were really good.
While nothing is promised, the win on Sunday night might serve as evidence that this current Cowboys team is really good as well.
As we do every week we put together highlights from the latest Dallas Cowboys win over on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of our videos!