The Cowboys took care of business on Monday night. No way around it, the Cowboys let the rest of the division know who the big dog is in the NFC East. In front of a massive home crowd on Monday Night Football the Cowboys were able to assert their dominance versus a hated rival and get above .500 for the first time this season. There was a lot to take in on Monday night, and here are 10 thoughts from their convincing week three victory.
1. The only people that can stop this offense is themselves.
The Cowboys had their way with the Eagles defense for most of the night. They were able to run the ball when they liked, and Dak Prescott was surgical as he has another impressive performance versus a division foe. If you are talking about the way this offense stalls, it’s because of their untimely errors. Whether from penalties, bad snaps, or poor execution, they only unit that has proven to be able to stop this offense from scoring is themselves. The Cowboys offense is still missing a few key components to their offensive attack, and it is a scary sight for the rest of the league once the unit becomes whole again.
2. Mike McCarthy has serious clock management issues.
By now we all know what happened at the end of the first half. Mike McCarthy electing to keep the two remaining time outs in his pocket as the Eagles stand there facing an insurmountable 2nd and 34 as Dak and the boys stand ready for another chance to attack this beatable defense. The idea to not give your elite quarterback and the prolific offense a chance to do something to close out the half with what could be assumed to be about a minute to go is mind-numbingly bad. It is conservative at best, and down right scared at worst, and poor clock management has become a consistent pattern throughout this season for the head coach.
3. How close are we to saying Trevon Diggs is in the upper echelon of cornerbacks in the NFL?
Three games, three interceptions. There is no other way to put it other than Trevon Diggs is the real deal and the rest of the league is absolutely taking notice of what the young second-year cornerback from Alabama is doing. The Cowboys have a certified lockdown cornerback for the first in what feels like ages and he is only continuing to grow and get better. Whether it was Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, or whoever the Eagles lined up in front of him, it is going to be a long game for the opposing wide receiver. Diggs possess outstanding ability and elite level ball skills and is on pace to be in every All-Pro conversation early on in this season.
4. Tyler Biadasz had another tough night.
To be fair, the interior defensive line talent Tyler Biadasz has had to face to start the season is a tough deal for any center in this league, but the presence of Biadasz struggles was felt again in this game. Javon Hargrave was driving the young center off the ball and forcing him off his spot on more than a few occasions. There has definitely been growing pains for Biadasz, but we can say the offense has been able to function with him in the lineup, it is just tough to deal as the season goes on when you’re getting sketchy play from your center position. The Cowboys will need for him to settle down going forward or see if there may be a better solution to explore.
5. NFL officials have not been good.
NFL officiating through the first three weeks has been less than stellar. Whether the Cowboys have been on the positive side of a bad call or on the wrong side of it, the officials have been making their presence felt a little too much this season. You cant expect them to be perfect, but what you can expect is situations like Dak Prescott’s fourth-down goal line sneak to be called with a bit of common sense. If this game was competitive, how would we be speaking about that missed called today? Every team’s fear is that an official is going to cost a team a win, or insert themselves in a big situation that can directly impact an outcome. It shouldn't be an outlandish statement to expect better from the leagues officials.
6. Kellen Moore’s creativity is fun to watch.
Whether its getting both dynamic running backs on the field at the same time, or putting Connor McGovern at fullback for some snaps, one thing is certain, Kellen Moore is feeling it this year. This offense is one of the best in the league and Moore is a big part of that. He is comfortable sitting back and calling the game as it comes to him. He feels no reason to try and set an identity, or maybe his identity is to take what is offered. Let your star quarterback and his wide cast of weapons do what needs to be done as the game unfolds. All the while Moore implements little wrinkles and ideas that will keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night thinking about them.
7. Is it time to say this defense is legit?
This defense has been a heavily criticized unit for much of the last year, and with good reason, but this year’s version is doing their part to change the narrative. The unit as a whole looks faster, more confident, and certainly much more ball-oriented. Even with the amount of injuries piling up, and “next man up” mentality being put to the test, the defense has answered the call. This unit just needs to be average for this team to be a scary team this year, at this point it looks like this team can be much more than that.
8. Tyron Smith is healthy and is back to being elite.
Pro Football Focus made Tyron Smith the highest-graded player in the league for week three. Not the highest-graded offensive lineman, but the highest-graded player overall. The man is a giant and the league’s best left tackle when healthy, and it looks like for the first time in a long while we can say that is a fact. Having a healthy Smith was always going to be important to this offense’s success, protecting Dak’s blind side and keeping him upright meant Dallas would always have a chance in a football game. Look for Tyron Smith to continue to dominate the league as he is on his own version of a comeback tour in 2021.
9. Three games in and its clear this team can win any way they need too.
This touches partly on what was discussed in regards to Kellen Moore earlier, but this team can win any way they need to. Whether that's putting the team on Dak’s back, or giving the ball close to 40 times to the two running backs, to even letting the defense make plays like we saw Monday night, this team is going to be extremely hard to beat going forward. Three games in, they won two of them and had every opportunity to win the first one. Nobody can count out this Cowboys team and many folks nationally are starting to notice they are a force to be reckoned with.
10. Cowboys run the NFC East.
There is no debate, or at least there shouldn't be, when it comes to who the class of this division is. The Cowboys handled the Eagles Monday night with ease, the Washington Football Team is built around their defense and is surrendering on average 30 points a game, and the New York Giants, are, well, the New York Giants. The only thing that can stop this team from running away with this division is injury or themselves. If they stay focused, the division should just be the first check in the box of this year’s goals.