NFL, football, family, and fans are becoming synonymous with each other. The league and Roger Goodell want to promote it in this new era of the NFL. All those words can’t be spelled without the letter “F.” While watching the Dallas Cowboys game at home, a few “F’s” tend to be thrown around, and they usually are not any of the words above.
Every fan has a family member who got them into football in the first place. It could be a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or even your parents. Sometimes, the ones who got us into watching football in the first place are the ones who show the most passion on Sundays.
In my case, that would be my dad. My dad will look at the game through his lens while I look at it through mine. He and I watch the Cowboys, and he ends up being the one who shows more emotion from start to finish. We have conversations after he blurts out a statement, and I have to either politely disagree and explain why or agree and reaffirm to him why he’s right.
In this weekly column, you’ll be given an inside look into those conversations which you might have with the passionate fan in your life. Think of this as a translation piece into what these fans mean when they throw a few “F’s” around on Sundays.
“Who’s starting again at quarterback for the Cowboys?”
It’s a great question and one that, if half the country was polled on, they might not know the answer. Against the Rams, Cooper Rush got to start in his fourth straight game this season. There was talk during the week by Jerry Jones and national media that Dak Prescott wouldn’t be ruled out, but it never seemed likely Dallas would put Prescott under center.
While not putting up MVP-type numbers, Rush has helped steady the ship in Prescott’s absence. Rush has 839 passing yards through five weeks, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The biggest takeaway is that he is not turning the ball over.
There have been moments when Rush has thrown questionable passes, but they always seem to favor the quarterback. What’s plagued the Cowboys over the years when a backup quarterback comes in is trying to win games without turning the ball over. When Andy Dalton was here, he did throw for more touchdowns (14) in a nine-game stretch, but also threw eight interceptions. Rush doesn’t put his team in difficult situations.
My dad might be asking the same question before the Cowboys take on the 5-0 Eagles, but I think the answer remains as it’s been. Rush helping the team win four games in a row has bought Prescott more time to recover without the pressure of returning soon. If anyone in your circle is wondering about Dallas’ quarterback, just send them this link.
“It’s amazing how the Rams could win the Super Bowl last season and not be as impressive.”
His statement is a little short-sighted, as repeating a Super Bowl run in the NFL is hard. Not only with today’s salary cap, free agency, and turnover on the coaching staff, but winners repeating hasn’t happened since the New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005.
However, my dad is correct because the Rams have not looked like the same team that walked away with the Lombardi Trophy in February. Their offensive line has been decimated by injuries and is not playing well in run blocking or pass protection. The Rams ran for 38 yards, and Matthew Stafford was under pressure all game.
Against the 49ers and Cowboys, Los Angeles has allowed 12 sacks and 22 hits on their franchise quarterback. No wonder on the interception throw, Stafford was lying down like he was hit by a bus. This lack of protection is not sustainable for the rest of the season, and the Rams need to get it figured out asap.
Outside of Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee, the Rams have no offense. Allen Robinson signed with the team on a big contract and has 107 yards on 12 receptions through five games. Not the type of production a team needs from their No. 2. It also speaks to how the secondary of Dallas is playing where Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, and Trevon Diggs are taking the team’s receivers out of the game.
“What a run by Pollard! That right there reminds me of Emmitt Smith.”
Ah, the glory days that any fan born after 1996 can’t truly associate with. Emmitt Smith was still playing for the Cowboys in 2002 when I started to watch the Cowboys, but he was never the same runner as in the early 90s. Great running backs have come through Dallas, like Marion Barber, DeMarco Murray, and Ezekiel Elliott, but none have lived up to my dad’s expectations.
That is until Pollard broke off for a 57-yard touchdown run on Sunday. Now he isn’t saying that Pollard is the next Emmitt Smith, but how he could stiff-arm tacklers and keep his balance reminded him of No. 22.
Pollard has become the home-run hitter for Dallas when they need an explosive play. He had one in Week 2 against the Bengals that went for 46 yards. Pollard looks like he has more juice and hits the hole harder than Elliott, leaving many fans questioning why Pollard finished with eight carries and Zeke with 22. The coaching staff has been keeping the split pretty equal up to this point, but there’s no clear answer as to why Pollard wasn’t used more in the second half.
Regardless, the Cowboys will need a few big plays from Pollard when they take on the Eagles Sunday night. If Dallas doesn’t have any luck throwing the ball, like against the Rams, a long touchdown run could be the difference in Dallas winning or losing against their division rival.
“That Rams kicker sucks.”
This was an emotional moment at its finest for my father. While he could dial back the harsh commentary, it was a huge turning point for the Cowboys at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
After the Rams were given great field position because of a Bryan Anger 35-yard punt and 15-yard return, it looked like the momentum was finally in favor of the Rams. On the first play, Sean McVay dials up a trick play with Cooper Kupp trying to hit Cam Akers down the right sideline. It was a hold-your-breath moment, and luckily for Dallas, the ball was underthrown.
With a few quick throws to Allen Robinson to get in field goal range after a penalty brought the Rams offense back, they set up their kicker for a 51-yard field goal attempt. From the right hash, Matt Gay misses to the right of the post.
If he had made it, the Cowboys lead would have been 19-13 with 13:34 left in the fourth quarter. With the Dallas offense struggling to move the ball and only scoring one offensive touchdown, the pressure would have been all on Cooper Rush. In moments like that, mistakes can be made and could have given the Rams offense the jumpstart they needed.
Instead, with Gay missing, it gave the Cowboys excellent field position to run out more of the clock and get a field goal attempt of their own, which Brett Maher nailed to give a 22-10 lead. While the Rams have a quality field goal kicker, much to the disagreement with my dad, his missed field goal gave the Rams almost no chance of making a comeback.