With five weeks already down in the 2022 NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys are currently sitting at 4-1. They are just a single game back behind their arch rival, the Philadelphia Eagles, for first place in the NFC East. The Eagles are 5-0 and remain the lone undefeated team in the NFL. Speaking of Philly, it just so happens that America’s Team will be facing them at Lincoln Financial Field this coming Sunday night in what will be a match-up of two of the league’s best teams.
On this past Sunday, the Cowboys played a team that was supposed to be among the league’s best in the Los Angeles Rams, but Dallas looked like the better team all throughout. The game was far from perfection, but the Cowboys ultimately prevailed. Lets breakdown each of the three units and see which one comes out with the highest grade in Week 5.
A nice bounce-back game for the rushing attack, as the offense leaned on it all game
It wasn’t the best statistical performance from starting quarterback Cooper Rush, but he took care of the ball well enough to give Dallas the win. Where the offensive looked it’s best was on the ground with the one-two punch of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. The duo combined for 164 yards on 30 carries for an average of nearly 5.5 yards a carry. A good portion of that yardage came via a 57-yard touchdown run by Pollard. Although Zeke’s stats weren’t flashy, they were very purposeful and helped the Cowboys stay on schedule in moving the sticks. The one thing you could complain about was the lack of touches for Pollard, but both players played well with the looks they were given.
Cooper Rush didn’t fill out the passing stat sheet in Week 5, so the receiving numbers weren’t mind blowing. CeeDee Lamb was steady except for another drop. Michael Gallup did a Michael Gallup-type thing on the sideline, but also had a drop. One disappointment was the lack of involvement for Noah Brown in the game, but that could be more of a game flow deal. Given how the game unfolded, the offense wasn’t a juggernaut, but played solid enough to win another game.
Staying the course, and continuing to play lights out defense has been the key for this team’s success
Let’s talk defense. Once again, they came to play and took it to the defending champs. Micah Parsons continued to do what he’s done all season, ball the heck out and be a unicorn. His stats backed up what a game-wrecker he’s been by sacking Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford twice, one of which ended up being the game-clinching fumble to seal the win for Dallas.
Osa Odighizuwa also came to play and was able to get four hits on Stafford on Sunday, one of which was for a sack. Another name that has to be mentioned is Dorance Armstrong, he played extremely well. He sacked Stafford and forced a fumble that would lead to DeMarcus Lawrence scooping up the ball to take it back to the house for six. There were so many players on the defensive unit that played well which helped the Cowboys get a victory. The one issue on defense was Stafford passing for over 300 yards in the game thanks to a couple of monster plays. Those explosive plays which led to points were the only knock on their game.
Blocking a punt, and continuing to be steady has been a recipe for success with the special teams unit
Last, but certainly not least, let’s slide on over to the special teams unit. Once again, this unit continued to play well, and has been very steady all season long. What makes this game a little different in comparison to the other games thus far was a punt block by Dorance Armstrong. Whenever you can get a blocked punt in a game, it’s a big deal. What makes it an even bigger deal was that the player making that punt block was the same player who caused a fumble that was returned for six. This all happened in the first quarter, and the momentum was squarely with the Cowboys for majority of the game.
Brett Maher was perfect on the day, as he made three field goals and one extra point. We won’t count the missed extra point against Maher as there was a breakdown in communication with the new long snapper which never gave Maher a chance on the kick. Another solid performance from him, in what has been a revelation given the kicking woes before the season had begun.
Bryan Anger also performed well and boomed one of his punts for 67 yards. But, he also had another short punt like last week. KaVontae Turpin was only able to make a return once on the evening, and at this stage of the season, it’s just a matter of time that he breaks one off for six.