The fearsome Dallas defense once again shut down the opponent’s offense, making Carson Wentz miserable at AT&T Stadium. Meanwhile, the offensive side of the ball played their part in a 25-10 win versus the Washington Commanders. Here are the players who helped lift the Cowboys to their third straight victory.
Donovan Wilson has been garnering a lot of attention for himself for his play the last few weeks. As stated in the weekly Cowboys links, Wilson is viewed as a top performer at the safety position this season and the trend continued on Sunday versus the Commanders.
Entering the game, the Cowboys had to find a way to contain versatile Commanders running back Antonio Gibson in the running and passing game. The fourth-year safety was integral in making sure Gibson never made an impact. On several occasions, he was down near the line of scrimmage to stop Gibson for little to no gain.
A versatile threat at running back, Gibson could have been a problem for the Cowboys but was held to forty-nine yards on thirteen carries for an average of under four yards per carry. Gibson ended the contest with a total of just sixty-three yards from scrimmage on 16 touches for a paltry 3.9 yards per touch.
Lamb cooks Commanders
Don’t look now but CeeDee Lamb might have hit a turning point. After the game he had last week versus the Giants, Cowboys Nation has been clamoring for more. The Po Bowl receiver delivered, once again leading the team in receiving and hauling in six receptions for 97 yards.
The chatter of is he, or is he not, a number one receiver gets a little quieter with Lamb exploiting the Commanders’ secondary in the different ways he was able to. The first highlight of Lamb’s day was a 23-yard catch run to move the Cowboys away from inside their own 20-yard line.
On the same drive, you also saw Lamb’s maturity as a receiver, when he found the soft spot in the Washington defense for a 17-yard gain over the middle. Yet, the best play of Lamb’s day is the 30-yard touchdown to give the Cowboys a two-score lead to open the fourth quarter. Lamb set up Commanders’ cornerback William Jackson III on a perfect double-move and Rush hit him in the end zone for the score.
This route from CeeDee Lamb— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 2, 2022
No rushing back
When handing out kudos for the stars of this game, you can’t overlook Cooper Rush. The results aren’t video game numbers or that of a QB1 in fantasy. However, that’s not what Rush is being asked to do. He’s simply going out there and managing the game to help his team win. His latest win set a new milestone for Rush as he became the first quarterback in team history to win his first 4 career starts.
Versus the Commanders, Rush was his usual self as he’s always been during the Cowboys’ three-game winning streak. He was decisive and unlike his quarterback counterpart Carson Wentz, he knew when to take the safer option. A good example would be when he scanned the field on the opening drive, found no one open, and checked down to Ezekiel Elliott for a catch and run of 31 yards.
In the Fox broadcast, analyst Greg Olsen discussed the value of a good backup quarterback. In his mind, he believes that Cooper Rush has earned some money in his pocket from the Cowboys or some other team. That still remains to be seen.
However, what Rush has earned is the confidence in the Dallas coaching staff and that he can handle the offense. The control and command Rush exuded allowed the coaching staff to entrust him to take more chances down the field and Rush capitalized.
Cooper Rush lets it fly!— NFL (@NFL) October 2, 2022
: #WASvsDAL on FOX
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/Iz3yIhF6EG pic.twitter.com/dmnx54W3fF
His biggest throw of the day was a 45-yard bomb to Noah Brown deep down the middle of the field. It’s been reported that Dak Prescott will look to return to practice this week. Still, if this keeps up with Rush, the Cowboys may decide to take their time with Prescott’s return and keep hanging with Mr. Cooper.
Brett Maher is still money
Brett Maher could easily be lost as an unsung hero in a game where the Dallas defense was in command. (pun intended) That said, it cannot be understated how important he was to the Cowboys winning their third consecutive game. The Maher of old that somehow managed to make the most mundane of kicks heart-stoppers hasn’t been seen this year in Dallas.
His only blemish of the day, if you want to call it that, was a blocked extra point where he made the tackle on the recovery. After making all four kicks on Sunday, including a 53-yard field goal, Maher is now 10/11 on field goal attempts this season. In the past, Maher had trouble balancing distance and accuracy. That wasn’t the case versus the Commanders and several of his kicks left no doubt once they left his foot.
Welcome back Michael Gallup
The best things come to those who wait and in the case of Michael Gallup, the wait was well worth it. In his first game back from a torn ACL, Gallup had his fingerprints on this game, just not in a conventional way on the stat sheet. Sure his nine-yard touchdown reception helped the Cowboys regain the lead, but his ability to stretch the field is what mattered in this game.
The Commanders defense has struggled to limit big plays in the passing game and has exhibited a lack of discipline in preventing self-inflicted mistakes. With Gallup back in the lineup, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore took full advantage of that.
Twice in the game Rush dropped back and uncorked a long ball deep down the field to Gallup and both times Gallup drew a penalty for pass interference against the Commanders for 65 yards in penalties. While the offense is still struggling to finish drives, Gallup’s return forces defenses to give the offense more space to work with underneath.