Same story, different week. Now a three-game win streak for the Dallas Cowboys, as they defeated another divisional foe in the Washington Commanders, 25-10. During this three-game winning streak, it was the same ingredients that propelled the Cowboys to victory: play great defense, the offense played well enough, and the special teams stayed the course. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and this saying rings very true as this formula seems to be the correct one. The main question going forward is when Dak Prescott returns, do they stay the course or not? That question should be answered in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that. Getting back to week four, let’s take a deeper look at all three facets and provide each unit with a grade this week.
Cooper Rush and the receiving unit pushed the Cowboys to victory in Week 4
Quarterback Cooper Rush continued to play solid football and kept his stat line very similar to the previous two games and did not throw any interceptions. His completion percentage in week four took a dip as compared to the previous games, but he did double up on his total touchdowns to four on the year. Rush, also did something no other Cowboys quarterback has ever done, win each of his first four career games. Kudos to Cooper Rush for steadying the ship thus far.
Speaking of that, thankfully he steadied the ship in week four because the running game was non-existent. Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combined only tallied 55 rushing yards on 27 totes for an average of just over two yards a carry.
That figure will not get things done, but thankfully the wide receivers were up for the task. Welcome back to Michael Gallup who caught a touchdown in his first game back. Ceedee Lamb and Noah Brown performed well once again, and as Gallup gets more in-game reps, this trio later in the season will be fun to watch.
Welcome to the NFL DaRon Bland, and another great outing for the stout Cowboys D
Another very good performance by the entire defensive unit. Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz, just like every other quarterback that has faced this defense, was running for his life. Although he was only sacked twice in the game, the pressure made it difficult for Wentz to get anything going in the passing game as he only passed for 170 yards with an average yards per completion of just four yards. Four yards per attempt is solid in the running game, but in the passing game, not so much. This stat shows how much the Commanders offense was designed to get the ball out of Wentz’s hands as quickly as possible, and that can most certainly be a testament to the tremendous pass rush that the Cowboys bring on so many of the game snaps.
The one particular area that Dallas had some trouble in was the rushing game. The Commanders rushed for 142 yards on 27 carries with a 5.3 average yards per carry. In this case, these numbers were a little misleading as each of the three running backs broke off a run for 33, 23, and 11 respectively. Taking each long rush from each player out of the equation, and not counting Wentz’ five yards on the ground, the total yards rushing was just 70. Taking it a step further, and aside from each running backs long rush, they totaled 23 carries which when factored in on 70 total rushing yards, comes to an average of just over three yards per carry. The rush defense needs to limit too many long rush plays. Fortunately, no one scored on the ground for the Commanders.
The Cowboys pass defense, aided by a great pass rush, were able to pick off Wentz for two interceptions. One for Trevon Diggs, which is not a shock to many, but the other went to someone who many did not see coming, rookie DaRon Bland. Great work on back end for the Cowboys defense.
Brett Maher can make kicks and tackle too, who would’ve thought?
Another solid performance overall for the special teams. Brett Maher made all four of his field goal attempts, with a long of 53. He did miss one extra point, but that was blocked and due to his effort on the play, he saved what could’ve been a two-point conversion the other way for the Commanders. It seemed for a moment that Maher was the only Cowboys special teams player to recognize what was happening, and thankfully he did or two points may have gone in the other direction.
Bryan Anger had six punts on the afternoon and five of them were normal Bryan Anger kicks - very solid. He did have one come off the side of his foot, but that sort of thing can happen to even the better punters from time to time. Thankfully, that bad punt didn’t result in the tides turning and giving the Commanders a boost of momentum to win the game. KaVontae Turpin was only able to return one punt on the day and it resulted in a loss of three yards. He did not get an opportunity to return a kick on the day. The special teams unit had some bright spots, but also had a mishap or two, and no real return game of note.