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After further review: Cowboys secondary comes up big and Cooper Rush continues to be Cooper Rush

What can we learn after re-watching the Cowboys’ tape?

NFL: Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

This is a very weird season for the Dallas Cowboys. After an offseason that felt like a punt to some, many wondered what to expect from this football team. And when starting quarterback Dak Prescott got injured in the season opener, some couldn’t help looking up to see if the sky was in fact falling.

It’s not.

The sky remains intact for this Cowboys football team as they continue to weather the storm due to the stellar play of their defense. The Cowboys currently are ranked third overall in points allowed and have allowed one touchdown and one touchdown only in each of their first four games to start the season. That’s pretty good. This defense travels. North Dakota, South Dakota, no Dakota - it doesn’t matter. They show up and they shut you down.

We already know about the Cowboys' defensive line. They entered the week with a league-leading 13 sacks. Led by the ferocious lion Micah Parsons, the defense is getting pressure from several players including DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, and Dante Fowler.

But the defense is good in other areas as well. Against Washington on Sunday, the Cowboys' secondary had one of its best games. Despite starting the season against Tom Brady and Joe Burrow, the defense has yet to allow 200 yards passing in a game. That’s impressive.


The Cowboys picked off Carson Wentz twice in this game, courtesy of Trevon Diggs and the rookie DaRon Bland. The length of the team’s cornerbacks was on display as passes were being knocked down left and right. It made for some really tight throwing windows for Wentz.

Trevon Diggs is following up an All-Pro season with some even better play this season. While he only has two interceptions thus far (still good enough to lead the league), he is leading the league in pass breakups. Target him all you want, but there inevitably will be consequences, especially if you play in the NFC East.

Trevon Diggs...

  • against Philadelphia, has three straight games with a pick
  • against New York, has three straight games with a pick
  • against Washington, has two straight games with a pick

And how about a nice debut from the rookie from Fresno State? Bland came up with the game-cincher when he jumped in front of a Wentz pass late in the fourth quarter.


Jayron Kearse was one of the biggest surprises of last year’s free agent class, but he has been out since Week 1 with an injury. Without the team’s defensive quarterback, the safety group keeps going without skipping a beat. Donovan Wilson has stepped in and played extremely well. Even second-year safety Israel Mukuamu is seeing action and he is showing everyone that he deserves those opportunities. Both came through with splash plays on Sunday.

Whether it’s Wilson, Mukuamu, or the veteran Malik Hooker, the Cowboys safeties are wrapping up and it’s keeping short passing plays as short gains.


It wasn’t all good for the Cowboys defense as they surrendered 142 rushing yards. It was their third game this year where they’ve allowed 140+ yards on the ground, which is why they are currently ranked sixth-worst in rushing yards allowed.

But unlike the other games where the quarterback did some of the damage, this yardage was churned out by the Commanders running backs. Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, and Jonathan Williams all had at least 40 yards rushing. Washington’s tight ends and wide receivers did a great job blocking allowing the backs to fly through the lane. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was always late to the party and could be found chasing ball carriers down the sideline. Not ideal.


Let’s end this thing on a positive. While the defense is the true hero, we have to continue to praise the great job Cooper Rush is doing in Dak’s absence. Yes, he did get bailed out in what could have been his first and second interceptions of the season, but he also stepped in and made some big throws. What more can you ask from a backup quarterack?

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