Slap on some butter because the Dallas Cowboys are on a roll!
The Cowboys took care of business for the fourth-straight week as they defeated the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 22-10. The Cowboys have now beaten both of last year’s Super Bowl participants. It was a good win for the Cowboys as they got contributions across the board. Here are 10 thoughts on the Cowboys' big road win on Sunday.
1. Defense delivers... again
On a scale of 1-10, the Cowboys' defense gets a 10! Why a 10? Because for the second-straight week, the defense didn’t allow more than 10 points. They haven’t allowed a team to score 20 points all season. They sacked Matthew Stafford five times, they created three turnovers, and they even scored a touchdown themselves. What more can these guys do? Just another phenomenal effort by the defense!
2. The ailing Lion
The Cowboys' defense has a slew of contributors. Every game there is someone different stepping up, but the leader of this group is Micah Parsons. The second-year stud had another fantastic game, racking up two more sacks, bringing his 2022 total to six. It was the third time this season he’s had multi-sacks in a game.
Of course, all eyes were on the team’s edge rushing star when we learned he was dealing with a groin injury suffered near the end of the first half. Parsons stayed in the game and was used solely to rush the passer. It worked as he continued to feast on the Rams.
We’ll have to keep our ears close to the ground to see if his injury is something to be concerned about.
3. All or nothing
This game didn’t feature a lot of well-orchestrated offensive drives. Instead, it was a whole lot of nothing with some spurts of big plays mixed in. The Rams got in on the action early with a deep bomb to TuTu Atwell for 54 yards that set up a Rams field goal. Then, the Rams struck gold when a short pass to Cooper Kupp turned into a 75-yard touchdown. It was frustrating to see the Cowboys' defense make stops for most of the game only to surrender the big play.
The Cowboys finally got in on the action as well. After the offense did very little to move the ball, they scored their only offensive touchdown when Tony Pollard got loose and took off for 57 yards.
4. Gallup drop & redemption
With points scarce in this one, every possession counts. That’s why it hurt to see Michael Gallup drop a wide-open pass on a third-down play in the first half. Gallup ran a nice inside/out route completely shaking the defender and had no one around him. Unfortunately, the pass went right off his hands. Had Gallup caught that pass, the drive would’ve kept going into Rams territory.
Gallup redeemed himself in the second half when he made a remarkable catch on a 3rd-and-15. Despite a push-off from the Rams corner, Gallup was able to make the catch and keep both feet in bounds. The Cowboys were able to turn that drive into points and extend it to a two-score game.
5. Special teams giveth
This game featured a lot of splash plays on special teams by both teams. The Cowboys struck first when Dorance Armstrong came up the middle to block a punt, giving the Cowboys a free three points. The Cowboys got another gift when Rams kicker Matt Gay missed a 51-yard field goal that could’ve cut it to a six-point lead in the fourth quarter. Even a miscue from TuTu Atwell cost the Rams field position when he was penalized for blocking after calling a fair catch.
6. Special Teams taketh away
The Cowboys were on the wrong end of some special teams play as well. The Rams executed a well-disguised fake punt near the end of the first half that gave them a fresh set of downs. Dallas hurt themselves also when their new long-snapper prematurely snapped the ball resulting in a muffed extra point. And Bryan Anger had his second shanked punt of the year giving the Rams great field position.
7. Dorance, baby!
It’s not fair to compare the path of Randy Gregory to Dorance Armstrong, but it’s hard not to when the latter is making so many splash plays this year. The Cowboys failed to retain Gregory this offseason and had to settle for the consolation prize in signing the much cheaper Armstrong.
Armstrong continued his great play this season with a sack/strip that resulted in a fumble recovery from DeMarcus Lawrence who scampered 19 yards for a touchdown. Armstrong came through on the very next possession as well when he flew up the middle and blocked a punt, leading to a Cowboys field goal.
So far this season, Armstrong has blocked a field goal, blocked a punt, and had a sack/strip that has resulted in a defensive touchdown. And we’re only in Week 5.
8. Rough day for the rookie
It has been a great start for the Cowboys’ first-round rookie Tyler Smith, but Sunday was a little rough for him. He got flagged for a couple of holding penalties and gave up two sacks when Aaron Donald punished him off the edge.
It was a good test for the youngster, and if it’s any consolation, many offensive linemen get worked over by Donald. To his credit, he settled down as the game when on. Luckily, the Cowboys could lean on the running game to take some of the pressure off.
9. The last stands
After the Cowboys went up 22-10, the Rams marched straight down the field in record time and looked like they might get back in the game; however, the Cowboys' defense had other plans. A holding penalty (caused by Parsons), a sack by Osa Odighizuwa, followed by a Malik Hooker pick thwarted their chances.
The defense followed that stand with another one the following series after Parsons willed his way through the left tackle and into the soul of Stafford. Game over.
10, The stage is set
It’s weird how they got here, but we are now looking at a huge battle for the NFC East lead next Sunday when the Cowboys play the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles kept their hot streak going by beating Arizona and remaining the only undefeated team in the NFL with a 5-0 record.
All the hype has been about the Eagles so far this season, but a big road win in Philly could put the league on notice that this Cowboys team is for real. And with Dak Prescott’s return coming soon, this is turning out to be a really interesting season.