The Dallas Cowboys woke up on Monday morning with 10 wins to their name. That remains an incredible thing that should be celebrated. Context is important though, and while the Cowboys defeated the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon it took reaching deep down, much further down than anybody originally thought Dallas would have to go in order to pull it off.
We discussed everything from Sunday’s win on the latest episode of 1st and 10 on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
Perhaps more than anything Sunday served as the latest reminder that winning in the NFL is in fact tough, and that the way Dallas has been thrashing opponents as of late is the exception as opposed to the norm. As a different example, just a few hours after the Cowboys won, the Kansas City Chiefs suffered their own scare against the Denver Broncos. Those would be the same Chiefs who actually lost to the Indianapolis Colts earlier this season.
None of this is to say or suggest that Dallas is on Kansas City’s level. It is just worth mentioning that every team has won ugly at some point and the Cowboys can now wear that badge of honor.
But the Cowboys did win and a big reason that they were able to do so was the play of Dak Prescott in the game’s final, most critical moments.
Dak Prescott had his struggles against the Houston Texans but was money with the game on the line
There were many Dallas Cowboys fans who thought that the game was over when Dak Prescott threw an interception that was returned to the team’s four-yard line with under six minutes to go. After all the Cowboys were trailing by three points at the time and were facing some pretty insurmountable odds.
But the defense prevailed, in large part thanks to a heroic third-down play by DeMarcus Lawrence, and pitched a four-play shut out. Houston wound up gaining only two yards throughout the possession that they should have used to twist the knife. Instead they set the Cowboys up with 98 yards separating them from the win.
From their own two-yard line the Cowboys and their quarterback got to work. Dak Prescott is a polarizing subject and someone who generates a lot of debate and discussion, but however you feel about him you should offer a tip of the hat for what he did over the following 11 plays.
Dallas Cowboys game-winning drive against the Houston Texans (new line of scrimmage)
- Dak Prescott to Dalton Schultz for 21 yards (Dallas 23)
- Dak Prescott for 9 yards (Dallas 32)
- Dak Prescott to Dalton Schultz for 13 yards (Dallas 45)
- Dak Prescott to Ezekiel Elliott for 6 yards (Houston 49)
- Dak Prescott to CeeDee Lamb for 3 yards (Houston 46)
- Dak Prescott for 6 yards (Houston 40)
- Dak Prescott to Noah Brown for 18 yards (Houston 22)
Cowboys call their first timeout
- Dak Prescott to Dalton Schultz for 18 yards (Houston 4)
Texans call their second timeout
- Ezekiel Elliott for 2 yards (Houston 2)
Texans call their third timeout
- Dak Prescott incomplete to Michael Gallup
- Ezekiel Elliott for 2 yards (Touchdown)
On that drive Dak Prescott was near-perfect finishing 6 of 7 for 79 yards. Had Michael Gallup held on to his lone target on the drive then Prescott would have actually been perfect at 7 of 7 for 81 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
Prior to this possession, Prescott was 18 of 32 for 205 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, including the turnover that should have lost the game as we mentioned up top. But fate smiled upon the Cowboys and gave them an opportunity that they otherwise shouldn’t have had, and to his credit Dak Prescott did not squander it.
The point here is not to celebrate that the Cowboys dug themselves an embarrassing hole, but that when the going got tough and when they absolutely had to have something that they were able to summon it. Moving forward it would be ideal (shocker here) for the Cowboys to not play down to their opponent which is a subject that Mike McCarthy must tackle over the week. In the broadcast’s opening moments, FOX’s Laura Okmin noted that over last week McCarthy showed the team a video of a mouse examining a trap and taking a piece of cheese while cautioning them not to do the same relative to the hype people were showing them prior to this most recent game. Call it what you want but the Cowboys most certainly took the cheese, played down to their opponent, started slow. Pick your adage.
Things will not always work out this way for the Cowboys or for anyone else for that matter. The amazing DeMarcus Lawrence play might not happen or the interception will get returned for a touchdown or any other sort of unpredictable thing. You cannot bank on a mulligan like this and that should be the biggest takeaway from the week.