The Dallas Cowboys came away with a 27-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night. With news that the Titans were resting a lot of their starters, we got a sense that this one could be a cakewalk, but to our surprise, it wasn’t so breezy after all. Here are 10 thoughts on this Cowboys win in Nashville.
1. The topsy-turvy Prescott
You’d think years of watching Tony Romo play would make us fans well-adjusted to a good old roller-coaster ride of quarterback play. Fortunately for our mental capacity, we haven’t had to endure so many up and downs when it comes to Dak Prescott, at least not until this season. Prescott is having a weird season where he’ll commit turnovers, but then turn around and play really well. Thursday night was no different. Prescott had three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumbled center exchange) but also had three 10-play touchdown drives. Minus a few misjudged throws, he was rather sharp on the night. That’s kinda been the Prescott way this season.
2. Who are these guys?
When news broke that the Cowboys would be facing quarterback Joshua Dobbs, it set the stage for a ragamuffin Titans cast of characters. To their credit, the Tennessee reserves made some plays as Dobbs hit three different players for plays of 30+ yards. We know about rookie Treylon Burks who had one of those catches, but they also got a big deep pass completion to receiver Racey McMath and a nice little screen pass to Julius Chestnut that went for 33 yards.
3. The rise of the Lamb
Through the first eight games of the season, third-year receiver CeeDee Lamb didn’t have a single game where he had 100 yards receiving, leaving many to wonder if they had traded away their alpha receiver to Cleveland. Over the last eight games, he’s now had five games with at least 100 yards receiving, including his 11-catch, 100-yard performance on Thursday night. This puts Lamb over 1,300 yards for the year. After 935 yards his rookie season and 1,102 yards last yard, it’s clear to see that the Cowboys' young wide receiver just keeps getting better and better.
4. Down goes Biadasz
The Cowboys lost their starting right tackle Terence Steele a few weeks ago. It was a tough loss as the third-year tackle was having a great year. Speaking of third-year players having a good season, center Tyler Biadasz has been an unsung spark along the interior offensive line for the Cowboys this year. Unfortunately, Biadasz left the game with an ankle injury. It’s unclear just how long he’ll be out, but if the team loses another starting offensive lineman, this will just create more challenges for this Cowboys offense.
5. The full circle offensive line shuffle?
With Biadasz out, the Cowboys slid the left side of their offensive line over one spot as Connor McGovern took over at center while Tyler Smith became the new left guard. The veteran Jason Peters then took over at left tackle. It’s unclear how the Cowboys will handle the offensive line arrangement if Biadasz misses an extended amount of time. With they go with what they had on Thursday or will they shift things around once again? I hear that Tyron Smith fellow can play some left tackle, so maybe that becomes a thing again. How odd would it be if the Cowboys' plan of having Tyron and Tyler together on the left side got shaken up due to injury only to return full circle due to more injuries?
6. Dak scare
Late in the first half, we all got a little bit of a scare when Prescott came up hobbling after he was sacked for a two-yard loss. Dak remained in the game and seemed okay. He even took off running in the second half, so there don’t appear to be any lingering effects. With just one regular season game left, the Cowboys need to keep their players healthy and this would be a terrible time to lose one of their best players.
7. Bailed out by drops
The Cowboys' defense did okay for the most part if you take away those big plays. Overall, the Titans' offense didn’t do very much damage; however, there were some opportunities squandered thanks to some crucial drops by their receivers. Robert Woods had a drop early and then Burks had another later as Dobbs put the ball in the perfect spot. The Cowboys defense got a little help from these missed chances.
8. Wright again
The Cowboys had two takeaways in this game. The first came after a sack-fumble went into the arms of Micah Parsons. The next one came when the long arms of Nahshon Wright picked off Dobbs as the Titans quarterback tried to hit Woods near the sideline. This was just the second game that Wright has played meaningful snaps on defense after being inactive most of the year, but he looks better and better with each rep. This is positive news.
9. Running into a problem
The Cowboys rushing efficiency had not been good over their past two games, and with no Tony Pollard in this one, what would that yield? Well, the Cowboys running woes continued as Ezekiel Elliott ran for just 37 yards on 18 carries. It was the worst yards-per-carry total (1.9) of his career in any game he’s had at least double-digit rushing attempts. Things weren’t much better for undrafted rookie Malik Davis. He had one nice run of 23 yards, but then only had 16 yards on his other nine carries. Overall, it was another dismal performance in the running game for the Cowboys.
With the news of this game featuring the officiating crew of Shawn Hochuli, it had all the making of a flag fest as the last time the Cowboys had this crew, they were hit with 14 penalties for 166 yards against the Las Vegas Raiders last year. That was a franchise record. While the penalties were plentiful, it was the Titans getting lit up by the officials in this game. Tennessee finished the game with 10 penalties for 124 yards. The Cowboys, however, had another relatively clean game as they only had three penalties (accepted), two of which came on special teams against Kelvin Joseph. After being so bad for most of the year, the Cowboys have now had five-straight games with four or fewer penalties. That’s crazy.