The Dallas Cowboys took care of business with a 54-19 blowout over their first of four AFC South opponents, the Indianapolis Colts. Similar to the Thanksgiving game, the Cowboys got off to a slow start and even trailed going into the second quarter. And just like the Turkey Day game against the Giants, eventually, the boys in silver and blue showed up, and they showed up big. When all was said and done, the Cowboys had scored eight total touchdowns and finished with the fifth-most points scored in franchise history.
Here are ten thoughts on the Cowboys' 35-point smackdown of the Colts.
1. Oh, what a fourth quarter!
The Cowboys held a 21-19 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but then all kinds of craziness ensured. The Cowboys blew things open in a hurry as they scored five-straight touchdowns. Aided by four turnovers, including a fumble that was returned for a score, the Cowboys went for the jugular scoring 33 points in the fourth! In a blink of an eye, the game went from a nail-biter to a straight-up Dallas drubbing!
2. CeeDee won’t go down
The Cowboys' third-year receiver is really coming into his own as of late. He finished the game with five catches for 75 yards. He also added another 23 yards from back-to-back jet sweeps. He’s turning into a gotcha playmaker and delivered some nice runs after the catch in this game. Lamb scored the game's first touchdown when he rolled over on a Colts defender and never touched the ground. Lamb wisely kept running while onlookers just stood there and watched.
Lamb had a touchdown taken away from him last game by a fraction of a heel. Now, gets a payback touchdown! pic.twitter.com/7CIooiXXwA— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) December 5, 2022
On the Cowboys’ second scoring drive, Lamb turned a 3rd-and-2 short pass into a 22-yard gain as he tip-toed down the sideline, setting up a 1st-and-goal inside the 10-yard line. The Cowboys scored two plays later.
Fun fact: Lamb is averaging more yards per game than Amari Cooper has during ANY season of his eight-year career.
3. Motion sickness
Not only did Lamb have a nice game as a receiver, but his impact was felt even when he wasn’t getting the ball. Kellen Moore did a fantastic job with his pre-snap motion, constantly moving Lamb around and allowing Prescott to find favorable matchups. This was even pointed out by Cris Collinsworth on the Michael Gallup touchdown before the first half, and then later in a graphic that indicated Lamb went in motion on a career-high 42% of his snaps. Additionally, all 94 of Lamb’s yards from scrimmage came on plays he went in motion.
For unknown reasons, Moore gets a lot of criticism when it comes to the Cowboys' offense, but he was putting on a coordinating clinic on Sunday night.
4. Running amok
The Cowboys knew they had to try to stop the Colts' biggest offensive weapon, running back Jonathan Taylor. And sure enough, they did. Taylor had one nice run of 19 yards, but that was it. He finished the game with 21 carries for just 82 yards for an average of 3.9 yards per carry.
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys running game was producing. Tony Pollard led the group with 91 yards, including two touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 77 yards and scored a touchdown. Even UDFA Malik Davis got in on the action and ran for 29 yards including a 23-yard touchdown. As a team, the Cowboys ran 34 times for 220 yards for an average of 6.5 yards per carry and four touchdowns. That’s amazing.
Make sure to get your kids some of these wonderful Christmas toys. You got the Whack-a-Mole and now for a limited time, the Zeke-in-the-Box! pic.twitter.com/uP62mRPPyT— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) December 5, 2022
5. Red hot in the red zone
The last time Brett Maher made a field goal was two weeks ago in the 40-3 blowout over Minnesota. Since then, Maher has pushed a field goal right, which was his first miss of the season under 59 yards. He also had an extra point blocked on Sunday night. These are small blemishes in an otherwise great season for the Cowboys kicker.
As luck would have it, the Cowboys have not needed his field goal services very much as the offense has been absolutely perfect in the red zone these past two games. They were 4/4 against the Giants and again 4/4 against the Colts. The Cowboys as a team have scored 12 touchdowns since Maher’s last field goal.
6. Hooker’s Revenge
That may sound like the title of the latest Lifetime movie drama, but on Sunday night, this revenge came courtesy of former Colts first-round pick Malik Hooker. A low-cost free agent signing a year ago, the Cowboys re-upped in Hooker this offseason and it’s paying dividends. He had an interception a the end of the first half that set up a Cowboys touchdown. And then, he scooped up a fumble and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown. Way to show up against your former team!
7. Fifth-round steals!
Of course, we can’t mention the defensive touchdown without giving props to the man who was behind the fumble. The Cowboys took a gamble on LSU linebacker Damone Clark in the fifth round and it’s starting to pay off as he’s getting more and more reps under his belt. On Sunday, he had his best rep of the season.
Draft steal Nakobe Dean, I mean Damone Clark, is already making splash plays!! pic.twitter.com/xf4w51g8Lc— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) December 5, 2022
And Clark wasn’t the only fifth-round rookie who was creating turnovers. Rookie corner DaRon Bland used his size to step in front of a Matt Ryan pass near the sideline to come away with the interception.
What a great day if you're a Cowboys 2022 fifth-round draft pick! pic.twitter.com/saglRp5xOq— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) December 5, 2022
And he wasn’t done. Bland used that length once again to steal the ball right out of the arms of a Colts receiver for his second interception of the game. Even as a rookie, he’s already miles ahead of both the Day 2 corners the Cowboys drafted last year.
DaRon Bland has more interceptions in THIS GAME than Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright have in their first two years in Dallas.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) December 5, 2022
This team has found something in Bland! pic.twitter.com/ckLAz4yzKt
8. Dak misfires
Despite finishing with three touchdowns, Prescott didn’t have one of his better games as he finished 20/30 for 170 yards and one interception. He was also really close to having a couple of other picks too, but the defender couldn’t quite come down with the catch. The first near miss came when veteran All-Pro corner Stephon Gilmore jumped the route and the ball was right there for the plucking. And in the second half, Dak threw behind Lamb and the ball went into the arms of a Colts defender but fortunately, the ball hit the ground.
Prescott has been letting it rip lately and he’s not afraid to take shots downfield, but he has to do a better job reading the coverage and placing a better ball for these tight window throws.
9. Down goes Brown
Whenever there’s a big passing play against the Cowboys' defense, there’s a good chance Anthony Brown had a part in it. That said, it’s easy to take Brown for granted as he’s more reliable than he’s given credit for. And when Brown went down in the second half with a foot injury, the Colts immediately took advantage and scored their final touchdown against backup corner Kelvin Joseph. The defense held up with some great play by their reserve corners, but this is still something worth monitoring going forward. Opposing offenses will attack these young guys. And it is being reported that Brown’s season is likely over as he tore his Achilles.
10. The curse is over!
The last time the Cowboys wore the red stripe on their helmet was against the Denver Broncos in the infamous “blue-print” game. And because the Broncos laid the smackdown on the Cowboys, some fans were under the impression that this uniform combination was cursed. So, when the Cowboys came out a little sluggish against the Colts, it felt like deja vu again.
Fortunately, this game had a different outcome so we can now put that silly theory to rest. Plus, those red-stripe helmets look fabulous and this fan welcomes the moment they don them again.