In need of a bounce-back game after last week’s embarrassing loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Dallas Cowboys 38-3 victory over the New England Patriots in Week 4 could be just the boost of confidence they needed to help get them back on track for the remainder of the season. They still have a lot of room where they can continue to improve as a team, but a victory is a victory and you can’t take that away from them this week.
With the San Francisco 49ers up next on the schedule, the Dallas Cowboys may not have a lot of time to enjoy getting the “W” in Week 4. The 49ers are a team that has had the Cowboys number here recently, which makes this Week 5 matchup between both teams all the more interesting. If that wasn’t enough, this also could be a rehearsal game to what could be a battle for the NFC Championship down the road this year.
Before we jump ahead to what is sure to be a slobber-knocker type of game between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers next week, let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from Dallas’ Week 4 victory over the Patriots.
THE GOOD - Defensive turnovers
The Dallas Cowboys defense got back to being the turnover machine they have been the past couple of seasons. The strip sack that was picked up and returned for a touchdown by Leighton Vander Esch and the two interceptions by DaRon Bland, one of which was a pick six, helped the Cowboys get out to an early lead against New England Patriots and they never looked back. With the way the offense has yet to really find their groove through the first four weeks of the season, especially in the red zone, the way Dallas performs on defense could be the difference between success or failure each week.
The Cowboys lead the league heading into the Monday night game with a turnover differential of +9. Obviously the offense is helping out by only turning the ball over once all year (shoutout Tyler Biadasz and Sean McKeon for some hustle fumble recoveries). But the defense now has 10 turnovers to their credit, with seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
THE BAD - Rico Dowdle’s hip injury
Rico Dowdle exited Sunday afternoon’s game against the Patriots with what has now been diagnosed as a bruised hip. It's unknown how much amount of time he will miss, but any time could be a significant blow to Dallas' offense. He has formed a really good one two punch playing behind Tony Pollard this year and just so happens to be their best pass protector as well.
While Deuce Vaughn is a great feel-good story, he isn’t ready to step in as the RB2 if Dowdle is forced to miss some time. The Cowboys could turn to several options, like elevating Malik Davis from the practice squad. or maybe getting Hunter Luepke more involved in the running game. The Cowboys could also go outside of the organization if they had their eye on a free agent or do something via trade if they are worried long-term.
Hopefully none of that will be necessary as Dowdle hasn’t even been ruled out for this week yet.
THE UGLY - Mac Jones’ game
This week's ugly goes to how the Dallas Cowboys secondary made Mac Jones and the New England Patriots receivers look in this Week 4 matchup. In just his second game as an injury fill-in for Trevon Diggs, DaRon Bland enjoyed not just one, but two interceptions off the Patriots QB. And, if Jayron Kearse secured the catch, Dallas would have picked off Mac Jones three times Sunday afternoon.
Jones' poor performance against the Cowboys might have Bill Belichick and the rest of New England's brass second-guessing who their starting QB will be moving forward. In fact, they finally removed Jones from the game and replaced him with Bailey Zappe. It was that ugly.
In Dallas though, it's looking as if No. 26 might just be solution opposite Stephon Gilmore on the outside during Trevon Diggs' absence after all.