Denver seriously punished Cowboys in that 42-17 Week 2 game, but the team from Dallas did not fall. They talked about disastrous match at Mile High, took responsibility, and then went out on the field and show what they can do against Arizona Cardinals in Monday night duel.
This 28-17 Cowboys win was definitely a team effort. They had a slow start, but then defense stepped up allowing Dak, Zeke, and Dez to get few plays which they exploited quite nicely.
There have been five quite important things related to this Monday night game, and here they are:
1.) Anthem protest
National anthem protest is all over the news these days especially after President of the U.S. Donald Trump commented and criticized players who are protesting by kneeling or sitting during it. NFL needed to show their strength and unity and what Cowboys and Jerry Jones did was a pretty great display of this. Players, staff, Jones family, all of them, linked arms and knelt for a moment before the anthem. This caused boos from the fans in the stadium. We could see them standing and with arms linked for the anthem. On the other hand, the Cards showed unity by standing with arms locked. Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, commended this in his tweet where he praised the unity that was displayed.
2.) There is a way to beat Cowboys, and it worked for a while
Just like Broncos, Cardinals dominated Cowboys keeping the ball for more than 13 minutes in the first quarter and getting a 7-0 lead. Carson Palmer managed to hit few targets, and it was a surprise that they didn’t get the even bigger lead. All this was happening while praised offense of the Dallas team didn’t manage to make good consecutive plays to gain more yards. They were pretty bad, and that powerful offensive line allowed one sack of their quarterback Dak Prescott. Four-time Pro Bowl player Tyron Smith that is playing left tackle allowed defender go past him.
The offense had problems, but fortunately for Cowboys, the defensive part of the squad stepped up and had three stops in the first half, and even one missed field goal attempt from a pretty much perfect position for a kicker. All these opportunities for the Dallas team were provided with great plays of defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, safety Byron Jones and other players that showed that they could stop opponents. Dak went to the field, and in the end, he scored the first rushing touchdown in 2017. This gave the reset they needed, and the halftime came.
3.) Zeke, Dak, and Dez are back after that Week 2 horror
In the first few tries Elliott didn’t have much success, but later on, he started splitting that defense and ran for 30-yard gain we saw in the second quarter. More cracks were found by this guy in the third quarter, and he managed to add another 20-yard gain. The first scoring came in the fourth quarter when he rushed for eight yards. Finally, we saw that great cooperation of the offensive line and star running back. Zeke finished the game with 22 carries and managed to gain 80 yards which is much better than what he showed in Week 2 when he had eight yards on nine carries. This was also a way for him to redeem himself for those poor reactions after two interceptions against Broncos.
Patric Peterson, Pro Bowl cornerback, managed to lock Dez Bryant that had only one catch in the first half for a loss of three yards but we need to add that Cowboys had only a limited number of plays in that period. The third quarter was the time when we saw the fantastic move by this player. Prescott sent a short pass to him after which he tricked few guys and went to proceed to the goal line with few of them on his back. Even this was an incredible move he ended the game with just two catches and total of 12 yards.
Compared to Week 2, Dak was significantly better. First, he rushed for that touchdown giving hope to Cowboys and later on he made few great passes while he was on the run since that offensive lines had few cracks. He was able to find Terrance Williams while he was on the run in the third quarter. Later on, in the fourth quarter, he was on the run again and found Brice Butler for a 37-yard score which turned the result to 21-14 in favor of Dallas. Butler had two catches for 90 yards while Prescott completed 13 of 17 passes for 183 yards and added two TD passes and one rushing TD to his stats.
4.) Hit by Tank
We know how horrible was Cowboys pass rushing, but with the return of DeMarcus Tank Lawrence, it seems that they are getting more at this position. After few injuries and suspension, this guy is hungry, and he is hitting opponents from all sides. We could see him as he sacked Carson Palmer three times, incredible. Total of six sacks on Palmer by the team and three of those were done by Tank. He managed to push his figures to 6.5 sacks this season and just to remind you, he had career-high eight sacks in 2015.
5.) Many factors and where is this team going.
Dallas Cowboys team managed to win Week 3 game, and they sure did show that they are back. One thing that many are worried about is the second slow start of the season, but fortunately, they managed to come back. We remember how much Dak targeted Cole Beasley in 2016, this time around he had just one catch for four yards. The team used Ryan Switzer a lot more on the offense and rookie did a good job. The defensive side of the ball has been further improved, and hopefully, they will continue in that direction. We still saw that they had problems with an experienced receiver like Larry Fitzgerald. The secondary position with two rookies Jourdan Lewis and Xavier Woods was a lot better cowered this time.