The Dallas Cowboys, our Cowboys, were indeed victorious on Sunday in San Francisco... outlasting the 49ers 24-17. This is a huge win as it moves Dallas to 3-1 on the 2016 season, a mark the Cowboys haven't reached since 2014 when they had a great amount of success.
There's a lot to be taken from this game, and that's what we're here to do. Here are my 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Big Win In San Francisco.
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Jason Garrett Is Doing An Incredible Job
The Cowboys are 3-1. They have played all four of those games without Tony Romo and DeMarcus Lawrence. They have played two of them without Tyron Smith and Orlando Scandrick. They have played one and a half-ish of them without Dez Bryant and La'el Collins. To reiterate... The Cowboys are 3-1.
The Cowboys Coaching Staff deserves an enormous amount of credit for handling these uncontrollable variables that have stacked themselves on top of one another. Bravo, Coach Garrett. Bravo.
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Ezekiel Elliott Eats Yards, Not Food
In today's NFL you're expected to contribute immediately, particularly at the sexy positions like quarterback, running back, and all that jazz. When you're taken as high as #4 Overall like Ezekiel Elliott was... that expectation is exponentially higher.
Remember that young Zeke is 21 years old. Now think about the 138 yards that he accumulated on the ground in San Francisco. Or think about how he, with 412 through four games, is currently the NFL's leading rusher. 21. Years. Old. Insane.
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Morris Claiborne Is Starting To Reach His Potential
The Cowboys best cornerback for the last two years has inarguably been Morris Claiborne. Even with the return of Orlando Scandrick this season (which hasn't exactly gone swimmingly), Mo is el numero uno.
DBs w/ lowest burn % Claiborne 38% Trufant 38 Bradberry 41 J.McCourty 41 Nelson 41 C.Harris 44 Newman 44 Norman 47 Sean Smith 47 Porter 48
There's no denying that Mo's interception in San Fran saved the game (and Brice Butler, but we'll get to that soon), but it honestly didn't improve his impressive game much. It was a poorly thrown pass that Mo capitalized on. Where Mo dominated the game was on every other play, effectively eliminating Torrey Smith (1 catch for 3 yards). He is our shutdown corner. He is starting to arrive. It's a beautiful thing.
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Dak Prescott Is Indeed For Real
Name something that you have done a hundred times without making a mistake. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Dak Prescott has thrown 131 passes (his first 131 as a professional quarterback) in the NFL and has seen not a single one of them land in the hands of the opposing team - that's an NFL record for most attempts by a rookie to start their career.
Dak Prescott hasn't necessarily been a fantasy football superstar, but through four games he's been marvelous. The word that keeps coming to mind, because it makes the most sense, is poise. Dak has been so incredibly poised. When his team went down 14, on the road, he didn't blink and did the work to get the job done. The future is in good hands.
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We Can Predict When Alfred Morris Will Be Used
Al Michaels said during Week 3's Sunday Night Football contest against the Bears that the Cowboys wanted to do what they could in order to keep Zeke somewhat fresh and energized throughout the game. The days of a true "bellcow" running back in the NFL feel like a distant memory.
Michaels said that the Cowboys want to substitute Alfred Morris in every third series for Zeke to catch some time on ice. Like clockwork, we saw Alfred Morris come in on the third series. It is an incredible luxury to have two starting-caliber running backs in the NFL, and using them in this fashion has resulted in a 3-1 record so we need to roll with it for now, and keep an eye out for it.
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Brice Butler Made A Horrible Mental Mistake
With about 12 minutes left in the game, and the Cowboys hanging on to a 21-17 lead, Dak Prescott hit Brice Butler for a 9-yard gain on 1st and 10. Awesome, right? The Cowboys were looking to drive to score and milk some time off the clock. Getting off to that kind of start would undoubtedly aid in that regard... and then Brice Butler had a horrible lapse in judgment.
Butler, who is from the Bay Area, was really feeling it this game. He caught his first touchdown as a Cowboy in the first half and indisputably got the most work he's had since donning the iconic Star on his helmet. He let those emotions get the best of him and got caught for taunting a 49er... and suddenly 2nd and 1 became 2nd and 16.
Great win!!!! Almost cost it with a bad penalty and endzone drop.... learn from it and move on.... let's go!!
The Cowboys were unable to get a first down and gave the ball back to San Francisco (which Gabbert kindly gave back to Morris Claiborne). These are the mistakes that will lose you games. Be better, Brice. We believe in you.
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Dan Bailey's Health Is Critical To This Team
Shortly before kickoff word trickled out that Dan Bailey, 2015's most potent offensive weapon, was dealing with a back issue. Spaghetti-O's.
This "issue" flared up very painfully as the Cowboys' first offensive drive stalled and left Dan Bailey staring at a 47-yard field goal opportunity. This is normally money for Bailey, but he was very obviously hindered and it showed as he pushed the ball left.
Dan would make a 22-yarder later in the game that pushed the lead to seven, but this is very very very important for the Cowboys. I've said many a time that we almost take Bailey's clutch gene for granted and just assume that his excellence is common. Feel better, Danny boy.
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JJ Wilcox Isn't So Bad So Far This Season
Perhaps the most picked on Dallas Cowboy, JJ Wilcox, isn't the worst player on the current 53-Man Roster. Weird, isn't it?
Wilcox makes a living out of laying the wood on opposing ball-carriers, and every once in a while it results in a big play for the Cowboys. In Sunday's win, JJ made a great play in coverage that forced a 49ers punt late in the game. Whaaaaaat?!
Coverage? JJ Wilcox? Seriously? Yes, it really happened. We're all equally flabbergasted, but we should be grateful. Wilcox has been the butt of many jokes for a few seasons now, and if he's playing at this level the Cowboys can really start cooking with gas.
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Terrance Williams Is Very Valuable Depth
While we're on the subject of players we pick on... Terrance Williams, ladies and gentlemen!
T-Will failed to get out of bounds late in the first half and we were all stunned. I mean... again? For real? IT'S NOT A COMPLICATED CONCEPT WE ALL CAN DO IT IN MADDEN.
Nevertheless, Terrance had himself a nice game overall. 4 catches, 44 yards, and a touchdown were very much-needed in San Francisco... especially in the absence of Dez Bryant. Cowboys Nation has been quick on the trigger to cut or trade Terrance, but consider the facts here. He's a fourth-year receiver who provides a serious amount of depth, and he proved that on Sunday. Epic.
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These Three Wins Will Matter So Much In December
I'm an admitted Taylor Swift fan, so let me take you back to December for a second. The Cowboys were, with only FOUR wins, miraculously still in the hunt for the NFC East late in 2015. It's amazing when you really think about it.
Imagine if at that time we had one or two more of these easy wins under our belt. Things could have been a whole hell of a lot different... despite the Trio of Excellence that was Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore.
Now I won't lie to you, the NFC East is far improved this year. Four wins likely isn't going to have you in contention in December, but these wins are so important. In the NFL you have to win the winnable games and stack them together. The Cowboys, and every NFL team, will lose games they should win. It will happen. Accept it now.
What makes those losses matter less is stacking up these easy wins. This is how you build a division-winning, and potentially more, type of season. You get wins however you have to. These past three weeks will be enormous when push comes to shove, and thankfully we'll be the ones doing the pushing and shoving.
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka
The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.
He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.
The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc
This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.
However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.
Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.
We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
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