In the eyes of many, Sunday was a no-win situation for the Dallas Cowboys.
Either they were going to go on the road and lose to an 0-6 team, dropping their record to 2-4 and possibly ending any semblance of playoff hopes. Or, they were going to beat that 0-6 team, and most of the league wouldn't even blink.
Instead, the Cowboys found a third option on Sunday, beating down the San Francisco 49ers 40-10 in a game that wasn't even that close. Beating them down so bad that the rest of the league has no option but to realize the Cowboys are back on the “contender” list going forward.
And, boy, did they ever need to win a game like that.
Sure the 49ers are a bad football team and if the Cowboys are actually good they should be expected to beat up on them, but a 30 point road win is a 30 point road win. End of story.
The main takeaways from Sunday's win are pretty obvious. Ezekiel Elliott is an elite running back, and has the ability to take over any game once he has the ball. Dak Prescott is already one of the better starting quarterbacks in the league, and can do it both on the ground and through the air. The Cowboys offensive line can be a top-tier unit when clicking. And, lastly, both David Irving and DeMarcus Lawrence are really good, especially when playing with a lead.
Did I cover it all? I think that's pretty much the story of yesterday and of the 2017 Dallas Cowboys.
But as great as yesterday's win was, and don't get me wrong it was fantastic, these next four games is where the Cowboys will make or break their season. With a key divisional match up against the Washington Redskins up next, Dallas has a realistic shot to get back over .500 before running the Kansas City Chiefs/Atlanta Falcons gauntlet.
I hate to call any non-elimination game a “must win,” but next Sunday's game with Washington feels like it very well might be that. The Eagles appear to be here to stay, and either Dallas or Washington suffering a loss next week will be crucial down the stretch. Especially when you consider who the Cowboys have to play to finish off this season.
Today's NFL is more about surviving and advancing each week than it is anything else. Each week we see really weird results and upsets you wouldn't expect. By simply avoiding injury and keeping their heads above water, the Cowboys have given themselves a chance to make a run.
With that being said, we will break down the upcoming game, and recap the win over the 49ers in much more detail here at Inside The Star over the course of the week.
For now, I think it's okay to simply be happy about blowing out a professional football team the way the Cowboys did yesterday.