Jason Garrett's Cowboys are the best team in the NFC, cementing that title further Sunday night with an overtime win against the rival Eagles. It may not have been pretty, but an emotional win like this one doesn't always have to be.
"It’s a great team win. One of the best team wins I’ve ever been around." - Jason Garrett, addressing his team after the game.
Garrett's squad was anything but perfect coming off of their bye week, as rookie QB Dak Prescott went through some rookie struggles in the first half before leading a game-tying 90 yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
Dak then followed this up with a winning drive in overtime, which was kept alive after a fourth and one conversion via the QB sneak. Prior to that play, Garrett can be seen on his headset confident in the decision to go win this game with a touchdown.
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Jason Witten, who Garrett also praises highly as his ideal role-model for what a Cowboys player should be, capped off this drive with his first touchdown of the season - an amazing ending to a record-breaking game for the tight end.
With his start in this game, Witten broke the franchise record for consecutive starts in the star, helping him earn a well-deserved game ball.
DallasCowboys "Formula For Winning" behind @JasonWitten read: 1. Win The Ball 2. Win The Big Plays 3. Win The 4th Quarter Done deal.
Behind Witten during his locker room speech were three steps of a "Formula for Winning", all of which were exemplified in this Sunday Night Football victory.
1. Win The Ball
The Cowboys won the ball both in the trenches and in the timely turnover battle, as this offensive line made every play when it mattered to march this offense down the field. On the defensive line, Terrell McClain shot through the gap to force a fumble on Wendell Smallwood early in the fourth quarter, staging Dallas' comeback.
Dak Prescott did throw one interception in the end zone to Jordan Hicks, which evened the game's turnovers at one, but he more than made up for this mistake with his second half theatrics.
The only ball that mattered in the end was the one that Dak Prescott lobbed to Jason Witten for the win - and not an Eagle was in sight to stop that magic from happening.
2. Win The Big Plays
When it came to big plays, the Eagles turned to RB Darren Sproles to give them a spark, and he consistently turned in impressive runs. However, Sproles longest dash was for 19 yards, which was longer than any completion from Carson Wentz.
On 4.7 yards per attempt, Wentz could not dink-and-dunk his way to a road win against Rod Marinelli's defense.
Meanwhile, Garrett's Cowboys made a plethora of big plays on offense and special teams in the second half, including a fake punt dialed up by Dallas in the third quarter to pump some energy into the building - as Chris Jones turned the corner for 30 yards to set up a Bailey field goal.
On the game-tying drive in the fourth, there was Cole Beasley emerging for his first receptions, on gains of 12 and then 10 yards to move the chains each time.
Elliott, Prescott, and Beasley, and Witten all plugged into this winning formula in overtime, and the Cowboys winning streak survived.
3. Win The Fourth Quarter
I already touched on how the Cowboys turned this game around in the fourth quarter to finish the fight, but the Cowboys defense really stepped up in these critical 15 minutes. Philadelphia managed just 52 fourth quarter yards, punting three times and having Wentz sacked twice.
We all wanted this Cowboys defense to prove to a national audience that their bend-but-don't-break style was effective enough to get the job done, and thanks to the likes of a dominant Sean Lee, and an inspired DeMarcus Lawrence, they did just that.
This was a win that everyone around America's Team will remember for some time. From the fans that sat through what was looking like a disappointing end to a winning streak, only to see a thrilling win, all the way up to Jerry Jones - who announced that rookie Dak Prescott will start again this week right after the game.
Right in the middle of all of it is Jason Garrett. This is his football team, and they are winning in every way possible right now.
How 'bout them Cowboys!?
Want to chat about the Cowboys win? Use the comment section below to start the conversation, or email me anytime at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com!
#ATLvsDAL: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction
This week's gambling preview focuses on the Cowboys week 11 opponent, the Atlanta Falcons. Dallas beat the now 4-5 Eagles last Sunday to improve their own record to 4-5. Atlanta lost on the road to Cleveland last week to drop their record to 4-5 on the season.
It's an 8-8 league, isn't it?
Dallas returns to the scene of the 2017 crime this Sunday, traveling to Atlanta where Chaz Green and Dak Prescott were destroyed almost exactly one year ago. Let's take a look at the line and the quality of these teams to see which way it could go.
Cowboys +3, O/U 48 points.
Dallas saved their season on the road last Sunday night, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles and getting right back in the thick of things in the NFC East race. Still, we can't simply ignore what the other 8 games of data have told us about the Cowboys and their offensive quality.
The addition of Amari Cooper has clearly helped the offense, opening up the passing game a bit and allowing for Dak Prescott to have a reliable "number one" receiver. The team's results overall have been mixed the first two games of the Cooper-era, but he has been consistently good in both match-ups.
Defensively the Cowboys continued to impress last week, though "cornerback opposite of Byron Jones" is quickly becoming a potential need. Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith stole the show last Sunday, and both the present and the future of the Cowboys' linebacking corps is strong. It could be argued the Cowboys have yet to see a passing attack like the one Atlanta brings, however, making Sunday a big test for them defensively.
Similar to the Cowboys, Atlanta has been very much up-and-down this season. In a way, though, they are just the opposite-day Cowboys, with their offense putting up insane numbers most weeks and their banged up defense often letting them down.
Though it looked like they were turning it around in recent weeks, Atlanta had probably their most disappointing loss in quite some time, losing at Cleveland to the young Browns. Still, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones lead a prolific passing attack which can strike fear in any defense.
Byron Jones and company will have their hands full with the Falcons' cast of skill players on Sunday, and as usual, stopping their passing attack will all begin up front with the pass rush. Hopefully Randy Gregory can build on his week 10 performance to produce even more results this week.
- Surprisingly, the score total has now hit the over 4 of the Cowboys' last 6 games.
- The Cowboys are 2-5 against the spread their last 7 games against the Falcons.
- The Cowboys are also 2-4 against the spread their last games at Atlanta.
- Dallas is just 1-4 straight up on the road this season.
- The score total has gone over 4 of Atlanta's last 5 home games.
- The Falcons are just 2-5 against the spread their last 7 games.
Who the hell knows, man.
This team is incredibly difficult to project week to week, probably about as volatile as they've been since all those 8-8 seasons. This line started at Cowboys +4.5 and has since moved down to just +3, meaning they are valued as a pick 'em on a neutral field.
Given how inconsistent, yet talented, both teams are this line feels exactly right. I'll take the Cowboys and the points because why not? I expect this to be a tight game throughout, and could come down to the kicking game in the fourth quarter.
X-Factor: Xavier Su’a-Filo Excellent in Cowboys Win over Eagles
Heading into this week's game against the Philadelphia Eagles the Dallas Cowboys were down starting Left Guard Connor Williams as well as starting Center Travis Frederick. Getting his first start for the Dallas Cowboys since being signed off the street during the season as guard depth was Xavier Su'a Filo and he played excellent.
Filling in against a front seven as good as the Eagles is a pretty difficult ask, but Su'a-Filo had 31 games in the previous two seasons with the Houston Texans, so he's not your typical interior backup.
In particular, Xavier did a great job of getting to the second level quickly and sealing off the linebacker, which allowed Ezekiel Elliott to spring for several big gains on the day.
Here on Ezekiel Elliott's big run, you can see Su'a-Filo and Left Tackle Tyron Smith start a combo block on the three-technique defensive tackle. After the initial engagement, Su'a-Filo comes off his block quickly and gets to the linebacker and prevents him from filling the hole and doubling back to cut Elliott off and Elliott runs for 32 yards down the middle of the field.
Again, we see Tyron and Xavier work a combo block before Su'a-Filo comes off his block to engage the linebacker and prevent him from getting back to Elliott after hits the hole to the left side.
This time Xavier Su'a-Filo works with Joe Looney to prevent the one-technique defensive tackle from slanting down the line and disrupting the point of attack. Su'a-Filo then quickly releases to linebacker and seals him to the outside and creates a big hole for Elliott to run through for yet another big gain.
This is another big gain for Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys offense that seemed to be able to run right at the heart of the Philadelphia Eagles defense all night. This time Su'a-Filo stumbles off the snap but is able to regain his balance and neutralize the middle linebacker yet again allowing Elliott to get to the second level quickly and get the Dallas Cowboys into field goal range late in the game.
Su'a-Filo is matched up against one of the première defensive tackles in Fletcher Cox. Cox looks to get leverage on Xavier but is unable to fully get to Dak Prescott as he steps up into the pocket. The offensive tackles didn't expect Dak to step up into the pocket and were unable to hold up the Philadelphia Eagles defensive ends and Prescott is sacked. Su'a-Filo, though isn't completely walked back and Dak has a lane to step into in the pocket. Obviously it's not a perfect play for the Cowboys, but Su'a-Filo eventually tosses Fletcher Cox to the ground. That kind of play strength has been missing from rookie Connor Williams.
In pass protection, Xavier held up well. Cox attempts to use power to knock him off-balance, but Su'a-Filo holds up to the power and Dak Prescott finds Allen Hurns for a big gain down to the one yard line setting up Dak Prescott's rushing touchdown.
The Cowboys run game has had a difficult time getting going for much of the season. Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys offensive line played their best game of the season. It looked like the dominant run game we've grown accustomed to. Pro Football Focus attributed to hurries to Su'a-Filo on the night, but zero quarterback hits and zero sacks. Running to the left, Elliott ran for 113 yards at a clip of 8.61 yards per carry including three carries for more than 10 yards and Su'a-Filo was a big part of that.
Xavier did a nice job stepping in for starter Connor Williams and had a nice day both in pass protection and in the run game helping to give strength and athleticism at the point of attack. His ability to get to the next level helped spring Elliott for several big runs on the night, which was a huge key to the football game. Coming into the week 10, the Philadelphia Eagles had allowed the second fewest rushing yards in the NFL.
Takeaway Tuesday: Amari Cooper Proving to be Worth It
Just when all hope was lost, the Dallas Cowboys went on the road and surprised fans with a 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Both on defense and offense, it was a game that showed us plenty of silver linings to be excited about. While a playoff run certainly remains pretty difficult to accomplish, at least the team isn't leaving without a fight.
The last Cowboys' victory came approximately a month ago, so it is with great pleasure that I share with you this week's edition of "Takeaway Tuesday!"
Vander Esch Among Best Cowboys' Players
Just before last game, I wrote about how Leighton Vander Esch could be in contention for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Playing on Sunday Night Football (on national TV), the rookie helped his case a lot with 13 solo tackles and an interception.
Little by little, he's making sure the Cowboys know they can move on from frequently injured Sean Lee down the road. Vander Esch can play. Forget about him being an impressive rookie, he's currently one of the best players on this roster.
Scott Linehan Shouldn't be Off the Hook
As any Cowboys fan, I loved the win. There were quite a few things to like about the offense on Sunday, but there's no denying play calling could've been way better. As much as the Dallas Cowboys are still in the hunt in a mediocre division, Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan should remain on the hot seat.
Ezekiel Elliott took the Cowboys to the 5-yard line by leaping over a human at full speed and right after the Cowboys stopped using him on that drive. Against the Titans, the offense found itself on third and 16 twice and ran a running back screen pass. In Philadelphia, they were on third and 16 once and they ran a RB screen once again.
Dallas has left a lot of points on the field this year and in big part thanks to play calling. Linehan shouldn't be safe right now.
Amari Cooper Proving to be Worth It
After two games wearing the Star, Cowboys Nation is feeling a lot better about trading a first rounder for Amari Cooper. On the field, he's proven to be an impact player. An impact that has been felt immediately, by the way. Out of 11 catches, Cooper has gotten the Cowboys' offense ten first downs.
Versus the Eagles, though, his impact is felt beyond his single stat line.
On Sunday Night, he accounted for six catches and 75 yards. He helped QB Dak Prescott get 270 yards through the air and most importantly, to spread the football.
7 different Cowboys have a reception of at least 13 yards tonight.
That stat above is an underrated one. No wide receiver in next year's Draft would have the kind of impact Amari Cooper is having on this football team. In the long run, lots of people could be eating their words after heavily criticizing the Cowboys' trade for the two-times Pro Bowler wide receiver. Hopefully, that's the case.
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