The Dallas Cowboys went into last week’s bye with a 2-3 record and questions about what kind of team they really are this year. While the 49ers are about as suspect as an opponent can be, Dallas did everything they could to remind people that they’re still a contender with a 40-10 assault in San Francisco.
While many Cowboys had nice days, the game belonged to running back Ezekiel Elliott. He had a season-high 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground, plus a 72-yard touchdown on a screen pass. The 219 total yards was a career high for Zeke, whose previous high was 209 total yards last year against the Steelers.
Elliott’s dominance started right out of the gates, scoring Dallas’ first two touchdowns and running for 59 yards in the first quarter alone. He looked a little sharper and more explosive than any point this year. Whether that was due to the 49ers, the bye week rest, or the good news about his legal issues is hard to say. The Cowboys certainly don’t care, but are just happy to see Elliott look like a superstar again.
The win improves Dallas to 3-3 on the season and keeps them within striking distance of Philadelphia in the NFC East. The 5-1 Eagles will host 3-2 Washington on Monday Night Football tomorrow, leaving Cowboys fans in the unfortunate position of having to root for Washington as the lesser of evils.
- Dak Prescott was nearly as impressive as Elliott today, throwing for 234 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for another score. He completed 64% of his passes and had no turnovers. While Zeke made the noise in the game, Dak quietly made his fantasy owners delighted.
- The limited reception opportunities went to Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, who head had a touchdown and were the only Cowboys to have more than one catch on the day. They combined for 11 of the team’s 17 total catches.
- There was some news coming into the game as rookie QB Cooper Rush was moved up to 2nd on the depth chart, which proved fortuitous as the big win gave him the opportunity to play late in the game. Rush only attempted two passes and completed one of them for just two yards to Ryan Switzer. It will be interesting to see if Rush remains the backup next week in Washington, or if Dallas only activated him today because they anticipated getting him some playing time against a weak team.
- Speaking of rookie QBs, the 49ers gave C.J. Beathard his first start today and it certainly helped the Cowboys’ cause. While he did throw for 235 yards, Beathard was sacked fives times and lost two fumbles while barely completing half of his throws. Brian Hoyer may not have done much better, but the rookie certainly couldn’t get it going today.
- Those five sacks each had a different owner; DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Tyrone Crawford, Damien Wilson, and Jaylon Smith. Lawrence now has nine sacks for the year, but was passed on the NFL leaderboard today by veteran Calais Campbell from Jacksonville, who now has 10 for the season.
- In what would have been a much bigger deal in a close game, kicker Dan Bailey went out with a groin injury. Surprisingly, safety Jeff Heath took over on kickoffs and extra points. Heath went 2-of-3 on the XP attempts, with one of the makes barely making it in after banging off the goal post. Let’s hope Bailey is okay and we never ever ever ever see Heath in this role again.
- The 30-point win is the Cowboys’ highest margin of victory since a 42-7 rout of the Colts back in 2014.