Heading into Thursday night’s game, the stakes were clear for the Dallas Cowboys.
Lose and your season was completely over. With seven losses in the competitive NFC Wild Card race, the Cowboys would be basically eliminated from contention. Win and you had a slim chance to sneak in, but at the very least, you would make your final four games interesting and important.
Well, the Dallas Cowboys not only won, but they dominated from start to finish. Upfront they controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage, getting to Kirk Cousins on one end and punishing the Washington front seven on the other.
Personnel adjustments on defense worked perfectly, as Kavon Frazier and Chidobe Awuzie made an immediate impact during their first extended game action. Jaylon Smith continued to improve, looking healthier and more instinctual by the week.
Offensively, everything started to come together for the first time without Ezekiel Elliott. The offensive line was dominant, Dez Bryant made plays throughout the night, and Alfred Morris ran like it was 2012 again.
With all that being said, the only way this team stays afloat in the playoff race is if they can get consistent quarterback play. Of course, the quarterback position is the most important in football. And regardless of how well the other parts are functioning, it will be hard to beat good teams without solid quarterback play.
Through three games and one quarter without Elliott, it was starting to look like the Cowboys might not get that play from quarterback Dak Prescott. As multiple others have stated, he looked nervous, or like he had “the yips.” He was sailing balls, forgetting or forgoing all technique, and looked uncomfortable even in clean pockets.
But after running for the Cowboys first 1st down of the game, Prescott finally settled in. With the running game forcing Washington to respect Alfred Morris, Prescott made a few high-level throws throughout the game. Including a beautiful ball to Jason Witten for the team’s first touchdown.
While the final stat line wasn’t pretty, Prescott finally looked right on Thursday night. And now with two straight games against sub .500 teams ahead of him, it might be possible for Prescott to get even more comfortable, and run off some victories for the Cowboys.
If Dallas is going to have any shot at making the playoffs, they have to be 8-6 when Ezekiel Elliott returns. The good news is, this team finally looks to have found themselves since Elliott’s absence.
Hopefully, it won’t be too late.