I wouldn’t be surprised if the Indianapolis Colts tried to file assault charges against the Dallas Cowboys after the 54-19 beatdown on Sunday night. After a somewhat sloppy, and weird first half, the Cowboys managed to put up a whopping 33 points in the fourth quarter alone to improve to 9-3 on the season.
What we learned
The Dallas Cowboys do not seem to play that well coming off of rest, and still have the tendency to play down to the level of their opponent. I alluded to this over the weekend about how the Cowboys could not allow this to become a trap game for them, and throughout the first half of the game, it sure seemed like the Cowboys were falling victim to their own mistakes.
QB Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense (outside of CeeDee Lamb) did not look sharp in the first half, sputtering their way through with self-inflicted wounds, inaccurate throws, and an unfortunate interception in the second quarter. Think back to the game against the Green Bay Packers – the Cowboys were coming off a bye, they were healthy, and fell short to a depleted team that had been playing bad football. The Cowboys had ten days of rest for this game against the Colts and still came out flat. This leads me to believe this team struggles with extra rest. The Cowboys had plenty of opportunities to extend their lead against the Colts earlier in the game, but kept tripping over their own feet.
The Cowboys quickly regained their balance though. Because if you found yourself praying during halftime that things would improve – then it worked. Things escalated rather quickly for OC Kellen Moore’s group, as the Cowboys’ offense ended up scoring seven offensive touchdowns.
It remains true that when the Cowboys’ offense has questions, the defense comes through with the answers. The Cowboys’ defense is truly a terrifying unit, and they have consistently wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks all year long. Former Indianapolis Colt, Malik Hooker kicked off the takeaway party for the Dallas defense with a fumble recovery (and an interception later on) that catapulted this team to the 33 unanswered points they put up in the fourth quarter.
Malik Hooker vs. his former team:
First career TD
Cowboys up 34-19 with 13:28 to playpic.twitter.com/7b99dKBAav
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) December 5, 2022
What we know
There has been one recurring theme for the Cowboys since Mike McCarthy’s tenure as head coach. The Cowboys cannot seem to remain consistent through all four quarters of a game, and this has to be an area of focus going into the playoffs. Dallas will be tested by teams who can score quickly and score early. The Cowboys cannot wait until the second half to come alive. However, it does seem as if the Cowboys are aware of this. Dallas has improved in their halftime adjustments, which is something we aren’t accustomed to seeing over the years. Two weeks in a row, the Cowboys have gone into halftime scrapping with their opponent, and then come out in the second half looking like a completely different team.
Whatever the Cowboys did at halftime, it worked. It took the Cowboys 12 minutes and 34 seconds to put up 33 unanswered points and ultimately put the Colts into the stable. If Dallas can execute successfully earlier on in the game, rather than waiting for halftime to make adjustments, then there might not be a team in the NFL that can compete with the Cowboys.
You can look at this victory for the Cowboys and tell yourself they were supposed to blow the doors off this bad team, or you can look at the bigger picture. Any team can beat any team on any given Sunday in the NFL. In fact, the Indianapolis Colts beat the Kansas City Chiefs in week 3 and were one field goal away from beating the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago. No win in the NFL is a given.
The Dallas Cowboys overcame their early struggles of playing sloppy, disorganized football for three quarters and still beat an NFL team by putting up 54 points. I’ll take that kind of win any day.
After embarrassing the Minnesota Vikings just two weeks ago in a 40-3 win and now saddling the Colts in a 54-19 victory, the entire NFC needs to be cautious of the Cowboys come January. This team is for real, and they are only getting better.
"This is a special team."
Is it starting to feel like “the year” yet?