Despite Cowboys Nation being a somewhat frustrated bunch at halftime, the Dallas Cowboys did end up defeating the now 0-3 Miami Dolphins 31-6 on Sunday. Dallas improved to 3-0 on the season, and did so with yet another dominant second half against a much lesser opponent.
With the win and a Philadelphia Eagles loss, the Cowboys moved to 2 whole games ahead of the rest of the NFC East through just three weeks. Things should get tougher next week as the Cowboys travel to New Orleans to face the 2-1 Saints, but let’s enjoy this win for the time being.
Here are my game notes from the Cowboys blowout home victory.
- For the third straight week, we have to start with quarterback Dak Prescott. Dak was a bit over aggressive early on, even stating himself that his interception was the result of a “heat check” down the field. Still, I love to see him move in and out of the pocket and push the ball down the field. He was once known for “Dak and dunk” football, and now he has this offense looking like the one in Kansas City. Prescott finished the game with 246 yards passing, 2 passing touchdowns, and another rushing touchdown as well. He was fantastic yet again.
- Dallas has been throwing to win games, but that didn’t stop both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard from going over 100 yards rushing on Sunday. For the second straight week Zeke hit 100+ yards with ease. Because of the shifts, formations, and spacing being used by the offense Elliott has been able to find more space on the ground, and he’s been getting positive yards on just about every run. His vision, patience, and contact balance are all elite. He was great against the Dolphins this week. Pollard also had his best game as a pro thus far, and would’ve had even better numbers if not for some untimely holding calls.
- The Cowboys offense seemed to miss Michael Gallup early on in the game, as Prescott couldn’t find a target besides Amari Cooper on the outside. In the second half, however, that changed quickly. Both Randall Cobb and Devin Smith stepped up for some timely receptions on scoring drives, as did tight end Jason Witten. Still, we know Cooper is the star of this show, and his 88 yards and 2 touchdowns proved that once again. When the Cowboys face better defenses, though, they’ll need Gallup back.
- I can’t write about the success of this offense without talking about the offensive line. La’el Collins is playing, by far, the best football of his career. Zack Martin and Tyron Smith have been as good as ever, and Travis Frederick is working his way back to full form. Even Connor Williams, who has been much maligned by Cowboys fans in the past, had a nice day on Sunday. There’s room for improvement with Williams of course, but he’s produced more good than bad this year for sure.
- After a quiet first half the Cowboys defensive line got after it in the third quarter. DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, Kerry Hyder, and Maliek Collins all had their hands in sacks on the day. Quinn in particular deserves a shoutout, as he was disruptive the entire afternoon. His explosion off the ball and bend around the arc are eye-popping at times.
- Neither Jaylon Smith nor Leighton Vander Esch has played as well as we know they can thus far, and yet this defense still allowed just 6 points on Sunday. Smith started the game off really slow this week, particularly missing a couple of tackles in space. He then finished with 10 tackles and a forced fumble, though, so safe to say he made up for some of those struggles.
- Miami picked on cornerback Chidobe Awuzie on Sunday. While they avoided Byron Jones‘ side of the field at all costs, Preston Williams and DeVante Parker each had their way with Awuzie at different moments. Though he’s almost always in-phase, Awuzie has to be better when the ball is in the air against these bigger wide outs. It feels like we’ve been saying this for over a year, unfortunately.
- I haven’t watched the all 22 yet, but from the broadcast angle Darian Thompson seemed to have a decent game filling in for Xavier Woods. He had a great play on the goal line to force Miami into a field goal, as he came up and stuffed their rushing attempt as Trysten Hill got trapped. There’s a drop-off from Woods to every other safety on this roster, of course, but Thompson seemed to do okay. Next week will be a much bigger test.