Oh how things can change quickly in the NFL.
The now 3-7 Cowboys defeated the previously streaking Vikings on Sunday, behind a game winning drive led by Andy Dalton. The Cowboys offense looked to finally find its footing for the first time since Dak Prescott's injury, running the ball all over Minnesota while utilizing their passing game weapons on high leverage downs.
That is how this thing was supposed to look all year. Right?
Somehow someway the Cowboys are back in the thick of things in the NFC East, and can actually take over first place in the win column by defeating Washington on Thursday. Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore schemed up an excellent plan for Minnesota, but the biggest change might've come when the team returned from their bye week on Monday.
That, was the move to make Zack Martin the team's starting right tackle.
Martin told DallasCowboys.com that while the move seemed like a late shocking decision to fans, he had actually been preparing for it all week.
“Monday, when we came back from the bye week, they told me they were going to make a switch…So I knew this whole week of preparation” – Zack Martin.
The former college All American left tackle made his first start of his NFL career on the outside Sunday, filling in for the struggling Terence Steele. And while he's put together a Hall of Fame resume at guard, Martin looked right at home at tackle as well.
Maybe the highlight of the day came when Tony Pollard busted through the right side for a 42 yard touchdown run, the longest of the season for any Cowboys runner. But what drew my attention immediately, was how Zack Martin and Dalton Schultz worked their combo block to the second level and opened up the gaping hole for Pollard.
There are a lot of good feelings around Cowboys Nation following Sunday's win. All of a sudden this looks like a competent, well coached football team. We had thought it could take a few weeks for this team to respond to the new staff, and after some roster moves we may finally have reached that point.
It's not crazy to think the Cowboys could beat some similarly struggling teams down the stretch, backing into the postseason with a division title. And if they do so, the move to make Martin the starting tackle over Steele will be a defining moment in the late season run.