With a balanced performance from the offense, the Dallas Cowboys earned their first win in almost a full calendar year without quarterback Tony Romo.
Two-hundred and eighty five days.
That’s how long you, as a Dallas Cowboys fan, has had to wait in order to look at the scoreboard and see you beloved team with a bigger number than their opponent.
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However mind-boggling that may seem, the irony is that the same opponent has been responsible for providing the Cowboys with their last two wins.
Despite many, many errors, the Dallas Cowboys were able to win yet another road game against the Washington Redskins.
Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
That two-hundred and eight five day mark extends even longer when you factor in games minus quarterback Tony Romo.
Now, that’s all in the past.
At times it wasn’t pretty. There were a lot of things, which we’ll discuss later, that will need improvement. All that matters though is that it was effective.
In my preview for the game, it was my opinion that the biggest key to bring home a win would be how the Dallas Cowboys ran the ball. I said that Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris would need to get the Cowboys to 150 yards rushing.
While they did not do that, the duo (along with quarterback Dak Prescott) did account for almost 100 yards rushing. They also scored one touchdown each on the ground. More importantly, there was offensive balance, which is in an improvement from the week prior.
The Dallas Cowboys were able to run the ball thirty times and pass the ball thirty times. A perfectly even split. While the yards per carry (3.4) will not blow you away, it was productive enough to help win both time of possession and the game.
Clearly, this offensive line and the running backs behind it are still a work in progress. For all of the talent, it’s semi-disconcerting to realize that the results from Week 1 did not improve.
Maybe teams are crowding the line of scrimmage. It’s possible that Elliott still has not found his groove. Whatever the reason, this team must get a lot better in the run game. 3.4 is unacceptable given what this team is working with.
There is still plenty of time left in the season to fix whatever is ailing the run game though. I would still like to see more run-pass options that allow Prescott to run the ball. Dak’s growth in the passing game will help too. The return of Romo will certainly do so as well.
All in all, as long as the Dallas Cowboys continue to lean on the stable of running backs they have assembled, this offense should continue to succeed.
More Dallas Cowboys observations from Week 2:
Say what you will about this defense but giving up 20 in week one and 23 this week is exactly what you would have asked for to start the season. The Dallas Cowboys are 1-1 because of this defense. They are not 2-0 because of the offense.
In that light, the blown assignments in coverage need to cease immediately. By my count, there were at least four times that Washington had wide open guys running free. Thankfully, quarterback Kirk Cousins overthrew the ball twice or else we would be having a much different discussion.
Whatever the reason, conditioning or otherwise, the playing time carousel at safety needs to change. Byron Jones and Barry Church need to be in on 90% of the plays. If one of them needs a rest, insert Jeff Heath. At no time should J.J. Wilcox enter the fray. Period.
Justin Durant should be your starting middle linebacker Sunday night against the Bears. He was responsible for both a key pass break up and a huge tackle late in the game. Unfortunately, Anthony Hitchens is just not ready for the job.
Last week, the entire congregation of Cowboys Nation begged for receiver Dez Bryant to get more opportunities in the passing game. The wish did not fall upon deaf ears. Twelve targets, resulting in a 100+ yard receiving game is much better. The touchdowns will come once Prescott perfects his touch on the back shoulder fade in the red zone.
Speaking of wishes that came true, we all want for this offense to open up and the play-calling to be less conservative. What we do not want is onside kicks spoiling momentum once we finally gain some. If this game would have had a different result, you could point directly to that decision as the seminal moment of failure.