The Dallas Cowboys are the best team in the NFL
With yet another road win, in a hostile environment, against a quality opponent, the Dallas Cowboys have earned the right to be called the best in the NFL.
The Dallas Cowboys can fairly claim to have a lot of “bests.”
They employ the league’s best running back in Ezekiel Elliott. They have the best offensive line in football. Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers became the best as far as television ratings are measured.
Most importantly, however, the Dallas Cowboys can claim to be the best team in the NFL through ten weeks.
After another thrilling win on the road, the Cowboys sit atop the division, conference and league with a record of 8-1. They share the best road record in the NFL as well, which will come in handy given the makeup of their schedule.
Two of the Cowboys final three road games are against divisional foes. The Giants, (4-1 at home), as well as the Eagles (4-0) will pose a serious challenge to the throne. Games like Sunday’s against a very good Steelers team help get Dallas ready for such situations.
Early on, it appeared that this was finally going to be the game that the Cowboys would lose. A turnover on their opening drive, followed by two straight touchdown drives from Pittsburgh put Dallas in a hole.
Down 12-3 however, as the first quarter was winding down and the Cowboys faced a 2nd and 18, it was Elliott who got this team back on track. On a screen pass, Elliott got into space and did what he does best. After guard Zack Martin and center Travis Frederick nailed their blocks, Zeke did the rest. Eighty-three yards later, the Cowboys were back in the ball game.
From that point on, this offense was ready for the challenge of going toe-to-toe with one of the league’s best. After a Dan Bailey 53-yard field goal (best ever at Heinz Field by the way), there were six more lead changes to follow.
In my pre-game analysis, I mentioned that the Steelers have a propensity to abandon the running game in all of their losses. Luckily for the Cowboys, that is exactly how this game played out.
In the first half, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell had twelve carries and another six receptions. Bell was creating matchup issues all over the field with his patient running style and pass catching abilities in the open field. For whatever particular reason, Pittsburgh did not stay with this plan, however, which helped the Cowboys defense immensely.
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Conversely, the Cowboys never seemed to give up on their bell cow. Even though the chunk yards were not there, Elliott kept eating. After his second carry of the game gained seven yards, no other carry besides his last two went for more than six. The final two, however, went for 14 and 32 yards, each resulting in a touchdown.
Elliott had help though as both quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Dez Bryant had the best games, yardage-wise, of the season. It could not have come at a better time either.
The Dallas Cowboys defense was on the ropes all game long, which was to be expected given the quality of their opponent and the injuries they faced. Thankfully though, the offense was able to have their backs.
That, in of itself, is one of the most amazing parts of this win streak.
There have been times when the offense has needed the defense to step up. On the flip side, there have been instances where the defense need the offense. Every week, it seems like one side just comes through for the other.
It’s truly been a total team effort.
More Dallas Cowboys observations from Week 10:
- It could be that he needs more carries to establish a rhythm, but running back Alfred Morris does not look the same as he did in the preseason. It will be interesting to see if he maintains his back up role if the lack of production continues. Obviously it’s Zeke’s show but a little more pop when he’s getting a rest would be nice.
- A lot of fans on social media keep discussing re-signing guard Ronald Leary, especially after he has stepped in for the injured La’el Collins. It’s not happening. Just appreciate the luxury and be happy for the man. He’s getting paid next year, but it won’t be by Dallas, unless he takes a massive hometown discount.
- While we’re on the topic of media, don’t listen to anyone outside of this team when you hear opinions related to Dez Bryant. The guys in this locker room would do anything for him. The fact that they all rushed to him to celebrate his touchdown tells you all you ever need to know.
- Opposing quarterbacks have now had back-to-back games with a rating over 100 in the absence of cornerback Morris Claiborne. That had not happened in five of the previous six games. He is sorely missed in the defensive backfield.
- This was also the first game this season where the Cowboys did not have either multiple sacks or turnovers. Hopefully that becomes the outlier and not a trend as this defense will be called upon to come up big in the month of December.
Next up for the Cowboys, the 5-4 Baltimore Ravens.