Have Cowboys discovered a blueprint to profitable with out Dak Prescott?

By David Helman
FOX Sports activities Dallas Cowboys Author

That is the kind of effort it is going to take if the Dallas Cowboys are going to climate this Dak Prescott absence. 

It is one of many oldest clichés in soccer, however Dallas’ 20-17 upset of Cincinnati felt just like the epitome of a crew win. Throughout the span of 4 worrying quarters, you might have rewritten the story of who gained this sport for the Cowboys at the least 4 totally different instances.

Let’s get the apparent, boring one out of the way in which. Quarterbacks get all of the love, but it surely’s unattainable to disclaim that Cooper Rush has now been positioned in a tricky state of affairs twice by Prescott accidents, and his response has been to merely information the Cowboys to a 2-0 file in his two begins.

“That’s all you want as a quarterback — you want the respect of your teammates,” Rush stated. “We were able to just go out and play today, truly a team win.”

Rush’s efficiency Sunday is not going to win him awards, however his poise and command of this offense have been exceptional in serving to the Cowboys out to a stunning early lead. Throughout two early landing drives within the first quarter, Rush accomplished seven of his first eight passes for 111 yards and a landing.

To be blunt, Rush and his offense disappeared for roughly the next two hours. However given an opportunity to seal the deal on the finish of regulation, he delivered. Beginning at his personal 35-yard line with 0:57 to play, Rush went 3-for-3 for 30 yards, finishing passes to CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown to maneuver Brett Maher into place for the walkoff kick.

Oh, proper. Then there’s Maher. The Cowboys’ resolution to re-sign their former kicker again in August was met with a collective facepalm from the crew’s complete fan base. In spite of everything, he was reduce in 2019 for extended and maddening struggles with consistency.

One factor that might by no means be questioned in regards to the veteran kicker is his leg. Maher had already simply related from 54 yards on the finish of the primary half. So when the Cowboys despatched him out to win the sport from a distance of fifty yards, it felt extra like a formality than the rest.

None of this even mentions the very best participant on the sphere Sunday: Micah Parsons.

It is getting simpler to acknowledge what we’re watching play out in entrance of us each time the Cowboys take the sphere lately, which is that Parsons has a case to be thought-about the very best defender within the NFL proper now. In fact, Aaron Donald and a number of other others have one thing to say about that. Nevertheless it’s unimaginable to look at the way in which the 23-year-old can take over a sport.

Cincinnati could not do something with Parsons, to place it mildly. Lining up primarily in opposition to former teammate La’el Collins, the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Yr made life depressing on Joe Burrow.

Contemporary off two sacks in opposition to Tom Brady, Parsons sacked Burrow twice on the day. Very like final week’s effort in opposition to Tampa Bay, each of these sacks stalled the Bengals out and compelled them to accept area targets.

Parsons’ influence went a lot deeper, although. Even when he wasn’t getting residence, Parsons spent a large chunk of his afternoon getting double-teamed and presenting favorable matchups for his teammates. Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler Jr. and Leighton Vander Esch additionally acquired in on the act, serving to the Cowboys to complete with six sacks as a crew. With out attempting to take an excessive amount of credit score away from anybody else, Parsons had a hand within the overwhelming majority of these sacks — even those that will not go on his remaining tally.

Throw in 4 tackles, to not point out a pair of Bengals pre-snap penalties drawn in opposition to him, and it feels truthful to say that Parsons is the kind of defender who can wreck a sport plan.

“That’s probably one of the best defensive fronts we are going to see this year, if not the best,” Collins stated afterward.

Lengthy regarded for his means to make performs downfield, Burrow averaged simply 5.5 yards per try on Sunday. His main receiver, Tee Higgins, completed with simply 71 yards. And Cincinnati’s lone landing drive of the afternoon required 19 performs and roughly 9 minutes of sport time to drag off.

It is encouraging to see a path to Cowboys victories that does not embrace their franchise quarterback, particularly contemplating this crew’s ineptitude final week in opposition to the Buccaneers. Cowboys chief working officer Stephen Jones stated previous to kickoff that Prescott was nonetheless three or 4 video games away from being able to return, because the entrance workplace continues to carry its breath that Prescott may play Oct. 9 in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams.

There’s a brutal actuality, although, that it’s going to take the sort of effort each time if the Cowboys are going to maintain stacking wins.

As spectacular as Rush and the offense checked out instances, it is nonetheless true that they moved the ball 20 yards or fewer on 5 of their 10 possessions. As exhilarating because it was to see Noah Brown lead all receivers with 5 catches for 91 yards and a landing, the Cowboys might want to see it once more as they proceed to piece collectively this offense whereas Michael Gallup returns from an ACL tear. And as dynamic because the Dallas go rush regarded for a lot of the sport, the Bengals have been capable of maintain Burrow upright lengthy sufficient to tie the sport late within the fourth quarter.

That is the character of soccer, although. The margin of error is slim within the NFL, and it will get even thinner when the beginning quarterback goes down. With all that in thoughts after a brutal Week 1 loss, it was laborious to think about the place the Cowboys would get sufficient contributions to search out the win column.

They could have believed it inside their locker room, however Sunday was all about displaying the remainder of us: They will get contributions from everybody.

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand spent 9 seasons masking the Cowboys for the crew’s official web site. In 2018, he gained a regional Emmy for his position in producing “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” in regards to the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Observe him on Twitter @davidhelman_.

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