Thanksgiving day isn’t complete without Dallas Cowboys football. While everyone gathered around the table to marvel at the food they were going to feast on, Cowboys fans wondered what game-day recipe they were going to be served. The Cowboys 31-23 victory over the Washington Redskins was surely a meal fit for a king and it showcased an offensive performance fans everywhere had been craving for. Among those exciting plays the Cowboys cooked up at AT&T Stadium are 4 things to take away from their divisional win.
Is that Amari Cooper trade justified now?
Just one month ago there were few who believed the Cowboys hadn’t overpaid for the services of Amari Cooper. Well, does 8 receptions, 180 yards and 2 touchdowns do enough for you? Cooper not only showcased dynamic route-running ability but a niche for making plays after the catch. Also, just as Jason Witten was to Tony Romo and Cole Beasley had become to Dak Prescott a few years ago Cooper has been a consistent third-down target. Give the Cowboys credit for admitting they were wrong about their receiving core and jumping at the chance to improve it. With the Cowboys arrow projected upwards and the Oakland Raiders going down, it may be time to reevaluate who really won the trade.
Defense proved they can be elite
Coming into the game the Cowboys defense had been a very solid unit that lacked an ability to take the ball away. They dispelled that notion Thursday. What elite defenses do is take advantage of teams weaknesses. With Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy having to step in for Alex Smith with only 3 days of preparation, Dallas harassed him the entire game. McCoy looked like a backup without a lot of time to prepare. And that was due to the constant pressure Dallas was able to put on him. They tallied three interceptions and could have had four if Chidobe Awuize catches that ball in the back of the end zone. The final score says 31-23, but the defense played far better than an 8-point win would indicate.
Connor Williams’ rookie campaign may be finished
151, 122, 121 are the rushing totals for Ezekiel Elliot since Xavier Su-a-Filo has been inserted into the starting lineup. Connor Williams may have not even been the problem with the Cowboys running game. It may have just been the changes to the offensive line scheme and Amari Cooper’s presence that has boosted their ability to run the ball. But with the way the offense is playing it will be hard to insert him back in when it seems the level of play has risen since Su’a-Filo has been in. Williams is sure to benefit plenty from this upcoming offseason with increasing his strength. However, since the Cowboys have been placed in the driver’s seat in the NFC East race Jason Garrett is sure to stick with Su’a-Filo at left guard to close out the year
Ezekiel Elliot outshines Adrian Peterson
In the Cowboys-Redskins last meeting, a large part of the outcome of the game came down to one team’s ability to run the ball and stop the opposing offense from running. Washington won that battle last matchup. This time the Cowboys dominated in that aspect. In their first game, Ezekiel Elliot was held to just 33 yards on the ground. Thursday, Adrian Peterson was just as much of a non-factor as he could be with 35 yards on 12 carriers. Peterson watched as Zeke not only threw money in the Salvation Army pot but cashed in for 121 yards while averaging nearly five yards a carry.
Dallas left Arlington 6-5 on the years and enjoying a three-game winning streak. The Cowboys will play their third game in 11 days when the Saints come marching into AT&T Stadium next Thursday night. This matchup will be a true test to see just how far this team has really come.
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