It wasn’t always pretty, but they got the job done.
For the second time in three years, the Dallas Cowboys are NFC East champions. What first began as a season of disappointment turned into a season of over achievement after their 27-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday afternoon.
Seriously, who believed this team would be wearing the hat of a champion a few weeks ago. At times it looked as if this team would never arrive at their intended destination. Though the scenic route isn’t always everyone’s favorite route to take, it still gets you there. Here are four takeaways from the Cowboys division title-clinching game Sunday.
Dak Prescott is a winner
Quarterback Dak Prescott has his share of imperfections that, at times, make you want to pull your hair out. What has been a common theme surrounding him and his teams is they win. No matter how ugly it may be Prescott finds a way to do just enough to overcome his mistakes. 20-of-25 for 161 yards and a touchdown is not a way to win ball games for most teams in this league. Especially when you also ran for a net of 80 yards on the ground. But it works for him and it’s gotten him another division title in his young career.
Randy Gregory could be an X Factor
Gregory had arguably the biggest play of the game late in the first quarter. As Jameis Winston scrambled out the pocket to avoid pressure Gregory keyed in on him from behind. The unassuming Winston immediately dropped the ball from the force of the hit and Linebacker Jaylon Smith was there to scoop it up for a 69-yard sprint to the end zone. That was one of three quarterback hits Gregory had on the day. Gregory has seemed to come into his own over the past few weeks and that type of production only allows Demarcus Lawrence more one-on-one looks against tackles. Six sacks on the season for Gregory is impressive for someone many thought would never play for this team again.
Darius Jackson deserves a look at running back
Rod Smith has truly endured a down year behind Ezekiel Elliott. He’s rushed for 92 yards on 32 carries this season and had 2 attempts for -7 yards Sunday. Elliott will continue to take the majority share of carriers in the backfield, but when he has to leave the game the running game seemingly is non-existent. Smith appears to be a back who needs a few touches to work himself into the rhythm of the game. He’s a solid candidate for a back you need to get 25 carriers from a game, but not so much when asked to continue the offensive momentum on 3 or 4 carries. Darius Jackson has shown flashes of being a change-of-pace back since he was drafted a few years back. Now that the division is clinched, he should see a few more opportunities next week against New York.
Remember Cole Beasley?
Cole Beasley logged his fifth five-catch game of the season Sunday afternoon after going unused for a good portion of the Cowboys winning streak. The past two weeks Beasley has 9 catches for 92 yards. The prior three weeks he had just 5 catches for 32 yards. Tampa Bay’s offense is a good indicator of how Beasley should be used here. With Mike Evans and Desean Jackson saw as the main threats in their passing attack it opened the door for Adam Humphries to do a lot of his damage underneath and on third down. Guess the Cowboys offensive coaching staff noticed that and remembered Beasley can still be a dangerous threat for this offense.
- Despite a shaky finish, the Rangers still have the same focus on postseason success as they go to Tampa for the Wild Card series
- Rangers Using Youth Movement for their 2023 Playoff Push
- To make the postseason, the Rangers will need a Duran/Smith push at a crucial time
- After an Up and Down August, It’s Go-Time for the Texas Rangers
- Cowboys’ battles heading into Seattle