For the past three seasons, the Cowboys have wreaked of mediocrity. Ironically, they have all been very similar seasons. All three Dallas teams started 2-1, but all lost that 4th game to return to .500. Also, all three teams ended the year with devastating week 17 losses that sent NFC East rivals to the playoffs while eliminating themselves from contention. The Giants in 11′, the Redskins in 12′, and the Eagles last year.
Last night, a different Cowboys team showed up than the usual.
In a game where you were almost certain the Cowboys would get shown up on PrimeTime to Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, and the New Orleans Saints, they for sure raised some eyebrows and caught attention around the league. Could this team have finally found a winning formula?
Behind DeMarco Murray’s 149 yards and two touchdowns, the Cowboys controlled the game and let Romo find a groove we haven’t seen all year. More importantly, the Cowboys dominated the line of scrimmage, won the turnover battle, and didn’t allow Brees get into any rhythm until late in the game.
If the Cowboys stay healthy, stay committed to the run game, and continue to play well on defense, we could see a different team than we have in the past three seasons.
Things we could see more of:
– More from Lance. think Lance Dunbar needs to be more involved and I believe he will be. He caught two passes for 36 yards, one being a screen that went for 24 yards in which Dunbar displayed his explosiveness and showed how elusive he could be. I think Dunbar can be a pivotal part of the offense as long as he gets the touches he deserves.
– Look for several receivers to see more targets. With Dez Bryant constantly drawing attention of multiple defenders, it’s not a surprise that 2nd year receiver Terrence Williams caught two touchdown passes. With attention sure to come his way, Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris, and even rookie Devin Street should see more looks than usual.
– Big plays from this Linebacking core. Sean Lee is surely missed, but Rolando McClain, Justin Durant, and Bruce Carter are playing well in his absence. Carter is said to be the team’s most athletic player, and McClain is finally playing to the potential everyone expected out of Alabama a few years ago. Durant always seems to be around the ball and could see some more opportunities like Sunday night’s INT coming off Bruce Carter’s fingertips.
– Good play from reserves in the secondary. With Claiborne likely out for the year, Sterling Moore and Tyler Patmon will likely be seeing a lot of play. Moore has already been playing well, but I like Patmon as a potential player to step up and make some big plays.
– Sacks from Tyron Crawford. Crawford has come close, but hasn’t recorded his first NFL sack just yet. He has great power off the ball and has been flirting with sacks since week 1. It’s coming.
The Cowboys haven’t had a better first four games since 2008 in which they were 3-1. Finishing 9-7 that year, I think this team could be, and will be, better.