Published 7:39 PM EDT Oct 14, 2018
ARLINGTON, Texas – It was like a bunch of impostors showed up at AT&T Stadium in Cowboys uniforms.
That’s how stunning a 40-7 romp over Jacksonville was on Sunday, when everything clicked for Dallas.
Dak Prescott had his best game in two years. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 106 yards. The defensive line mates who call themselves the “Hot Boys,” put a lot of heat on Blake Bortles. The much-maligned secondary came up with a pair of second-half turnovers. Kicker Brett Maher booted a 55-yard field goal.
Shoot, the Cowboys (3-3) even went for it on fourth-and-1 – twice! – and converted after all of the well-deserved second-guessing of coach Jason Garrett for refusing to go for it in overtime at Houston a week earlier.
Sure, Cowboys followers might want to pinch themselves after watching the team (without a No. 1 receiver) struggle mightily to score points all season. It had to seem like a dream. Dallas scored 83 points in its first five games, averaging 16.6 per outing. On Sunday, they nearly triple their average. Go figure.
Yes, for one Sunday at least, Dallas got its groove back, proving how nothing is a given in the wildly unpredictable NFL.
Three other things we learned:
- Dak Prescott is better at home than on the road. In three games away from JerryWorld, Prescott has a 66.7 passer rating, including a 2-to-4 TD-to-INT ratio, with his team 0-3. In three home games, the Cowboys are 3-0 and Prescott hasn’t thrown a pick while throwing for 5 TDs. And his passer rating is way over 100 at home, including a 107.5 mark on Sunday.
- The Jaguars defense is more bark than bite. A week after getting shredded by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs for 424 yards, Jacksonville allowed a breakout performance for Dallas' offense. That’s 70 points (including a Blake Bortles pick-six at K.C.) and roughly 800 yards over two games. For all of the bulletin-board material supplied by mouthy star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, this is some serious humble pie. Whatever happened to one of the NFL’s best defenses?
- Dallas can suddenly roll without Sean Lee. Used to be a time when Dallas seemingly couldn’t survive, much less win, without its injury-prone weakside linebacker and defensive captain. Yet in the three games Lee has missed due to a hamstring injury, the Cowboys are 2-1. They’ve been able to absorb the loss of Lee because of a dominant D-line, a solid fill-in in first-round rookie Leighton Vander Esch and the remarkable comeback of middle linebacker Jaylon Smith, now back to playing like the top prospect he was before a devastating knee injury in his final college game.
Follow Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell.