For years, even decades, we as a community of football fans have put up with Dallas Cowboys fans around the country calling their team “America’s Team.” That whole time we’d listen and roll our eyes, remembering that the Cowboys haven’t won (or even been to) a Super Bowl since the mid-90s. Year in and year out, it seemed like Dallas always had hype surrounding their team from their fans and in the media, whether or not they were great or even good.
This year is different. This year, the Cowboys aren’t just good, they’re great. But this time, they’re not getting all of the attention that they now rightfully deserve. Lucky for them, I’m here to tell you about why exactly this team is so special: that dynamic offense.
I’m not just talking about Dak Prescott here, though he has been a huge part of their success. But on Sunday Night Football last weekend, we saw how good that offense really is, even with Prescott out of the equation.
Dallas beat the Minnesota Vikings on the road with some guy named Cooper Rush starting under center. Rush has been with the Cowboys organization since they signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2017, but he had only ever seen 29 snaps before his first NFL start on Sunday, all of them in relief of Prescott late in blowout games. But Prescott had a calf issue and the Cowboys wisely opted to keep him inactive for their game in Minneapolis. It didn’t matter, the Cowboys won anyway. Rush went 24-of-40 passing with 325 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception against a Vikings team that ranks third in the NFL in defensive pass DVOA (-11.7%). And while Ezekiel Elliott has looked more of himself so far this year, he only put up 50 yards on 16 carries. Dallas just has that much skill on offense.
A big reason for this year’s surge in the Cowboys’ play on offense is the offensive line. Dallas—assisted by a return-to-form season from Elliott—has one of the best rushing attacks in the league. They rank second in yards per game (152) behind only the Cleveland Browns, and they’re doing it on far fewer attempts—218 total rushes this season compared to Cleveland’s 250.
On the passing end, the big men up front have done well keeping pressure off their quarterback. Prescott has seen some of the least pressure of any NFL quarterback this year, having faced it on just 15.9% of dropbacks. Only Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady have faced less. It’s even more impressive how little pressure Prescott has faced when you consider he’s also the quarterback with the third-most blitzes (90) against him in the NFL.
The receiving corps in Dallas is also one of the best in the league. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb are an incredible WR1-WR2 punch, and they’re both on pace for 1,000+-yard seasons this year. Each of them had more than 100 yards in the Sunday night game in Minnesota, and Cooper scored the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter. Cedrick Wilson, too, has become an important part of the Cowboys’ offense. After 17 catches for 189 yards all of last season, he already has 17 more this year for 252 yards. Not to mention, he’s also been making some really impressive throws on trick plays, too.
The play from the offensive line, along with the supremely talented receiver room and Elliott’s ability to look like his former self, has made the Cowboys’ offense its best quality this season. They’re averaging the most yards per game of any team in the NFL and are top three in points per game. Even without their star quarterback for a game, Dallas was able to show off the reasons why their offense has maintained its success all season. They’re one of the NFL’s hottest teams, with six straight wins since a very close Week 1 loss to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With their dynamic offense continuing to roll with or without Prescott (and it appears they will be with him this weekend) and improved defense under Dan Quinn, this Cowboys team is great. They could win the NFC East wearing blindfolds and might even make a run at that No. 1 seed in the NFC.