The Dallas Cowboys were able to avenge last weeks loss to the Colts with an impressive and thrilling 24-20 win over the Oakland Raiders to even their record to 2-2. Here is what we learned this week about the Cowboys.
Dak Prescott started off strong again moving the Cowboys offense down the field for a field goal on the opening drive that took over seven minutes and hit tight end Jason Witten for a touchdown on the second drive. Prescott finished going 11-13 for 113 yards and one touchdown. Impressive rookie Cooper Rush started the second half and had his first turnover as an Alfred Morris missed block resulted in him getting hit from behind and fumbling the ball. Rush rebounded well leading a touchdown on his next drive. He would follow that up by hitting receiver Lance Lenoir for a 44-yard touchdown to take the lead. Rush finished 12-13 for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Kellen Moore came in late in the fourth and was able to hold on to the lead.
Ezekiel Elliot made his preseason debut and started off strong carrying the ball three straight times showing the same vision, strength, and speed that he showed in his breakout rookie season. He finished with six carries for 18 yards on his only drive of the game. Morris started the second half and had some strong runs but had a costly missed block that resulted in a fumble return for a touchdown. Ronnie Hillman played in the fourth and displayed beautiful receiving skills hauling in a touchdown pass.
Dez Bryant had a quiet game as his only real target was on an overthrown deep ball. Witten had another strong game picking up yards across the middle of the field and picking up first downs. Terrance Williams had a huge gain called back by a penalty and the Cowboys will be looking for more plays like that from Williams this season. Brice Butler continued his strong connection with Rush hauling in some impressive catches with him in charge. Lenoir has continued to improve in the return game and had a nice touchdown in the fourth.
Chaz Green got the start at left guard as the competition between him and Byron Bell is coming down to the wire. The starting offensive line played like their usual self doing a good job protecting Prescott only allowing one sack that was more of a result of coverage then blocking. The run blocking was strong as well with the only knock being the penalties that put the offense behind the chains. Green suffered an injury late in the second quarter and had to be helped off the field.
The defensive line was inconsistent as at times they would be strong in both the run defense and pass rush but at other times would be completely blown off the ball giving up a huge run to the Raiders fullback that was nullified by a penalty. Taco Charlton continued his strong play registering a sack in the second half and Maliek Collins also had a strong game as well. Louis Neal had a sack late in the fourth quarter but as a whole, this is a unit that has to improve before the season starts.
Sean Lee made his preseason debut and picked up right where he left off making tackles all over the field. Unfortunately, it was not contagious as the linebackers missed numerous tackles in the open field. Jaylon Smith saw action in the second quarter in relief of Lee and picked up right where he left off stopping a screen pass in the backfield to make his presence felt. If he stays healthy Smith should have a huge impact for the Cowboys this season and I look for him to crack the starting lineup sooner rather than later. Anthony Hitchens suffered an injury late in the second quarter before being helped off the field.
The starting defensive backs had the tough job of going up against Derrick Carr and co. but started strong playing physical and helping force an early three and out. However, on the second drive, all of that went out the window as the Cowboys missed tackles and had a blown coverage result in a Corrdale Patterson touchdown. The same happened late in the second quarter as miscommunication and a bad angle on the tackle resulted in an Amari Cooper touchdown. Although the secondary came through late in the game this is an area that has to improve fast if the Cowboys have any hope to improve defensively.