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5 Takes: Cooks' big day is just the beginning


ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys completed the season sweep of the New York Giants on Sunday evening at AT&T Stadium in a 42-10 rout of their NFC East foes on a day where Brandin Cooks and CeeDee Lamb both accounted for over 150 receiving yards and Dak Prescott threw for 404 yards.

There was a lot of good and not much bad to take away from the big win that moved the Cowboys to 6-3 on the season. Let's dive into it all in this week's edition of 5 Takes, presented by Take 5 Oil Change.

  1. *Brandin Cooks' performance is just the beginning. *The fanbase wanted more Brandin Cooks, and they got just that early and often in the first half as the 10-year veteran was in sync with Dak Prescott from the word go on Sunday. His 104 yards in the first half alone more than doubled any single game output Cooks had all season going into Sunday. It was a sight for sore eyes of anybody that expected Cooks to have more production than his 165 yards in eight games, but if Sunday is any indicator of what's to come, expect more of Cooks in the second half of the season.
  1. *Rico Dowdle earned more trust on Sunday. *The running game failed to scare anybody through eight games, and I wouldn't say that was necessarily negated on Sunday, but the addition of more Rico Dowdle carries saw the running game add a little bit of flair throughout the game. His 12 carries for 79 yards provided a quick burst for the offense and helped facilitate a pair of touchdown drives. Dowdle's physical running style matches up with what this offense tries to do in the running game. If the Cowboys want to continue to find success running the ball, increased carries for Dowdle may be in order.
  1. *The run defense has all of a sudden become a strength for the Cowboys. *Who would have thought that through nine games that we could look up and see that the Dallas Cowboys had not allowed a 100-yard rusher all season? Well, if you did, buy a lottery ticket. Even though New York's entire gameplan revolved around force-feeding Saquon Barkley on Sunday, the Dallas defense held firm and limited the former first-rounder to just 66 yards on the ground. After a year where the Cowboys' rush defense was targeted and obliterated at times, Dallas' rush defense has turned into a strength in 2023.
  1. *New York might end up with the No. 1 overall pick. *There is absolutely nothing happening offensively for the Giants with Tommy DeVito at quarterback and a severely depleted offensive line in front of him, and in looking at the rest of their schedule, it's hard to find confidence in the Cowboys' NFC East foes winning more than one game. Considering the talent level of projected No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams, it might be in the Cowboys' best interest to start rooting for their rivals to win a game or two.
  1. *Markquese Bell deserves to still be heavily involved when Leighton Vander Esch returns. *In filling in for Leighton Vander Esch in the second level, converted safety turned linebacker Markquese Bell has excelled both in defending the run and in pass coverage. It's been nothing but consistency from the second-year undrafted free agent signing since stepping into his larger role, and he deserves to still have a healthy amount of play when Vander Esch makes his return from his neck injury.

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