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5 Takes

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5 Takes: Dak's mobility is offense's best weapon


ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys welcomed in the Washington Commanders for a Thanksgiving Day showdown and enacted a bit of revenge from the Commanders' Thanksgiving win in 2020 with a 45-10 stomping at AT&T Stadium.

A fourth quarter onslaught brought to the surface by a CeeDee Lamb touchdown, a KaVontae Turpin touchdown and yet another DaRon Bland pick-six allowed Dallas to run away with its third consecutive win and its 13th consecutive victory at home.

There was a lot to take away from Dallas' feasting of Washington on Thursday afternoon. Here are the 5 Takes, presented by Take 5 Oil Change.

  1. _The Cowboys did exactly what they were supposed to do the last three weeks. _Coming out of the game against Philadelphia, Dallas stared into the face of three sub-par opponents and came out on the other side with three decisive wins and a 127-37 combined score. While there were many positive things that came out of the three-game stretch – increased confidence for Tony Pollard, winning the turnover battle, dominating time of possession – it's tough to feel great about the winning streak until the Cowboys do what they've done recently to a playoff-caliber team. The upcoming stretch will allow for just that.
  1. _Building confidence in the receiving game for Tony Pollard will lead to success in the run game. _There's been an increased workload out of the backfield for Tony Pollard in the last two games – specifically in the flats and in the screen game – and it's allowed for Pollard to run with a little more confidence when taking handoffs. Pollard now has physical rushing touchdowns in back-to-back games with both coming off stacked confidence out of the backfield. With a pair of strong run defenses on the horizon, building Pollard's production in the receiving game may finally lead to continued success between the tackles.
  1. _Damone Clark had his best game as a Dallas Cowboy. _From the word "go," Damone Clark was flying to the ball and making life difficult for any player that came out of the backfield for the Commanders, and it led to a nine-tackle performance on Thanksgiving. Filling running lanes, accounting for short routes out of the backfield and making life difficult for Sam Howell totaled up to Damone Clark's best performance since being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2022. With Leighton Vander Esch done for the season, continued performances like Thursday for Clark will allow the Dallas defense to remain in stride with a strong presence in the second level.
  1. _The offense's best weapon is Dak Prescott's legs. _There has been an emphasis since the loss in San Francisco towards allowing Dak Prescott to utilize his legs more both out of the pocket and in the scramble game, and it has opened up a cornucopia of possibilities for offensive success. Escaping the pocket and extending plays with his legs has allowed the offense to become comfortable improvising, and it's allowed for speed options like CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks to create action downfield on the fly. When the play is extended, the potential for success increases. Credit that to QB1.
  1. _Coming out of the half stronger needs to be a priority. _The Cowboys are averaging just 3.5 points per game in the third quarter after their fourth scoreless third frame of the season on Thursday. While the lack of production out of the break has been noticeable, it hasn't hurt them too bad so far this season. An emphasis on coming out of the break faster will need to be implemented in closer games later down the season.

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