ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys said hello to the win column (shoutout to the Rangers) once again on Sunday afternoon as they came out of the bye and defeated the Los Angeles Rams 43-20.
All three phases of the Cowboys scored points, and the offensive and defensive weapons both filled up the stat sheet.
In a game where there was a lot of positivity to take away, let's look at this week's 5 Takes, presented by Take 5 Oil Change.
- *The Cowboys are at their best when they play complementary football. *In big wins this season, we've typically seen the Cowboys defense get off to a red-hot start with big plays that allow the offense to play free and score points. While that still happened on Sunday against the Rams, it was the offense this time that got the train moving. Dak Prescott started the game with the ball after the Rams deferred to the second half, and the offense used chunk plays and a little help on a third down penalty to drive down for its second opening-drive touchdown of the season. From there, the defense helped add on with a defensive touchdown. Then, the special teams got in on the action with a blocked punt. When all three units feed off of each other, the Cowboys are a tough team to beat.
- *CeeDee Lamb is the Cowboys' best and most consistent offensive weapon. *I know. Not a hot take, by any means. But in a year where CeeDee Lamb is playing to earn a big extension, he has put up big performances when needed, and it was no different on Sunday afternoon. Lamb set his career high for receptions in a game (12) and receiving yards (158) and was a huge light to the offensive fire as the game went on. If the Texas Coast offense wants to find continuous success, it will need to focus on getting Lamb the ball each time it takes the field.
- *Micah Parsons is on the same level as a pass rusher as Aaron Donald. *In a game where both defensive stars for the Rams and Cowboys were able to take centerstage, we were treated to a pass rush feast in the first half from Aaron Donald and Micah Parsons. Donald is easily the better defender of the run, but Parsons' impact in the pass rush rivals what the three-time Defensive Player of the Year did on Sunday and has done throughout his career. Parsons got home once on Matthew Stafford and generated pressure all afternoon, including on a third down that was initially ruled a strip sack but was overturned to an incomplete pass.
- *Finding a replacement for C.J. Goodwin might need some figuring out. *Unfortunately, one of the few negatives in the game saw starting corner punt coverage man Nahshon Wright give up two poor plays in the punt return game in the second half. The first was on a return where KaVontae Turpin maybe should have fair caught the ball, but Wright's assignment got through and blasted the Pro Bowl returner for a loss on the return. The second bad play came in the fourth quarter where Turpin finally broke through for what would have been his first regular season return for a touchdown, only to have it wiped by a Nahshon Weight hold. There are a healthy amount of other options: Jalen Brooks, Noah Igbinoghene and more. We'll see if special teams coordinator John Fassel puts confidence in Wright or tries to work with some other candidates this week.
- *The game in Philadelphia next week won't be close to what it was like in San Francisco. *I know what you're thinking. Ahead of a big litmus test against Philadelphia, why would you be confident in the Cowboys showing up after what happened a few weeks back in San Francisco? You're reasonable for that notion, but I'd be shocked if next week yields a similar result. The Eagles have experienced some growing pains in the defensive backfield, even with the addition of Kevin Byard, and the Cowboys are finding their rhythm offensively for the first time this season. There is an opportunity to go into Philly next week and take the division lead. I don't think this team will take that lightly.