After Slow Start, Offense Got Major Receiving Boost From "Other Guys"

ARLINGTON, Texas - There are a few household names in the Cowboys offense, and after each consecutive win they slide perfectly into the headlines.

That won't change after Sunday's 27-17 victory over Baltimore. But the Cowboys' offense fought its way out of an early rut by leaning on the guys trying to make a name for themselves.

Take the first touchdown drive of the game in the second quarter, for example. Facing a first-and-30 from their own 28 after back-to-back holding calls and already down 7-0, it's only natural that the spotlight shine on rookie quarterback Dak Prescott for keeping his poise and marching down field for an eventual touchdown. But that crucial drive was made possible by the playmaking of Brice Butler and Cole Beasley.

On third and six, Butler turned around just in time to catch a 41-yard pass all the way to the seven-yard line. It was a play he had been patiently waiting on for 10 games.

"I hadn't caught a deep ball pretty much all season," Butler said. "It felt good to get that. But I know in our offense there's going to be a lot of balls that go to other guys and you have to be ready for your number when it's called."

The Cowboys desperately needed something to go their way when they decided to call Butler's number.

"Brice is a big target," Jason Witten said. "He's got long range. That was a huge play for us, and I think that kind of jumpstarted that drive and got us in the end zone."

Sure enough, two plays later Beasley and Prescott improvised for a three-yard touchdown to tie the game.

"He doesn't give up," Prescott said of Beasley. "There is a good example of that in that touchdown. The guy had him hemmed up with outside leverage on him and Cole finds a way to give me a little space and makes a great touchdown."

Fittingly Beasley laid all the credit on his quarterback.

"Dak keeping the play alive gave me more time to get open," Beasley said. "I was able to free myself and come back to the pylon. What's crazy is when I turned around he was already throwing it. It's like he knew I was going to come back. Just a great play by him."

[embeddedad0]Butler's deep ball and Beasley's touchdown were examples of taking advantage of the guys that have been waiting their turn.

"We have the guys that you know are always going to have a solid game as far as attempts or opportunities," Butler said. "Then there are some other guys, myself included, that have to be ready when their opportunity comes."

Gavin Escobar, who could count his number of season targets on one hand coming into Sunday, caught two passes for 21 yards, and the guy ahead of him on the depth chart took notice. "Gavin gets an opportunity and he just converts," Witten said. "He did a good job last week on the backside with some of those blocks. That's just the way this team works together."

After the game Beasley rattled off names like Dez Bryant, Witten, Ezekiel Elliott, Lance Dunbar, and Alfred Morris to make a point of how many weapons there are and how difficult it is to involve everyone.

"There's only one ball," Beasley said. "So it's hard to get everybody involved like that. Gavin's behind one of the greatest tight ends of all time—probably the greatest in my opinion. It's going to be hard to get him in there."

The concept of having a lot of offensive options is a luxury, but the ability to take advantage is a whole other task. They can make Prescott's life easier, but it's his job to make them feel apart of the offense. "Sometimes people tell me after the game, 'Man, they [aren't] looking your way,'" Butler joked. "We got *a lot *of guys that can do damage with the ball. It's almost impossible to get everyone the ball."

Sunday against the Ravens, it became clear that the number of potential playmakers that have mutual comfort level with Prescott is high. The Ravens defense looked intimidating early in the game, but as time went on it became impossible to keep everyone in check. It was likely the difference in the game, and could be a growing factor all season.

"At the beginning of the game it's kind of hard because we never know how people are going to play us or what they are going to take away because we have so many weapons," Beasley said. "It's not a bad problem to have. Sometimes it takes a little longer to figure out what we're doing and where we can take advantage of them."

The 'other guys' as Butler referred to them, will remain just that; afterthoughts to the team's biggest stars. But on Sunday against the Ravens, they proved they can still be the difference makers. That's part of the culture.

"We always talk about when your number's called you have to execute," Witten said. "You really don't know when that's going to be, from within a drive to within a game to week in and week out."

View some of our favorite photos from the Ravens vs. Cowboys game on Sunday, November 20 at AT&T Stadium.

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