ARLINGTON, TX — The good times keep on rolling along for the Dallas Cowboys in their defense of AT&T Stadium. Having handily dismantled the Los Angeles Rams, to the tune of 43-20, they now extend their win streak at home to 11 games and head coach Mike McCarthy moves to 12-5 following the bye week.
Dak Prescott and the offense, fueled largely by a career-day from wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, finally showed what the explosive version of the Texas Coast offense looks like — Micah Parsons and DaRon Bland (who set a franchise record on Sunday) leading the defense and Sam Williams and Brandon Aubrey putting points on the board for special teams.
It was an outright domination, as the Cowboys continue to look bulletproof at home in the McCarthy era.
"Playing here in a great environment, the fans, wonderful atmosphere — the place you're used to playing at — and playing indoors, a lot of that plays into getting off to an early start." said Prescott. "That game was huge for us. That streak is just the mentality of these guys. That's something that we set our mind to.
"We're trying to work for something and the last thing we wanna do is let someone come into our house and take that from us."
It wasn't all Skittles and rainbows at the outset, however.
Aaron Donald and Co. sacked Prescott on the first play from scrimmage and two additional times on Dallas' opening drive, one negated by an illegal contact call against the Rams; ultimately sacking Prescott on three occasions over the first two drives.
Early adversity was overcome rather swiftly though, as Prescott marched the Cowboys down the field on the opening drive before ultimately finding tight end Jake Ferguson for an 18-yard touchdown.
"I think that's an example of just playing one play at a time," said Prescott. "It wasn't pretty [the first few plays] … each play you've gotta be locked in. Just take it one play at a time and get momentum. Don't think about the last play, as sh-tty as it was or it could've been.
"Just move forward and stay in the present. I think the guys did that. We could've easily put our heads down and started pouting and griping after the first couple of plays. … We responded to each other. We communicate.
"And just like when we got rolling, it's the same thing: one play at a time. Just because it was good, [we need to] stay locked in and stay focused."
And focused they most certainly were.
That drive helped spark an onslaught from the Cowboys in all three phases of the game, in a matchup that was very nearly a 50-point mutilation of the Rams if not for a holding penalty negating a return for a touchdown by KaVontae Turpin, who already had a 63-yard return early in the second quarter that led to Lamb's second touchdown on the day.
The connection between Prescott and Lamb wasn't simply nuclear. You would've thought J. Robert Oppenheimer was involved in the game planning this week.
"We wanted to take a step in the pass game," said Prescott.
Lamb, who had 114 receiving yards in the defeat of the Chargers, isn't shocked at all, and that includes how the Cowboys have also gotten Brandin Cooks involved the last two outings.
"We're not surprised," Lamb said. "That's what we're looking for week in, week out. This was more of a stepping stone to what's to come. Coming off the bye, we knew we had an advantage and we came out striking."
In Los Angeles, Prescott used his legs to deliver his best game of the season. One game later, he used both his legs and his arm to do it. His lone blemish was a red zone interception created by a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage that then flew off of the hand of tight end Sean McKeon.
In all, Prescott finished with 25 completions on 31 attempts for 304 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and 19 rushing yards (rushing for two first downs), and a passer rating of 133.7.
"Let's make it three [best games of the season] next week," said Prescott. "I'm in rhythm. It feels good. … A lot goes into it, and a lot of it's the other guys. It's not just me.
"Part of playing this position is when other guys are playing their best, it makes you look good, and then you're being told you're playing your best. We'll take it, but it's early in the year and we've gotta keep rolling. As I said, we've gotta keep taking this momentum and get better, and make sure we're putting the best version of ourselves out there every week.
"We're 5-2 and looking forward to taking the next step next week on the road."
That next step will have to involve mowing through an Eagles team that sits at 6-1 on the season and stands as the next major test of the Cowboys, not long after they failed the first — namely the debacle in Santa Clara in Week 5.
For his part, owner and general manager Jerry Jones refused to comment on the contest to come, one that will easily be the best matchup in the entire league next week, noting that he doesn't want to "poke the bear".
Prescott, however, isn't concerned with such a thing.
"Pour honey on me," he said with a smile. "I always say that. If you see me and a bear fighting, pour honey on me. It's all just a part of the National Football League that whether you talk or not, we know what's ahead of us: a great opponent. I'm excited for it. It's an opponent we're familiar with, and vice versa.
"… Trust me, the guys in the locker room, and myself, we know what this game means."
And if they can pass the test in Philly to move to 6-2 on the season, slimming the gap further atop the NFC and NFC East, it'll be that much sweeter.
Like, well, honey.