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Eatman: Adversity was calling, so the Cowboys answered the call


ARLINGTON, Texas – Let's just be clear from the jump here – you can't respond any better than that.

The way the Cowboys got off the mat from last week in Arizona, dusted themselves off, put some ice on that bloody lip they got, and bounced back in Sunday's game against the Patriots was absolutely perfect.

Remember, I said the response was perfect. The game wasn't exactly perfection, although the 38-3 score could suggest otherwise. No, the Cowboys still have a few things they can clean up, particularly in the red zone. But in this game, like some of the others this year, the red-zone woes didn't really bite them because the defense made sure the Cowboys didn't need more than a touchdown to win this game.

Actually, after a quick glance at the stat sheet, let me change that to just one thing to clean up – red zone. Because no other aspect in the game was a real problem for the Cowboys as they completely wiped the floor with the Patriots in every way possible.

No, the game wasn't exactly perfect, as they rarely are. But the response from last week's disaster was off the charts.

And with that, as much as fans and media hate to do it, the credit starts with the coaches. Mike McCarthy could be accused of not having his team ready to play last week. If so, then give him all the credit for this week.

And it's not just this week if you're scoring at home. In the last three years, the Cowboys are now 10-1 in games immediately following a loss. Not only that, but they're averaging over 35 points per game in doing so.

To me, that's more than just being pissed off. That's also taking names.

Speaking of names, we had some come into town this week. Not just Ezekiel Elliott, who really wasn't much of a factor in the game. That's what happens when the Cowboys get out to a big lead, but also he's still the No. 2 back for the Patriots, although Dak Prescott said in his press conference that he should be playing more. Then again, that's what a best friend should say.

But the bigger name coming in from New England was Bill Belichick, arguably the greatest head coach in NFL history. His presence alone had a lot of people, myself included, wondering how close this game might be.

What happened? Well, Belichick is heading back to New England with the worst loss in his entire 29-year career. That's right, the 35-point loss is the largest margin of defeat ever against a Belichick-coached team and it happened right here with the Cowboys, with McCarthy and his staff leading the way.

Scoff at that if you want, but that's definitely what happened on Sunday. The Cowboys were better prepared. It wasn't just the players locked in during the week, but the coaches, evidenced by a fake extra-point that resulted in a two-point conversion. Think about this, what coach ever deliberately tries to go up 18-3 instead of 17-3 in the second quarter? It never happens … unless … you just see something so glaring on tape that you have to go for it, mainly because it's too easy.

McCarthy said special teams coach Jon Fassel came to him on Tuesday and alerted him about it. They practiced it during the week and then saw the look they wanted and went for it.

I get it. It's just one play during a 38-3 win, but to me it's just an example of everyone doing their part to make sure they had an edge this week.

If you guys know me by now, you'll know I try to stay out of the big picture – especially on the first day of October. It might be the month for baseball playoffs but not the NFL. Not even close.

I hated taking calls on my daily podcast, Cowboys StoryLine, about the 49ers or the Eagles for the last few weeks because it's just too early. Too many things can happen to change the narrative – like losing your starting cornerback for the season, or your injury-prone left tackle can now miss two straight games, or you lose a game in Arizona against a quarterback who had never won a game and against a team accused of playing for the No. 1 pick.

Things like that can change the way you feel about the team. Just like beating a legendary head coach by 35 points in a game that you just had to have if you want to be the team you think you are.

Right now, I think the Cowboys are really good. We'll find out over some time if they really are.

Without a doubt, there will be more bumps in the road, but I know this: The Cowboys will figure out how to respond to them.

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