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Eatman: Let's Not Start Judging 'Ugly' Blowouts


ARLINGTON, Texas – By having the good fortune of being friends with a few football coaches, I feel like I've heard my share of one-liners.

And when it comes to winning, two that I seem to hear the most are:

"We don't apologize for winning," and "It's hard to get wins in this league."

I think Jason Garrett has used the latter several times.

But what I don't think I've ever heard is a variation of that in, "It's hard to win by 25 points in this league."

That's because it is. Let's not forget that.

I really hope we're not at a point in this 3-0 start where we start criticizing the way the Cowboys beat a team by more than three touchdowns.

Was it a sloppy game? Yeah, at times the Cowboys were having a hard time finding a rhythm and didn't exactly pull away from the Dolphins as early as we all might have thought.

I know I said it all week that I thought the Cowboys would jump on them early and Cooper Rush would be in the game by the fourth quarter, if not earlier.

OK, so it didn't happen like that. There are plenty of reasons why, but the main one is that the Cowboys just didn't get off to a great start.

But what about the finish? They outscored the Dolphins 21-0 in the second half and ended up beating this team by more than even the "expert" oddsmakers predicted. Let's not forget that only 35 times in NFL history had a team been favored to win by more than 21 and it happened twice this week. No, the Patriots only won by 16 and the Cowboys were able to win by 25. I'm certainly not comparing the two situations because I feel like that NE/NYJ line was crazy considering that was a division game.

This column certainly isn't about point spreads, but it's more about expectations. Yes, the Cowboys were expected by everyone to come into this game and blow out the Dolphins … and that's exactly what they did.

This was really just the flipped version of the first game with the Giants. The Cowboys got off to a fast start and led 35-10 before a late touchdown by the Giants made it look a little closer. Same thing last week in Washington where the Redskins cut it to 10 in the final minutes.

This was just the opposite of that. The Cowboys came out in the third quarter and the Dolphins never had a chance.

Dak Prescott now has a perfect passer rating in the third quarter alone, and he showed it once again, completing his first nine passes out of the locker room and leading the offense to a pair of quick touchdown drives.

I seriously didn't expect the offense to miss a beat even with Michael Gallup banged up, but it wasn't the same early on. The receivers weren't getting open and it was forcing Dak into some uncharacteristic decisions, like that forced interception.

But in the second half, they all got on the same page again. Even on Randall Cobb's 74-yard touchdown that was called back, he was running free and made a nice run to the end zone. Still, the Cowboys kept up the aggressiveness and Dak and the offense were back in the scoring column just a few minutes later.

And switching to the defensive side, that group did exactly what you want. They allowed just 283 total yards, only two field goals, forced a turnover in the red zone and registered three sacks.

What's interesting about the defensive production is that the Cowboys didn't exactly own the time of possession. Usually, blowout wins like that result in one team having the ball around 35-40 minutes of the game. But Dallas had it for just a minute more, meaning the defense put together a nice run considering they were on the field just as much.

But the best part of all it, the Cowboys are 3-0 and they've had three relatively easy wins – and everyone can see that they can play much better.

That's what is scary. It's not so much that they haven't really played anyone great. It's that they're 3-0, have yet to play a fully clean game, and still have the ability to blow teams out.

Yes, it's going to get harder than this – probably in the next two weeks. But just imagine if the Cowboys find a way to play even better.

Should be fun!