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Eatman: So Yes, This Team Can Win With Offense


ARLINGTON, Texas – The reason sports-talk radio exists is because of games like this. The reason why the TV is filled with talking-heads that will have various opinions about the same game – is because of games like this.

And I'm not knocking the practice at all. Obviously, we have more than a handful of podcasts on DallasCowboys.com and I'm a regular guest on the Cowboys' flagship radio station to talk about this team three times a week.

Games like this will keep us talking for a long time, which is good because we've got 14 days before the Cowboys play again.

But I have this feeling there's going to be a few people out there that will call this 49-29 victory over the Bears as an "ugly win" for the way Chicago moved the ball. Or maybe there will be questions about this menacing defense now that the Bears ran the ball like they did.

And you can bet money on tomorrow's shows – both on the radio and TV – will be asking if it's time to bench Zeke and play Tony Pollard.

All valid points, of course.

To me, I think Sunday's win over the Bears was one of the more impressive wins we've seen from this team all season.

In fact, it might be the most important one of all.

Because we know this defense can win games for the Cowboys – they've done all season long. But this time, the offense came to party, too.

Until Sunday, the defense has been working the grill, providing the entertainment and even bringing the beer. The Cowboys offense has provided the ice and maybe a few bags of chips.

Well, the offense brought the steaks today, and added some ribs, chicken and even some shrimp.

Whether I'm just hungry or not, the Cowboys were able to "eat" on offense Sunday against the Bears and the timing couldn't have been better. What a perfect time for the Cowboys to check off the "can they score some points" box as they head into bye week.

We all know the defense is going to carry this team all year and into the playoffs. But there will be those games when it needs some help. The defense needed more help in Philadelphia. It will need some in a handful of other games, too.

But on Sunday, the offense came to play from the jump. If there was rust from Dak last week, he was rather shiny and clean against the Bears, lighting them up for 28 straight points on the first four drives. The Cowboys haven't done that since Romo led the offense to a dominant win over the Colts back in 2014.

Right out of the gate, the Cowboys did whatever they wanted on offense, and that was with Tony Pollard and Malik Davis running the rock.

Sure, the offense slowed down in the middle of the game when it looked like the Bears were clawing back in it. Ok forget looking like ... they had clawed back in this game and trailed 28-23. But the offense made a huge statement, thanks to a balanced drive that mixed in some creative play-calling. We saw Schultz make a big catch down the field and then KaVontae Turpin had a big run, followed by a fake to Turpin that led to a 12-yard catch by CeeDee Lamb. After that, Pollard scored again to push the lead back to 12. From there, that was pretty much the game.

But that drive alone showed the ability to regain control of a game that was on the rocks – mainly because the defense had some issues with the Bears' running attack.

Ok, let's get to those "issues" from a big-picture standpoint. My earlier reference about "talk radio" is that it's certain the Cowboys' run defense will be attacked once again, especially after the Bears rushed for 240 yards.

But hopefully, context will be added at some point. Maybe some common sense as well. The Bears can't throw the ball – at all. The reason they lead the NFL in rushing because it's the only thing they do well. So they just do it – and do it – and do it again.

The Cowboys get up 28-7, and the Bears run the ball. They get back in the game, thanks to some timely penalties and a turnover. They scratch and claw and it's 28-23.

Then the Cowboys get up big again, 42-23 and what do the Bears do? Run the ball. No matter the score, the Bears are going to run the ball.

Think about those games a few years ago when the Cowboys defense gave up a ton of points and Dak would rally back, only to come up short. In those games, he would pass for like 450-500 yards.

But in this game, Justin Fields threw for 151 yards, despite being down by two-three scores for the majority of the game.

Of course, you're going to run if that's all you're going to do. So I don't really think this is a huge problem for the Cowboys.

And since we're talking about the run, I'm sure the topic of Zeke vs. Pollard will dominate the storylines all week – and probably two weeks.

Yes, Pollard has done well with these opportunities and he should continue to get the ball. He's the best playmaker on this offense and that includes the other skill players. But let's also remember, how the Cowboys are using the runners. In the last game against Detroit, Zeke had 15 carries and Pollard had 12. Maybe we're at the point where it flips. Maybe Pollard is going to get a few more, because he has earned it.

But if we're expecting Pollard to get 25 while Zeke gets 5-6, it's not going to happen. Zeke is still a more complete back with EVERYTHING a running back is asked to do, but there's no mistaking the fact that Pollard is way more explosive and dynamic and when the Cowboys give him more touches, he produces. In two real starts in his career, Pollard has five touchdowns, including three on Sunday.

I think he is deserving of more snaps, especially with Zeke being banged up with a knee. But there is a role for both backs – we've seen it all season long and we will continue to see it.
This is not a quarterback controversy where one guy plays. It's not kicker and punter. The Cowboys need both Zeke and Pollard – sometimes on the field together.

I think this is a non-issue... right now. Maybe after the season when it's time to figure out their contract situation, that's a different story. But for now, the Cowboys need both backs to shine, and Pollard definitely did that on Sunday.

Overall, I'm calling this a really good win for the Cowboys. They showed another way to win, something that has been lacking most of the season.

By no means is this an "offensive" team now. But most certainly, the offense had a day to remember. And if anything, gave us all something to talk about.

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