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Eatman: This "Bus Driver" Thrives In Rush-Hour


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – As soon as the word "controversy" was uttered this week, most people initially thought about what this might do for Dak Prescott. What does this franchise quarterback think about his owner welcoming a situation like that.

For me, I wondered about Cooper Rush.

Here's a guy that has still only played two full games in his career and he's trying to keep this thing afloat before Prescott comes back. And now, because of a tongue-and-cheek comment made by Jerry Jones about wanting him to play well enough to create a potential dilemma down the road, Rush now had to answer about some kind of controversy between him and Dak.

Oh, and take that pressure with you on Monday Night Football against a 2-0 divisional rival.

I thought to myself in pregame, 'Man, we're really about to find out what Cooper Rush is made of.'

Well, maybe he's made of steel. Or ice water, or whatever these playmakers are made of. Because Cooper Rush is indeed one of those.

Sure, he might seem like the "bus driver" type and maybe that's the case. But if so, he was driving the hell out of that bus up and down the field. It just didn't seem like his "passengers" wanted to cooperate for a while.

Yeah, the Cowboys didn't score a touchdown until the third quarter and only had two for the game. But honestly, it wasn't because Rush wasn't balling out. He had a beautiful throw to CeeDee Lamb in the second quarter that should've been a touchdown. And if the officials hadn't decided to overlook Noah Brown getting mugged in the end zone, there would've been a second touchdown.

Rush had some other deep throws that were on point to Lamb and Jalen Tolbert, but the receivers didn't make the play.

I'm not sure if anyone else felt this way, but the entire first half and into the third quarter, I kept looking at the scoreboard and surprised it was only 6-3, or 6-6. The Cowboys seemed like they were 10-14 points better than the Giants, but it just wasn't clicking.

But through it all, Rush never got rattled. The Cowboys' defense was keeping them in the game, despite giving up a third-quarter touchdown to put the Giants up 13-6.

That to me, is when Rush really thrived. The crowd is going nuts at MetLife, as the Giants fans can start to smell a 3-0 record and a win over the Cowboys that hasn't happened much in the last five years.

They've got the Cowboys' offense on the ropes and ready to get after Rush and quite possibly take over the game.

But what happened? Rush actually did the taking over. That 17-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb on first down of that drive is one of those "hidden" plays that might not even make the SportsCenter highlights. But it changed the game. Rush made a great throw to drop it in to Lamb on the sideline. Let's not forget, Lamb's confidence wasn't at the highest point after two big drops in the first half.

But Rush went right to him and they had a big first down that led to the game-tying touchdown. On that drive, you just saw the poise of Rush, who took what the Giants were giving him. Down by the goal line, he checked out of a play to fire a quick screen to Noah Brown, who got the ball inside the 7-yard line. From there, the Cowboys were able to punch it in to tie the game.

And after that, the Cowboys were in control, even if they weren't in the lead.

But Rush was running the show and his teammates were finally playing along.

One of the biggest moments in the game occurred in the fourth, with the game still tied at 13 and the Cowboys facing a fourth-and-4 at the Giants' 41.

Up in the press box, none of us thought Rush would snap the ball. No way, he's risking this at this point in the game and at that spot on the field. The way the Cowboys were playing on defense, it made sense to punt it away and pin them back.

But apparently we didn't realize the confidence Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore has in Cooper Rush. And the confidence Rush has in himself to make those throws to his receivers.

Lamb caught the ball right at the sticks for a first down and then caught two more big passes, including a touchdown to take the lead.

Don't look now, but the Cowboys have a really good backup quarterback in Rush. I'm not sure anyone really thought that was the case by watching him in training camp or the preseason. But this guy knows how to win – whether it's on the road or at home, on Sunday afternoon, Sunday night or even on Monday night.

We don't need to be talking about controversies. What we need to talk about is the Cowboys have found more than one quarterback who can win a game – no matter the time or place, or the pressure that is placed upon him – both on and off the field.

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