EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –There are many memorable lines from the 90s movie Jerry Maguire, but one of my favorites is when Tom Cruise's character is pleading with his client, Rod Tidwell, to be a little more accommodating both on the field and off to land a new contract.
"Help me, help you."
Obviously that phrase can go be used in just about any setting. But it certainly applies here with this Cowboys team and their passing game that has been rather MIA in recent weeks.
Maybe what was missing more than anything was a little bit of help. That had to be what Dak Prescott was thinking, and perhaps even telling his receivers and running backs that make up his supporting cast.
For this day, they listened.
They helped their quarterback, and for that, helped themselves even more.
It's OK to say that Dak needs help in order to be the kind of player we think he can be. Last year, I wasn't really sure and I don't think anyone else was either about just who helped each other more.
Some thought it was Ezekiel Elliott. Some thought it was Dak, including the voters who made him Rookie of the Year.
I think we all can agree now that Zeke's presence helps out Dak more, and the entire functionality of the offense.
But what has been just as evident over these five weeks without Zeke is that no one else around the quarterback has consistently been making plays. But that changed on Sunday.
And it took awhile to get going. For nearly two quarters it was shaping up as one of the worst halves of football by an entire receiving corps. Dez Bryant dropped an early pass and then another deep ball that likely could've been a touchdown. Cole Beasley followed with a drop, as did Noah Brown. And Terrance Williams had a couple of passes on the first drive that were questionable – not exactly drops but plays that certainly would've helped the quarterback.
That was the problem here for the first half: Dak wasn't getting any kind of help.
And then, with one sudden brush-off, it all changed. Dez just went into beast-mode after a short gain and completely shrugged off cornerback Brandon Dixon as he made his way into the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown to tie the game.
There wasn't anything special about the pass, other than the awareness to beat the blitz and find the hot route with Dez.
"I just got the ball to him, and he did the rest," Dak said about Bryant, who hasn't been making those types of run-after-catch plays this year.
To be fair, no one really has, but obviously Dez is considered the leader of that group, and he's the one expected to make them.
But maybe he was a leader by example. Because with the score tied 10-10 early in the fourth, Beasley got into the "RAC" act with a 54-yard catch-and-run, thanks to some downfield blocking by Terrance Williams, among others. Once again, nothing fancy about the play, other than beating the blitz and finding Beasley in the open. That's when the little guy went to work with quickness and shiftiness that few players in this league have.
It almost seemed like he was waiting for some Giants defenders to tackle him as he kept looking around, as if he was wondering why he was still running. But he didn't stop until he got to the 20-yard line.
That type of game-changing play was something we just haven't seen during this Zeke suspension. Beasley's play turned the game around as Jason Witten scored on the very next snap, and the Cowboys wouldn't look back.
To put the icing on the cake, the Cowboys got a backbreaking play from Rod Smith, who is no longer Jaylon's brother. He's a playmaker of his own, evident by an 81-yard catch over the middle to put the game out of reach.
Not to sound like a broken record, but once again, the play was simple: A short throw by Dak to a player who found the open space and then did the rest.
I truly hope this isn't sounding like I'm downplaying Dak's performance. He played well and hung in there early on when things weren't going his way.
But even he said it himself after the game that his receivers made him look good on this day. He had a career-high 332 passing yards, but about half of that was the RAC from those three big plays. Our writing staff estimated about 160 total yards of run-after-catch with those three plays, nearly half of his entire total.
Again, it's not taking anything away from Dak, but just proving the point that for him to be his best, his playmaking buddies around him need to do that – make plays.
They did on Sunday. And they're going to need to continue to do that over the next three games if the Cowboys have any intentions of playing four, or more.