LONDON – That's how you handle some business.
After all, that's what we kept hearing about this week in London – a business trip to get the team back on track.
Well, that's exactly what this Cowboys team did Sunday evening (or morning depending on your part of the world) to a Jacksonville team that just isn't ready to compete. Trust me, they've got young talent that will be good in time, but not yet.
And give the Cowboys credit for taking care of a team that had no business beating them – they put the smackdown on them in all areas. Well, maybe not a smackdown in special teams, which saw a safety from the punt team.
All week long I kept mentioning the huge difference between 7-3 and 6-4. I know it's only one game in the standings, but for some reason, and maybe it had something to do with getting on a 10-hour return flight, coupled with two weeks before the next game, it just seemed like a monumental difference if the Cowboys didn't win this game.
Maybe they felt the same urgency. And honestly, you could see it in the pregame warm-ups. This team was as fired up to play this game as any that I can recall.
Curfew issues? Seriously. The Cowboys didn't have a mandatory curfew until the night before the game – like all weeks – proving once again how a few media types just want to be heard, regardless if they sniff the true story or not. Oh well, if that lit a fire under Bryant or his teammates, maybe they should miss more non-curfews again.
This Cowboys team was focused from start to finish this week. Then again, the Cowboys didn't just get back to business … they got back to normal. And this year, normalcy involves Tony Romo, who may or may not have been 100 percent on your "I-feel-great-today" meter, but he felt great enough to light up the Jacksonville secondary and take just about anything he wanted. (Until the third quarter when two officials decided to change the pass-interference rules and just not call one when Terrance Williams got hit early in the end zone).
But with Romo back, everything is better. DeMarco Murray runs the ball better. Dez Bryant gets open a little easier. Guys like Gavin Escobar and Cole Beasley are found over the middle. And somehow the offensive line holds its blocks for a half-second longer.
Maybe it's because the Jaguars aren't exactly the Cardinals. They're not the Redskins, either. No, Jacksonville showed a couple of nations why they are now a 1-9 team with a legitimate shot at the No. 1 overall pick.
But fumbled punts inside the 10 are costly. Fumbles at midfield when the offense has some momentum are also killers. The Cowboys made sure to take advantage. Good teams find a way to do just that.
And after 10 straight weeks of playing football, I think we can seriously say this is a pretty good football team. Did we need them to beat Jacksonville like this to prove that? Yeah, I think so. More than anything, I think the Cowboys needed that for themselves. Confidence was reeling a little when you lose two straight games at home, especially when you were favored to win both.
So travel all these miles to London. It was a long flight here, seemingly longer bus rides, practicing about 30 minutes from the first hotel, then switching to another hotel – all the while trying to stay focused on this Jacksonville team that was supposed to be much better than its record.
Well, the Cowboys had a slightly shaky start, then just rolled in the second and third quarters. After that, it was cruise control for a convincing win.
Yeah, the Cowboys needed that in more ways than one. Confidence-wise for sure, but also in the standings. Sorry, but there aren't any more Jacksonville types on the schedule, which features four road games, including three in the division.
[embeddedad0]I don't know exactly how good the teams will be down the stretch, but division games are tough and Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Washington will most certainly be cold.
The point is, this was a must-win if the Cowboys have a real shot of making the playoffs. But also, it was a must-dominate if they're going to be the type of team that can do anything if they can get that far.
They Cowboys won. They dominated. And now they can get their rest for the real stretch run.
Not before another hour-bus ride and 10-hour flight, of course.