LOS ANGELES – It can't be understated how long this team has been waiting for this type of win.
The conversation can't have been overlooked. The Dallas Cowboys have had a horrible time winning games that their offense can't carry. It's a streak that dates back to 2018, and it says the Cowboys aren't going to win unless their offense scores 30 points.
That script flipped on Sunday afternoon, as the Cowboys won a game in which they only scored 20 points. And, to hear it from Dak Prescott, the Chargers' final tally of 17 points shouldn't have even been so high.
"You say 17 points, I say 14," Prescott said. "I gave them three with the interception and they returned it and put themselves in range, and the defense didn't let them get anything else. That's what it's about."
The phrase "complementary football" tends to get thrown around too much these days, but these are the type of assists the Cowboys have been missing in recent seasons.
It doesn't feel like a coincidence that this Week 2 contest finished with the exact same score as last year's Week 1 opener against the Los Angeles Rams – both games played at SoFi Stadium, with defenses overseen by Brandon Staley.
The Chargers played with two high safeties for much of the afternoon, forcing Prescott to settle for 23 completions for just 237 yards, with only a handful of passes traveling further than 15 yards.
"It's tough knowing that he's not going to give you many shots and that he's going to play in the grey area," Prescott said. "They do a good job in the secondary and with disguises and getting to where they want to be."
Instead, the Cowboys leaned on their ground game – not to mention a fairly impressive effort from their defense.
It's fair to note that the Chargers had 17 potential points wiped out by penalties, and it's worth remembering that L.A. converted three backbreaking third-and-long opportunities.
And yet, whether it was a Micah Parsons sack of Justin Herbert or a Damontae Kazee interception in the end zone, the Cowboys were able to reliably force the Chargers to settle.
"A big turnover in the red zone when it was needed, and we were able to come back out and get three," Prescott said. "It's just important to play off of one another. When one team makes a big play, the other unit has to come on there and do a good job of picking up their back and taking advantage of them making that play."
It was an adventure getting there, but the offense did do its part to wrap things up. It's wild to think about the fact that the Cowboys had 14 points at the end of the first quarter and scored just six the rest of the way. But however zany the final possession of the day might have been, Prescott did enough to guide the Cowboys into position to win the game.
"Knowing that we had the ball in our hands is all we can ask for," he said. "That's what I talked to the offense about, and that's what I've just said time and time is that's the position we wanted to be in."
For as much of an adventure as special teams have been through two weeks, it was only fitting that a 56-yard field goal secured the victory. It sounds strange to say, but the three phases of this Cowboys' bounced off each other beautifully to help them win a game they probably should not have.
It's too soon to call it a trend, but it's something the Cowboys haven't enjoyed often recently. And it's a hck of an encouraging sign.