Where has this offense been?
Despite facing one of the toughest defenses in the NFL, the Cowboys’ offensive unit was masterful in a blowout 40-7 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Unfazed by a team that ranked first in the league in yards allowed (292.2) and third in points given up (17.2), Dallas erupted for 378 total yards of offense while posting its season high for points in a game.
Dak Prescott was outstanding behind center, throwing for two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 107.5 passer rating while throwing for an efficient 183 yards. Cole Beasley was the primary beneficiary, hauling in nine passes, which equaled his personal best, for 101 yards and two touchdowns. In all, eight different targets caught passes in the game.
But as good as the Cowboys were in the air, they were even better on the ground. Prescott ran for 82 yards, a career high, while Ezekiel Elliott topped the century mark yet again, finishing with 106. As a team, Dallas rushed for 206 yards.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the Dallas defense outplayed their more-heralded counterparts, applying pressure on the Jaguars’ Blake Bortles throughout the day. The unit recorded three sacks, seven quarterback hits and two turnovers, as the Jaguars managed only 204 total yards of offense with just 65 rushing yards.
The Cowboys didn’t waste time, as they jumped out to a 24-0 lead, putting points on the board on each of their four possessions in the first half. Dallas went 51 yards in nine plays on their first series of the game, but stalled at the Jacksonville 32-yard line, so had to settle for a 50-yard field goal from Brett Maher, his 12th consecutive field goal made.
That was then followed by the Cowboys getting great starting field position at the Jaguars 48-yard line after the Dallas defense stuffed the opposition on a three-and-out. Seven plays later, Prescott was in the end zone. The snap before, rookie wide receiver Michael Gallup appeared to have made a highlight-reel catch in the end zone for a touchdown, but upon review, he did not get his second foot down.
No matter, Prescott kept the ball on the next play and darted around the left end 17 yards for his first rushing score of the season.
By midway through the second quarter, the Cowboys already had more points, 17, than what they’d averaged per game through the first five weeks of the season, 16.6. That came thanks to a masterful drive from Prescott, who completed 4-of-5 passes for 51 yards, with Elliott adding another 26 yards rushing.
The quarterback’s final pass of the possession was a 17-yard strike to a wide-open Beasley, the shifty receiver splitting two defenders with a dive into the end zone for his first touchdown of the season.
Dallas got a little help from Jacksonville on its next drive, as the Cowboys were punting away at their own 49-yard line. But a too many men on the field penalty on the Jaguars instead gave the home side a first down.
Given the gift, the Cowboys completed a lengthy 16-play, 78-yard drive that ate up 7:14 off the clock. Dallas went on to convert two more third downs and a fourth-and-1 as well, the final of those third-down plays resulting in a 9-yard pass to Beasley in the end zone, his second touchdown of the day giving the Cowboys their largest lead at the half since the 2014 season.
Jacksonville finally got on the board midway through the third period when Bortles found wide receiver Dede Westbrook for a 34-yard touchdown pass, but the Cowboys were able to respond with a 13 quick points to squash any thoughts of a Jaguars comeback.
The first three points capped a nine-play 47-yard drive that resulted in Maher splitting the uprights from 44 yards out. The second, though, came courtesy of safety Jeff Heath.
Bortles threw an ill-advised pass into double-coverage where cornerback Byron Jones broke up the attempt. He caused the ball to pop up into the air and into the waiting of arms of Heath, who returned it 35 yards to the Jacksonville 8-yard line. That led to a chip-shot field goal for Maher and a 30-7 advantage.
Continuing its dominance, the Cowboys then got another turnover on Jacksonville’s very next snap. This time Jaylon Smith forced receiver Keelan Cole to fumble and Jourdan Lewis fell on the prize at the Jaguar’s 31-yard line, marking back-to-back games he’s recorded a fumble recovery.
Again, Dallas took advantage of the Jacksonville error, reaching the end zone this time in just three plays. Elliott got the honors, bursting off left tackle the final 15 yards to pay dirt.
The game well hand, there was nothing left to do but run out the clock. Maher eventually rounded out the scoring by extending his streak to 15 with a career-long 55-yard field goal.
With the victory, the Cowboys evened their record at 3-3 with all three wins coming at home. This marked the first time since AT&T Stadium opened that the team has won its first three home games of the season. Dallas now heads to Washington to take on the rival Redskins at 3:25 p.m. next Sunday.