ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys had to rally in overtime to knock off their in-state rivals, but this team still improved to 4-1 after a 20-17 overtime win over the Texans.
Most of the writers picked Dallas to win this game, but here are the instant reaction from the staff of DallasCowboys.com.
David Helman: There's no way it should have been that dramatic, but a win is a win and the Cowboys are in rare territory – multiple games above that familiar .500 line. This wasn't a statement win, and I'm not sure the Texans are going to be a team that will stand out on the final resume. But the Cowboys had to have this, simply because it was a home game against a beatable team. You've got to feel so much better about 4-1 than 3-2, considering the trip to play the defending champions that's looming next week. The thing I think I'll remember most is that the Cowboys got signature plays from all their signature guys. DeMarco Murray continued to shoulder the load, Tony Romo's Houdini escape from J.J. Watt and touchdown to Terrance Williams was classic. And of course, Dez Bryant and Dan Bailey did what they're famous for to win the game in overtime. It didn't need to be that dramatic, but I don't think anyone will complain that it was.
Bryan Broaddus: As the week went along and the more that I studied the Texans I really thought their offensive line was the weakness of their squad. I especially thought the guards
Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks were the ones that needed to be attacked throughout this game. Early in the contest I thought that Henry Melton was able to cause some problems for them as did Nick Hayden and Tyrone Crawford. My gut feeling was that Melton would be able to use his quickness to take advantage of how slow footed these Texans guards were. Melton was active but he didn't get the two sacks in the game that I thought he might. I believe that some of that had to do with Bill O'Brien protecting Ryan Fitzpatrick from making game changing mistakes. I still believe that Melton will have that big game sack wise that we all know he is capable of.
Rowan Kavner: The Texans' first three wins may not have been against top-notch competition, but with a stout defense, they've shown they can keep games close. I thought it would be a close, low-scoring contest the Cowboys would win by less than a touchdown, and that's what happened. The Texans made it closer than the Cowboys would have liked with 10 points in the fourth quarter to send it to overtime, but Dan Bailey wasn't going to miss a chance to win twice. The look of the defense without Rolando McClain is major, and his loss was depleting when he went out late. But the Cowboys' defense did enough throughout and in overtime to give the offense a chance. DeMarco Murray once again went over 100 yards, and he'll continue to be expected to do just that until someone can slow him down. So far, no one's been able to, and the offensive line's display is tremendous to watch. This win was huge to give the Cowboys a cushion before heading to Seattle next week.
Nick Eatman: Had it been for Dez Bryant, I would've had a rough afternoon. Yes, I saw the Cowboys winning this game but not as close as it turned out to be. The Texans did a great job of hanging in there and Ryan Fitzpatrick was one of the reasons. Houston didn't put the game in his hands that often but they made sure Arian Foster did the work. Still, the Cowboys were able to win this one because the defense stepped up in overtime. And, the only thing I got right, I did have Dez doing "Dez-like things" and that turned out to be the difference in the game. Sometimes, just having the best player on the field can prove to be a good thing. It was in this case and that's why the Cowboys are 4-1.
Here are the Week 5 gut feelings from staff writers posted on Saturday:
David Helman: At the risk of sounding dramatic, this is a game that a team with postseason aspirations should win. The Cowboys are at home against the Texans – a team ranked No. 25 in run defense this season, which DeMarco Murray has to be happy about. The Cowboys have the better quarterback in this matchup, they have the better offensive line and their defense might be as healthy as it has been all season – even without Bruce Carter. The Texans are off to a hot start, but their offense has yet to look like a world-beater. Ryan Fitzpatrick is averaging 225 yards per game, and he has five interceptions. Arian Foster is coming off a hamstring injury that has hindered him for two weeks. I bet J.J. Watt will make two big plays, but it won't be enough. The Texans are not a bad team, but this is about as winnable a game as you could ask for in the NFL. If the Cowboys are for real, they should win. I'm thinking they will – something like 27-17.
Bryan Broaddus: All offseason we heard from Rod Marinelli and Monte Kiffin about the importance of having an under tackle or three technique to make this 4-3 scheme really hum. When Henry Melton was signed there were those that believed he could be the missing piece. Melton has battled his way back from injury to be a nice rotational player but we are all still waiting on that dominate, disruptive one we saw with the Bears. Both Texans guards Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks struggle with quick movement. In studying Melton play these previous four weeks – it appears that his quickness is returning along with his confidence in his ability to really cut it loose on his rush. My gut feeling that we will see that Henry Melton of old for the first time this season and he will finish the game with two sacks of Ryan Fitzpatrick in a Cowboys victory.
Rowan Kavner: DeMarco Murray's done it four straight weeks to start the season. There's no reason to believe he won't or can't make it five straight weeks with 100 rushing yards and a touchdown. Until a team stops him, that has to be the expectation. Houston sits 21st in total defense and 22nd in total offense, yet the Texans have still found a way to get to 3-1. Despite those stats, I don't think the Cowboys are about to run away with this. The Texans don't have an elite offense, but they've got a very respectable defense led by arguably the best defender in the league. I think Dez Bryant goes off and Lance Dunbar scores his first touchdown of the year. The Cowboys win a close, low-scoring contest at home by less than a touchdown, taking the pressure off next week's trip to Seattle.
Nick Eatman:We've seen the Cowboys win three games in a couple of different ways. We've seen them get out to an early lead and hang on for a [embedded_ad]
double-digit win. We've seen them get down big and rally back. I think the Cowboys win this game in another way. I can see a close game with the Texans for a while and then in the third quarter that's when they start to pull away because of their running game. I can also see Ryan Fitzpatrick make a few mistakes later in the game – let's be specific and call an interception by Barry Church – and the Cowboys are able to get a good, solid win. Rolando McClain will have his best game, leaving people to ask on Monday if Sean Lee can play on the weak-side when he returns. On offense, I can see an eight-catch game for Jason Witten but Dez will do Dez-like things. This is the kind of game that separates the Cowboys from recent years. Win it, and they've given themselves cushion to go to Seattle. Lose it, and they'll have a potential 3-3 record staring them in the face. But games like this – against teams like this, in months like this and in stadiums like this – typically go the Cowboys' way. I see no exceptions this week.