Skip to main content


Presented by

Mick Shots: These winning streaks don't come easy


FRISCO, Texas – On the drive here to The Star on Wednesday, my thoughts were to write about how difficult it is these days to produce long winning streaks in the NFL.

That's because the Cowboys are riding a four-game winning streak heading into Sunday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles and needing a fifth consecutive win to tie Philly for first place in the NFC East at 10-3.

The proof being that after Week 13, currently the longest active winning streak in the NFL is four games, belonging to the Cowboys, Colts and 49ers. That's it, just four.

Now, Kansas City owns the longest winning streak this season at six games, those coming after losing the season opener to Detroit. The next longest is five games, occurring six times this 2023 season, the Eagles putting up two of those on their way to their current 10-2 record.

Next, it's the four belonging to six teams, followed by just three current active winning streaks at three: Packers, Rams and Dolphins.

Just are so many factors involved streaking like this. Where games are played. Weather. Injuries. The funny bounce of the oblong ball. Dealing with 53 individuals on a team's active roster. Running into the strong arm of an overzealous officiating crew. You just never know, most having nothing to do with just talent.

Well, and believe me, there are no clairvoyant genes in my body. But at exactly 11:03 a.m., the email lands in my inbox from Scott Agulnek, Cowboys director of football communications, stating, "Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy experienced abdominal pain this morning that warranted further evaluation and resulted in a diagnosis of acute appendicitis. He is currently slated for surgery this afternoon."

You got to be kidding me. Guess needed to include in my list of detracting winning-streak factors head coach/offensive play-caller illness, too. Of all things, and this week especially, the Cowboys meeting the Eagles this season for the second time around in a nationally televised Sunday night game with a good chance to have a record number of eyeballs involved in Sunday night history, Micah Parsons claiming the urgency, "No matter what, we just need to win."

McCarthy's surgery was successful and should be back on his feet Thursday. And all insist, including defensive coordinator Dan Quinn stepping in for McCarthy's Wednesday media session and saying somewhat rhetorically that McCarthy is expected to be on his play-calling feet by Sunday with, "You think that Irishman will miss THIS game?"

Not a chance. Practice went on as usual. Will do so on Thursday for sure, and who knows, maybe McCarthy watches from a window or golf cart, as DeMarcus Lawrence explained, "Shoutout to COVID, helped us learn how to adjust."

And as Gilda Radner famously said on Saturday Night Live back in the days, "It just goes to show ya. It's always something."

In the end, certainly a timely "shot" anyway.

  • Quinn-ism: Maybe Quinn was right, saying just on Monday in reference to his defense's resiliency in the 41-35 come-from-behind win over Seattle Thursday night when making a crucial fourth-quarter turnaround with three consecutive fourth-down possession stops after the Seahawks scored on six of their first eight possession, one of those two stops a missed field goal, with this: "Man, do I love how tough we are, what we stand for and how we're ready to get it on at any time, in any situation. There's a lot to be gained from that." Coaching staff now included.
  • Real Pro: In his 10th season, congrats to Lawrence being nominated by the Cowboys as their Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year candidate, the award won this past season by Dak Prescott. But with the Pro Bowl voting just beginning, would hope players, coaches and the voting fans out there will appreciate Lawrence's overall defensive play by voting him into the Pro Bowl. This award shouldn't be all about sacks, like voting for the defensive ends with the most sacks each year. Should be about just playing football. And while Lawrence does have four sacks, he also is playing some kind of football, the best Cowboys defensive line run-stopper, with 36 tackles, three for losses, 34 QB pressures and two passes broken up. Plus, it's about when you make those plays, like the fourth-and-1 stop at the Cowboys' 46-yard line against the Seahawks with 7:04 left to play and Dallas trailing 35-30. Seven plays later, the Cowboys scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown and two-point conversion to take a 38-35 lead. When asked about the Pro Bowl, D-Law said, "Naw, (been there). I'm trying to win the Super Bowl," going on to say about being a run-stopper, "I'm playing real football." That he is, that he is.
  • Dak Stats: Just understand what Dak Prescott has been doing over the past seven games compared to the first five, the Cowboys just 3-2 and coming off that 42-10 loss to San Francisco. At that point his passer rating was 87.5, ranking 19th in the NFL, averaging 212.2 passing yards a game and totaling five passing touchdowns. But in the next seven, he slashes 310.4 passing yards a game/8.7 yards per attempt/70.5 completion percentage/21 passing touchdowns/121.5 QB rating. No wonder the Cowboys are 6-1 over those seven games. In fact, overall, Dak's 108.3 QB rating ranks second in the NFL, 26 TD passes first, his 70.1 completion percentage tied for second and his 1.5 interception percentage fifth. Only Niners Brock Purdy with a higher QB ranking at 116.1, so Dak higher than anyone else you want to mention. Plus, the Cowboys and Niners with identical 9-3 records.
  • A Leg Up: Hopefully, the Cowboys don't wear out rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey's right leg with all this scoring of late. Not only has the former soccer player set the NFL single-season record to start a career by making all 26 of his field goal attempts but having made 36 of his 39 (third most) extra points gives him the NFL scoring lead among kickers with 114 points. But get this, Aubrey also leads the NFL with 79 kickoff attempts and 76 of those touchbacks. Add it all up, and already with five games remaining, he has kicked the ball 144 times in 12 games. While other position players get breaks, there is no resting a kicker, right? Only one of them, and the only break he gets is not working on kickoffs during the week of practice. That is one valuable leg.
  • Tidbits: Last time the Cowboys won five straight games in a single season was 2018, Weeks 10-14, and that was the second most since 2008, the Cowboys winning those 11 straight in Dak's rookie season of 2016 … If the Cowboys just win one more game to reach 10 victories, this will be the first time they have totaled double-digit wins in three consecutive seasons since six straight from 1991-96 … And with an outside chance to clinch a playoff berth by beating the Eagles, along with about five to six other team scenarios, this would be the first time the Cowboys have qualified for the playoffs in three consecutive seasons since those same 1991-96 seasons … Cornerback DaRon Bland leads the NFL with eight interceptions this season with five more games to play, needing just three more to match the NFL's most since Everson Walls had 11 in 1981 and Trevon Diggs' 11 in 2021 … Plus, Bland's two-year total of 13 so far is third most in franchise history in a player's first two NFL seasons, Walls leading with 18 (though seven of those in the strike-shortened nine-game season of 1982) and then Diggs with 14 in 2020-21.

Since we are on the topic of cornerbacks and interceptions, this week's final word goes to Quinn, giving kudos to Cowboys defensive backs coach Al Harris, a two-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro during his 15-year NFL career and now in his 11th coaching season, the past 10 in the NFL and fourth with the Cowboys. Harris has done an amazing job with young corners Diggs, Bland and Jourdan Lewis and certainly had a huge influence on former Cowboys veteran corner Anthony Brown (2016-22) during his four years here.

"If I was playing corner, (Harris) is the guy I'd call, say, 'Teach me,'" Quinn began the other day. "There are certain people you are around in your life. If you were playing that position, that's who you would want to train you. If I was playing corner, I'd want Al Harris to teach it to me."

Judging from these two yougin's production, a well-deserved shot of praise.

Related Content