On 2nd Thought

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On 2nd Thought: Lots Of High Praise To Go Around

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ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys have won three straight games – all with Cooper Rush as the starter. But it's the defense that is also carrying the Cowboys during this stretch without Dak Prescott.

The Cowboys beat the Commanders for the first time, dominating on defense for a 25-10 win.

Here's a quick analysis from the Cowboys' staff writers after the game:

Nick Eatman: I can say this game went pretty much as I expected. Figured it would be tough early, but this bend-but-don't-break defense is barely even bending that much. And it's not only Micah Parsons, but the rest of the pass-rushers are getting home, too. I thought Trevon Diggs played an incredible game – he always seems to do that against Washington. But overall, this defense is looking nasty. The offense is doing its part and the special teams came through for the most part, especially with the made field goals by Brett Maher. The Cowboys were clearly better than the Commanders and it took four full quarters to prove it.

Patrik Walker: It was a winnable contest for the Cowboys and, while they didn't make it easy on themselves at times, they were able to do exactly what they needed to and bully Carson Wentz into a bad game - one skewed by a touchdown and a lot of late-game yardage with the contest out of reach - moving to 3-1 on the season. Trevon Diggs landed his second interception in as many games and two critical pass break ups while the defensive front lived in Wentz's face without having to pay rent. And while Diggs was putting the clamps on yet another star receiver - i.e., Terry McLaurin - his offensive counterparts were thrilled to see the return of Michael Gallup, immediately making his presence felt in the process. Gallup's touchdown swung momentum and gave Dallas a lead they'd never relinquish as Cooper Rush, with the assistance of big games from CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown, became the first QB in Cowboys history to win his first four starts. In the end, there was no shortage of contributions from key players and role players alike, and Brett Maher made sure special teams had a say in the outcome as well - in a game that saw Dallas defeat their bitter foe in all three phases.

Rob Phillips: The run game was a big factor in the Cowboys' previous two wins. You can argue that wasn't the case Sunday against Washington — they ran for only 62 yards and averaged 2.1 per carry — but that's not looking at the larger picture. Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was persistent with it again — 29 attempts — and the threat of the run opened up plays downfield, such as Noah Brown's 45-yard catch in the third quarter that led to a field goal. As quarterback Cooper Rush said, "Everything's based off the run game." That's something the offense wants and needs to continue when Dak Prescott returns from his thumb injury.

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