It wasn't simply that the Dallas Cowboys took care of business in defeating the struggling Indianapolis Colts, but the fashion in which they did was akin to killing a single ant with a sledgehammer, a sword, an ax, a baseball bat and, well, you get the picture. It was utter domination as the Cowboys saddled up and rode the Colts to a 54-19 victory on Sunday night.
The Verdikt — It began with the Cowboys choosing to play with their food, so to speak, and ended with them taking bites out of the very plate the food was sitting on. Miscues helped the Colts stay competitive in a 21-19 contest to begin the fourth quarter, but the beating that happened thereafter could've led the Colts to file assault charges — the Cowboys going on to score 33 unanswered points over the remainder of the final quarter.
In all, it was a seven-touchdown event for the Cowboys offense and the defense, who sacked Matt Ryan three times, hit him seven times and grabbed a total of five takeaways, contributed as well to the scoreboard with Malik Hooker going full Optimus Prime against his former club. If not for early miscues in all three phases of the game, Dallas probably scores 60+ in this game, and I'm not even remotely kidding. Literally the best offense in the NFL right now, they're finally matching serve to their dominant defense, now imagine dropping Odell Beckham, Jr. into this.
It's provocative. It gets the people going.
Unsung Hero(es) – I could easily go with someone like DaRon Bland here, or one of the many other standouts from Sunday night's crime scene investigation, but my eyes go to someone who's value was again put on full display; and after returning from injury, no less. It's Anthony Barr and Damone Clark, the former having not played a snap since suffering a hamstring injury in the Week 8 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Kudos to the Cowboys coaching staff for doing exactly what I predicted/hoped they do in regards to the rotation of Barr with talented rookie fifth-round pick Damone Clark — renaming Barr as starter but allowing Clark to take the bulk of the work as the former works his way back to form. The recipe saw Barr cook early with a second-quarter sack on Ryan and Clark made his presence felt thereafter in both pass and run defense.
Hell, let's also throw in Leighton Vander Esch here and make it a three-pack for what the linebacker unit did in helping to contain Matt Ryan and All-Pro running back Jonathan Taylor.
Milestone Moment – How many great QBs can Dak Prescott pass in one night? Turns out the answer was two, including Roger Staubach. But Dak was able to break a tie with Staubach (153) for most career touchdown passes. He then added two more, which also passed Danny White (155). So with 156 career TD tosses, Dak is now nine behind Troy Aikman (165) for second place.
Stat of the Game — The Cowboys scored 33 points in the fourth quarter of tonight's win, the most fourth quarter points in franchise history. Dallas' 33 points in the final quarter are also the second-most fourth quarter points by an NFL team since the NFL merger. The Cowboys' previous fourth-quarter best was 25 points back in 2006 at Carolina, the first career start for Tony Romo.
Kustodian's Kloset — Be as willing to praise as you are to critique. In that spirit, I'd be remiss to not utilize this week's 'Kustodian's Kloset' to run around hi-fiving the Cowboys coaching staff and players for not only getting a handle on the penaltydemic that's run rampant in Dallas recently, but doing so in amazing fashion against the Colts.
The Cowboys went from a season-high (13) in penalties on Thanksgiving to a season-low (3) only one "week" later, and that was in a game officiated by Carl Cheffers' crew — a unit that throws the most flags in the entire NFL and one the Cowboys have continually failed to win a game under. That all changed on Sunday, though.