Here is a deeper look at five statistics from the Cowboys’ 27-20 victory over Tampa Bay:
• 3-5 – After starting the year at 3-5, the Cowboys have now won six of their last seven to capture the NFC East. This is the first time they’ve ever won the division when posting a losing record through the first half of the season, and is just the fifth time overall in their history that they’ve had a losing record through the first half of the schedule, but came back to finish .500 or better on the year. Last season, they also started 3-5 and wound up 9-7. In 2012, Dallas started 3-5 and eventually finished 8-8. Playing a 14-game schedule, in 1974, the Cowboys were 3-4 and ended at 8-6, and in 1964, the team started 2-5 and finished 7-7.
• 380 – This marked only the fifth time in their history that the Cowboys gave up at least 380 yards of total offense to their opponent, gained no more than 240 yards of offense themselves and yet still won the game. The last time it happened came in 2013 when Dallas defeated the Washington Redskins, 31-16, despite being outgained 433 to 213. Prior to that, it happened during the 1982 season when the Cowboys won 14-9 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers even though they were outgained 382 to 185. The only other two times it has happened both came in 1963. They defeated Washington, 35-20, (468-221) and the St. Louis Cardinals, 28-24 (443-214).
• 1 – Late in the fourth quarter, Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence was called for defensive delay of game, the 5-yard flag turning a fourth-and-1 for Tampa Bay into a first down. How rare is that? According to NFLPenalties.com, which tracks the league’s infractions, it’s the first time defensive delay of game has been called in any NFL game this season. In fact, over the last 10 years, it’s been called only 33 times, 12 of which came during the 2009 campaign. Over that decade-long stretch, only one other time has Dallas ever been called for defensive delay of game, that coming during the 2015 season.
• 457 – Michael Gallup finished the game with a team-high 53 receiving yards off of five catches. That effort now gives him 457 receiving yards for the season, which makes him only the ninth rookie in Cowboys history to record at least 450 receiving yards in a season. Gallup now joins Bob Hayes (1,003 in 1965), Herschel Walker, who began his career in the USFL before coming to Dallas (837 in 1986), Mike Sherrard (744 in 1986), Terrance Williams (736 in 2013), Antonio Bryant (733 in 2002), Michael Irvin (654 in 1988), Dez Bryant (561 in 2010) and James Dixon (477 in 1989) in this exclusive rookie club. He’s also only the 11th rookie in club record books to total at least 30 catches in a season, along with Walker (76), Hayes (46), Dez Bryant (45), Antonio Bryant (44), Williams (44), Sherrard (41), Jason Witten (35 in 2003), Ezekiel Elliott (32 in 2016), Irvin (32) and Don Perkins (32 in 1961).
• 95.6 – Ezekiel Elliott finished the day with 85 rushing yards, bringing his average to 95.6 rushing yards per game for the season, which will lead the NFL this year. This will mark the third straight season in which he will lead in the league in rushing yards per game, having totaled 98.3 yards in 2017 and 108.7 in his rookie year of 2016. He is now one of only four players in NFL history to top the league in that category in three straight seasons, joining Eric Dickerson (1986-88), Earl Campbell (1978-80) and Jim Brown (1957-59), all of whom are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In addition, the win over the Buccaneers was the 40th game of Elliott’s NFL tenure. With 4,048 career rushing yards, he is also only the eighth player in NFL history to rush for 4,000 yards in his first 40 games, joining Dickerson (33), Brown (38), Campbell (39), Edgerrin James (39), Adrian Peterson (39), Clinton Portis (39) and Chris Johnson (40).
· With the win, Dallas clinched its 37th season with a winning record and three consecutive winning seasons (2016-18), its longest since a streak of five straight from 2005-09.
· The victory also served as the fifth consecutive win over Tampa Bay at home and improved the Cowboys’ home record against the Buccaneers to 12-1, including playoffs.
· It also concluded Dallas’ 2018 record against the NFC South at 3-1 and 58-32 all-time.
· It was the Cowboys’ fourth straight win at home. They finished their 2018 regular season home slate with a 7-1 record to tie the 2016 team for the best record in AT&T Stadium history.
· Noah Brown made his first career start and caught one pass for 6 yards.
· Ezekiel Elliott’s rushing yards also allowed him to become the eighth player in team history to reach 4,000 career rushing yards (4,048).
· Elliott reached 4,000 rushing yards in his 40th career game, becoming the fastest Dallas Cowboy to reach that number, surpassing Emmitt Smith’s 47.
· Elliott now has 1,434 rushing yards for the season, moving past Smith’s 1999 rushing output (1,397) for the 10th-most rushing yards in a single season in franchise history.
· With 109 scrimmage yards, Elliott reached 2,001 scrimmage yards on the season to become the fourth player – fifth time – in team history to post 2,000 scrimmage yards in a single season.
· Elliott’s 2,001 scrimmage yards topped Smith’s 1993 total (1,900), Tony Dorsett’s 1981 total (1,971) and his own 2016 total (1,994) to establish a single-season career best and boast the fifth-most scrimmage yards in a season in team history behind DeMarco Murray (1,845 in 2014), Smith (2,148 in 1995, and 2,048 in 1992) and Herschel Walker (2,019 in 1988).
· Elliott’s 109 scrimmage yards marked his 11th game with at least 100 scrimmage yards this season to tie his 2016 single-season career-best and tie the fifth-most games by a Dallas Cowboy in a single season in team history. Smith had 14 in 1995; Murray 13 in 2014; Smith 12 in 1992; Walker 12 in 1988; Dorsett 11 in 1981; Smith 11 in 2016; and Michael Irvin 11 in 1995.
· Elliott’s 23 touches gave him 381 on the season to move past Dorsett’s 1981 total and Smith’s 1996 total (both with 374) for the seventh-most offensive touches in a single season in team history behind Murray (449 in 2014), Smith (439 in 1995; 432 in 1992; 418 in 1994; and 414 in 1991) and Walker (414 in 1988).
· Elliott became the 11th player in franchise history with 1,000 career offensive touches (1,003).
· Elliott’s five receptions gave him 77 on the season to move past Ron Springs’ 1983 total (73) and Walker’s 1986 total for the most receptions by a Dallas running back in a single season in franchise history:
· Elliott’s 24 receiving yards gave him 567 on the season to move past Dan Reeves’ 1966 total (557) for the fourth-most receiving yards by a Dallas running back in franchise history behind Walker (837 in 1986; 715 in 1987) and Springs (589 in 1983).
· Randy Gregory recovered his first career fumble in the third quarter that led to a touchdown by the offense.
· He also collected a sack and a forced fumble.
· Darius Jackson made his Cowboys debut and returned one kickoff for 20 yards.
· Brett Maher made two field goals, including a 59-yard field goal, the second-longest by a kicker in Cowboys history. Maher has now made the longest (62) and second-longest field goal (59) in team history.
· Maher made one field goal from 50 yards (59) to tie Dan Bailey’s 2013 for the most 50-yard field goals made in a single season in team history:
· Dak Prescott completed 80 percent of his passes (20-of-25) , the third time in his career he has posted a completion percentage of 80.0 or better.
· Prescott’s four rushing attempts gave him 71 on the season to move past Quincy Carter (68 in 2003) for the most by a Cowboys quarterback in a single season.
· Prescott’s rushing touchdown tied his 2016 and 2017 totals for the most rushing scores by a Cowboys quarterback in a single season in team history.
· Jaylon Smith returned a Jameis Winston fumble 69 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
· The return tied DeMarcus Ware’s 69-yard return at Philadelphia on Oct. 8, 2006 as the seventh-longest fumble return in team history.
· In total, it was the longest defensive touchdown by the Cowboys since Bryan McCann had a 101-yard interception return for a score at the New York Giants on Nov. 14, 2010.
· It was the first time a fumble has been returned for a touchdown since Anthony Spencer did so at Washington on Dec. 28, 2014.
Leighton Vander Esch
· Leighton Vander Esch was credited with 15 tackles to crack the top-10 single-season tackle totals by a Cowboys defender, his 163 tying for eighth. As a note, coaches film will be reviewed this week and that number may change. He ranks behind only Eugene Lockhart (222 in 1989), Bradie James (2002 in 2008, 181 in 2009), Sean Lee (174 in 2016), Dexter Coakley (173 in 2002), Dat Nguyen (172 in 2001), Bob Breunig (167 in 1979) and James (163 in 2010).