Dallas Cowboys overcome themselves in dramatic fashion

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

For three quarters, the Dallas Cowboys found themselves mired in a sloppy affair against the New England Patriots. Even still, after all the penalties, turnovers, and self-inflicted pain they put themselves through, they held a tenuous 20-14 lead at the end of the third quarter in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Keep in mind that the Cowboys amassed 567 total yards on offense, 32 first downs, and 39:17 in time of possession, all of which dwarfed New England’s totals. Yet it took a manic fourth quarter and overtime for Dallas to get out of their own way and eke out a thrilling 35-29 victory against Bill Belichick’s Patriots.

As a positive omen, the Dallas Cowboys managed to win an eminently losable game.

There’s no way New England should’ve stayed on the same field with Dallas yesterday. But somehow or another, rookie quarterback and all, they seemed poised to hand the Cowboys their second loss of the season. To be sure, a sense of dread permeated the air once Patriot quarterback Mac Jones connected with wideout Kendrick Bourne on a 75-yard touchdown to reclaim the lead with a little over two minutes to go.

Now, perhaps this is where past Cowboys’ teams would’ve folded. That seemed to be the prevailing attitude in my house. In any event, quarterback Dak Prescott engineered a man-sized drive that featured a 13-yard completion to receiver Cedrick Wilson on fourth down to keep the march alive. Once in position, kicker Greg Zuerlein made a 49-yard field goal to get us to overtime.

So we’ve already covered the fact that Dallas won. We’ve acknowledged that penalties and turnovers very nearly cost them the game. And sure, recent iterations of the team probably would’ve found a way to lose yesterday. But they didn’t. So far this season, this is the most encouraging characteristic of Cowboys’ football. Don’t be mistaken. This team has yet to put a sixty-minute effort on the field. Through it all, they’re still 5-1. Moreover, wins like yesterday’s can define a team’s character for weeks and months to come.

The lesson here is that this is a good football team. I know a lot of us sit around and wait for the other shoe to drop with this franchise, and for good reason. All it takes is a misstep, usually on national television, to bring the haters out once again. Of course, this could happen before it’s all said and done. NFL seasons are set up for a catastrophic moment, or five. But we’ll worry about that if or when it comes.

Enjoy this while we can. This is going to sound homer-ish, but this year does indeed feel a bit different. The offense is unstoppable, and the defense, while holey at times, is still getting turnovers at rates unforeseen in these parts for eons. You don’t have to squint to see a team that can continue to improve. Their best ball is still ahead of them, and that should serve notice to the rest of the conference.

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So the Cowboys hit the bye week on an emotional high. It would’ve been a sour taste for two weeks around here had they fallen short. The only troubling item in the aftermath was the news that Prescott was in a walking boot afterwards due to suffering a calf strain on the last play. For his part, Prescott maintained that it wasn’t a big deal, so I’ll take his word for it–for now. Just get better and keep this train rolling.