Dallas Cowboys: Being battled tested early will pay off long-term

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

After watching the Dallas Cowboys rip off five consecutive wins to go 5-1 and snag a three-game lead in the NFC East, one would have to admit that this season has been very impressive. Even the Cowboys’ season-opening loss to the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a confidence boaster. Considering the Cowboys botched a few kicks and Brady still needed a last minute come-from-behind drive to beat Dallas, this Cowboys team could easily be 6-0 right now.

While the Cowboys have won five straight games and averaged over 30 points during that span, each opponent the Cowboys have faced brought unique challenges to test the legitimacy of this talented Cowboys team. Hey, just ask the critics  on ESPN and other networks who weren’t sold on Dak Prescott and head coach Mike McCarthy at the beginning of the season. 

These early wins for the Cowboys have battled tested them and will only benefit them later in the season when they’re facing stiffer competition and possibly playing for the number one seed.

Through the first six games of the season, the Dallas Cowboys have been battled tested.

To the surprise and dismay of many Cowboy haters, the Dallas Cowboys being 5-1 is more about the way they have won those games, than the actual record itself. Even in the loss to the Bucs, the critics were amazed at how Dallas’ offense shredded the Bucs secondary. Not only did Dallas battle back and take the lead late in the game against the Super Bowl-defending champs, but they did it with ease, Dak made the right decisions, head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t panic, and the entire team was on the same page.

What coach goes for it on fourth down deep in their own territory? Or goes for it on fourth and goal instead of kicking a field goal? It’s a coach that plays to win instead of playing to lose.

Hanging in there with the legendary Brady and the Bucs defense gave Dallas the confidence/moxie it needed in winning its next five games. The following week Dallas played in another nail biter as the underdogs against the Los Angeles Chargers and their prolific quarterback, Justin Herbert. Against the Chargers, the narrative was that Dallas’ defense couldn’t stop Herbert and the Chargers would basically man handle Dallas’ offense just enough to win.

The Chargers defense played mostly in a two-deep zone to take away Dallas’ passing attack, but that backfired as Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard ran wild for 198 yards on 31 carries, two touchdowns, and averaged over five yards a carry. The defense stepped up and made crucial interceptions and timely sacks on Herbert to seal the win.

The most important take away from Dallas’ first two games is how they adapted to the challenges the opposing team presented and overcame them. By default, it allowed Dallas to up the ante and play with its other strengths. For example, running the ball against the Bucs was a moot point, so Dak aired it out and put Dallas in position to win the game. The opposite happened in the Chargers game as Dallas relied on its running game. Pick your poison baby!

Finding different ways to win a game against tough competition with an opportunistic defense speaks volumes about the confidence of this team. And when it comes to Dallas’ defense, its calling card is forcing turnovers with NFL interception leader Trevon Diggs at the helm. No, this defense isn’t top-five by any stretch, but whenever it gives up a big play and falls behind, it makes up for in the best way possible.

The same can be said about Dallas’ wins over inferior teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, the Carolina Panthers, and the New York Giants (Gnats). Except for the Eagles’ game, Dallas had to climb out of a hole before blowing out the Panthers and Giants. Both games were close at one point, but to the credit of Dallas’ coaching staff, they dialed up the right plays to put the game out of reach!

Yep, go ahead and say it that “if Dallas is so good none of those games would have been close!” My response is – this is the NFL and none of these games are easy wins, absolutely none of them.

These are elite players with tremendous athleticism coached by highly paid veteran coaches to study and take away what your team does best. Hmmm…ask the Tennessee Titans how did they lose to the lowly New York Jets. Forget that, ask Brady about how close he came to losing to Dallas as a touchdown favorite entering that game!

In conclusion,

Just like any fan, I’d rather see the Dallas Cowboys blow out every opponent in convincing fashion in the same manner as the Alabama Crimson Tide does every Saturday afternoon in the SEC. However, that’s not the reality in the NFL. Watching Dallas win close games as a team that has its own imperfections equates to a team that is focused, well coached, and that believes in themselves and what the coaching staff is selling them.

Say whatever you want about Coach Big Mac and his flaws, but this is a coach that believes in his quarterback and the offensive weapons supporting him. What coach goes for it on fourth down deep in their own territory? Or goes for it on fourth and goal instead of kicking a field goal? It’s a coach that plays to win instead of playing to lose.

I’ll take that coach any day over a conservative coach that claps louder than a thunderstorm in east Texas.

Sure, I questioned some of Coach Big Mac’s decisions because of the timing, but that strategy is an extension of the coach believing in his players winning the game because they’re more than capable of achieving that goal. Period.

Read. The Dallas Cowboys are dangerously predictable in this personnel group. light

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We all know the main reason why Dallas’ games have been close is because its defense ranks 28th against the pass and gives up big plays, but this team as a whole is finding ways to come through when it matters the most. These close games are preparing the Dallas Cowboys for the finish line, and being battled tested now will serve its purpose when it matters the most. BOOM!

  • Published on 10/28/2021 at 12:44 PM
  • Last updated at 10/28/2021 at 12:44 PM