Dallas Cowboys: Finally, Dallas is considered legitimate contenders

Cooper Rush #10 of the Dallas Cowboys talks with head coach Mike McCarthy (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Cooper Rush #10 of the Dallas Cowboys talks with head coach Mike McCarthy (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

Through the first seven games of the season, the Dallas Cowboys have had an interesting ride on their way to winning six in a row. Every game had its own plot, subplot, and obstacle as they found a way to overcome in each game.

From the beginning, the media gave the Cowboys no chance in competing against the Tom Brady– led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While they lost 31-29, it was a closely contested game that shocked the critics. Throughout the season, the critics moved the goal posts in each game with corny narratives to measure the Cowboys as a being a legitimate team.

But after beating the Minnesota Vikings with backup quarterback Cooper Rush, the Dallas Cowboys are truly legitimate contenders moving forward. There’s no arguing it. The Cowboys have checked all of the boxes with a 6-1 record as one of the best teams in the NFC. Just like in their previous games where they were the underdogs or had to prove a point, the Cowboys turned a negative into a positive with an outstanding performance by defeating a decent Vikings team on the road.

The Dallas Cowboys have won six consecutive games to prove they are one of the best teams in the NFL.

Once Dak Prescott was ruled out in the Vikings game, Dallas became instant underdogs. Rush had never started an NFL game, let alone a game on the road against a stout defense. Sounds familiar? Another obstacle to face. Another game as the underdogs because nobody wants to believe this Dallas team is for real.

But after coming off a bye week and beating the New England Patriots in overtime on the road, the win over the Vikings put the NFL on notice that Dallas cannot only beat you with Dak under center, but they can do it on the road with a backup quarterback that balled out! My Gawd!

to the national media, every game was a litmus test for Dallas, so losing to the Vikings would validate their doubt about the Cowboys, and keep them from looking foolish for doubting. Ok. Whatever! 

to the national media, every game was a litmus test for Dallas, so losing to the Vikings would validate their doubt about the Cowboys, and keep them from looking foolish for doubting.

But when career backup Rush threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns. And Dallas’ defense held the Vikings offense to seven percent on third downs to upset the Vikings in primetime, it put Dallas in the conversation as one of the elite contenders.

Winning a road game without your franchise quarterback in the NFL is one of the hallmarks to becoming a true championship -caliber team after all.

But that doesn’t happen unless there’s a coaching staff to implement a dynamic game plan. Head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff deserves all of the credit for preparing this team for victory.
Coach Big Mac allowed Rush to air it out against the Vikings defense with 40 passes for 325 yards and two game-breaking touchdowns.

Coach Big Mac didn’t go conservative with Rush because that would’ve played right into the Vikings hands. Instead, Rush did his best Dak impersonation and utilized all of Dallas’ offensive weapons in Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson, and Dalton Schultz.

Yes, Rush had one interception, lost a fumble, and almost had two more interceptions to boot; however, Coach Big Mac had confidence in Rush and would rather go all in to win the game than playing for mediocre field goals with an up and down kicker.

Say whatever you want about Coach Big Mac but he coached aggressive, made the right decisions, and overall put his players in the best situation to win…which is what the defense did so effortlessly.

Dallas’ defense deserves its praises, too.

If you told me Dallas defense would hold Kirk Cousins to 184 passing yards, and allow the Vikings to convert only one third down, I wouldn’t believe you. Dallas’ defense stepped up and really shut down the Vikings offense without even getting their customarily turnovers. Being an opportunistic defense has been their calling card and it covered up their major flaw of giving up too many big plays over 20 yards.

Even though they couldn’t produce any turnovers, the defense did what championships teams do and find other ways to beat you by stopping the run, getting a timely sack, and taking away your primary receivers-like Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.

Without forcing any turnovers, I didn’t see Dallas’ defense stopping Cousins, but the defensive staff knew the day would come when Trevon Diggs wouldn’t be able to return a pick-6 to pay dirt, Randy Gregory wouldn’t get a strip sack, and a turnover-prone quarterback like Cousins wouldn’t gift wrap this defense an interception in a critical moment.

As a result, this game proved to the defense that they have different types of ways to beat any offense-whether it’s a high-powered one or a good one like the Vikings.

In conclusion,

Last week I wrote an article about how they have been battled tested early and that will pay off later for the Dallas Cowboys. But to my surprise, I didn’t know it would come as soon as it did against the Vikings.

Dallas’ victory showed how depth on their roster, how their coaching staff can adapt, and how they now have a bona fide backup signal caller that is probably better than most NFL team’s backups. Prove me wrong.

I’m not saying Rush is the best backup in league history, but for right now, he’s part of a winning formula that is needed for this team to be a contender in the top-heavy NFC. Every contender wins a difficult game that catapults them to a higher level than their competition, and the victories pile up like the money in Jerry Jones bank account.

Rush’s performance reminds me of a Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day of November 28th, 1991 when backup quarterback Steve Beuerlein started in place of an injured Troy Aikman. As the underdogs against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Beuerlein completed 14 passes for 217 yards and threw the game-winning touchdown to Hall of Famer Michael Irvin. That win was the second of Dallas’ six- game winning streak that included an upset victory over the Chicago Bears in the playoffs.

Dallas Cowboys coaching staff faced their biggest challenge to date. light. Read

Next. Penalties are an issue Dallas, and the NFL, must address. dark

Dallas lost to the Detroit Lions in the playoffs that year, but the game against the Steelers made them legit as a team and propelled them to win the Super Bowl the following year. As for the Dallas Cowboys, the win over the Vikings has definitely propelled them as legitimate contenders this season, and that’s all America’s Team need in taking their first step to winning another Lombardi Trophy. BOOM!

  • Published on 11/04/2021 at 16:01 PM
  • Last updated at 11/04/2021 at 14:14 PM