The Dallas Cowboys continue to score without the injured franchise quarterback Dak Prescott.
And Cooper Rush made history in Sunday’s 25-10 win over the Washington Commanders.
Rush becomes the first quarterback in Cowboys history to win the first four beginnings of his career, breaking a draw he had with Hall of Famer Roger Staubach and three-handed Jason Garrett.
He was 1-0 last year and is now 3-0 in 2022 as he helped the Cowboys save their season after losing Prescott to a fractured thumb in the 19-3 season opening defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“It’s fun. Trying to have fun,” Rush said. “The NFL doesn’t let you have much fun. You have to go week after week and play. The 4-0 is just, I mean, I would say that the defense and all the breaks you take is just a kind of luck. Win QB stats, they are what they are. It is a team game”.
Rush led the Cowboys’ fourth quarter victories against the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants in the previous two weeks.
Against Washington, Rush struck the Cowboys in the second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown pass to catcher Michael Gallup and then opened the game with a 30-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb in the fourth quarter.
He also deserves a Cowboys defense that continues to build relentless pressure and keep opponents out of the end zone.
The Cowboys conceded only four touchdowns in four games in 2022 and recorded two interceptions against Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz, two sacks and 11 quarterback hits.
More importantly, the Cowboys are 3-1 headed for next Sunday’s game against reigning Super Bowl champions Los Angeles Rams and can continue to be patient with Prescott’s imminent comeback.
Prescott has yet to throw a soccer ball at any speed. He could arrive this week. His status will be determined by his ability to grab, throw and snap with his surgically repaired right thumb.
If he doesn’t play the Rams, he should be ready by October. 16 battle at the Philadelphia Eagles.
Because of Rush, owner Jerry Jones and the Cowboys are breathing easily either way.
“I can’t say enough about how his game has done for this team this season to give us a chance to sit here after these last three games with the ball and maybe have the opportunity we have for the rest of the year,” he said Jones. “It’s great. It is much more than what I would have expected ”.
5 things from the 25-10 Dallas Cowboys win against the Washington commander:
Cowboys now have three legitimate threats to the receiver
Now that Michael Gallup is back in the lineup, the Cowboys now have three legitimate threats to the catcher, who will pay dividends regardless of who the quarterback is.
Gallup was the good story on Sunday with a touchdown in his first game after suffering a torn ACL last January.
But its impact on the Cowboys attack cannot be underestimated as opposing defenses can no longer just focus on stopping the No. 1 CeeDee Lamb receiver.
Not only did Gallup have a touchdown, but he also received a pass on a crucial third down conversion to keep the score. He also drew a passing interference penalty, setting a 30-yard touchdown pass for Lamb in the third quarter.
Lamb received six passes for 97 yards in the game and was completely open on the touchdown pass as the Washington defense fell asleep on him with so many other weapons to worry about.
Noah Brown, now firmly established as third receiver, continued his start to the season on a high note with three catches for 61 yards.
The running game struggles, but the Cowboys follow it
The Cowboys did not fare well against Washington. But they continued to follow the run and it was part of a balanced attack that allowed for big plays in the passing game.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 49 yards on 19 carries. Tony Pollard was even worse with 6 yards out of eight carries.
Washington’s defense was focused on stopping the run and forcing Cooper Rush to beat them with the pass.
Rush certainly did enough with a 45-yard pass to Noah Brown and a 30-yard touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb. Michael Gallup drew two pass interference penalties in single cover on deep balls against a concentrated Washington defense to stop the rush.
“They want to stop our running game and today we were able to get some great passes of game action on the pitch,” Rush said. “They have a great front. I mean, that front is as good as it can get. We knew it was going to be a tough challenge to run, but we stopped and opened some of the deepest shooting plays, the one with Noah in the middle and other opportunities. Everything is based on the racing game. We have to keep running “.
Micah Parsons goes without a bag; the defense continues to build up the pressure
For the second time in four games, Micah Parsons opened the game by playing most of his shots at the defensive end in a plan to put pressure on quarterback Carson Wentz.
Parsons did not return home but was part of a run that gave Wentz and Washington’s offensive line the attacks.
The Cowboys were only awarded two sacks, one from defensive tackle Neville Gallimore and one from defensive end Dante Fowler. But they forced Wentz to two intentional grounding penalties and had Sam Cosmi stopped twice for false starts.
Parsons and defender DeMarcus Lawrence made their presence felt with a series of hits on the quarterback.
The defense opened the season by giving up just four touchdowns in four games, with no more than one in each.
“They’re the reason we’re winning, it’s just plain and simple,” Rush said. “Those guys, I mean, 10 points in the NFL is pretty impressive. We gave them, I think they had a great position on the pitch all day. And our defense kept them out of the end zone, continuing to get them off the pitch. As an offense, knowing they have their backs to you like that is huge. One of their messages is that we all have our backs. They walk along the promenade “.
Trevon Diggs gets another pick, closes Terry McLaurin
Cornerback Trevon Diggs has returned to his All-Pro form. He recorded his second interception in as many games after leading the NFL with 11 last season.
The pre-halftime interception against Washington was a thing of beauty as Diggs appeared to be an offensive player who ran along the ball and made a jumping interception.
The show took the breath away of owner Jerry Jones.
“Let’s talk about how he has the knack to become the catcher when he’s in the air,” Jones said. “Now that was in slow motion for almost all of us. It actually wasn’t, but you got such a clear shot of him that he became the catcher as the ball was thrown and in the air. Everyone in the league will see it; that quarterback, you have two receivers running out there when yours is out there.
“Once again I just shook my head and said it’s such a visual of his unique ability to play high ball, get him in the air and position himself to catch the ball. He becomes, as we know, and I don’t want to be corny, but he becomes the receiver out there. “
He also completely closed Washington No. 1 receiver Terry McLaurin, who had two catches for 15 yards.
Diggs has 13 choices in his last 21 games.
Cornerback rookie DaRon Bland, who was playing nickelback for an injured Jourdan Lewis, suffered a detour and pass interception.
Donovan Wilson went on to safely blow up with his confident tackle in place of the injured Jayron Kearse.
Kicker Brett Maher continues surprisingly
Remember returning to training camp when the Cowboys were so bad at kickers that they had to publish an all points bulletin for help.
Brett Maher won a fight between four kickers to face Lirim Hajrullahu on the pitch. It just wasn’t a contest.
And he hasn’t looked back since the beginning of the season. Maher made four kicks against Washington from 53, 45 and 28 and 29 yards. Maher is now 10 out of 11 this season with four brands of 50 or more. The only lack of him was from 59 in week 3.
Maher (2018) and Dan Bailey (2013) together hold the Cowboys record for most field goals of 50 yards or more in a season of six.
His only flaw of the day was an extra point stuck in the second quarter.
This story was originally published October 2, 2022 3:23 pm.