Three weeks into the season, and the Dallas Cowboys sit alone atop the NFC East.
Let me repeat that: The Dallas Cowboys, at 2-1, are in first place in the division.
Have I died and gone to heaven?
Perhaps I have, because not only are the Cowboys leading the NFC East, but they actually earned it. For once it is not a fluke! The Redskins and Giants are both looking rusty and in a huge hole at 0-3, while the Eagles, who looked hard to beat with their fast-paced offense Week 1, also have a losing record at 1-2.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, looked DOMINANT this Sunday in their 31-7 victory over the Rams. Not a single part of the game went wrong for Dallas, while St. Louis couldn’t do a single thing right. The Cowboys looked like a well oiled machine, one ready for the playoffs after less than a month of the regular season. Now there’s a surprise for Cowboys fans!
The offense was firing on all cylinders — from the pass game to the run game, Dallas was efficient moving the ball down the field and putting points on the board. A week after concerns arose about the lack of a run game, the Cowboys put fans’ fears and analysts’ qualms at ease with a 175 yard rushing game by DeMarco Murray, the best performance by a running back in Week 3. The offensive line provided the holes for Murray, who broke tackles left and right and had two runs of over 35 yards as well as a touchdown to compliment his big day on the ground. Meanwhile, Tony Romo matched Murray’s effort with an efficient passing attack, throwing for 217 yards and 3 TDs to three different receivers. Limiting their turnovers and capitalizing on their attack both in the air and on the ground, the Cowboys offense picked apart the Rams defense for a touchdown in every quarter and 31 points by the time the final buzzer sounded. If Romo and Murray can keep the troops rolling like this, the Cowboys should be a hard matchup for any defense in the league.
Not to be outdone, the Cowboys defense was outstanding as well, limiting the Rams to a single first down and only 18 yards in the first half. St. Louis scored only one touchdown all game, and their offense was frustrated to say the least. An offensive line that had not allowed a single sack in the first two weeks of the season allowed SIX sacks on Sunday, leaving Sam Bradford with nothing to do but shake his head in awe at the Cowboys defense. DeMarcus Ware had two of those sacks for the Cowboys, and became Dallas’ all-time franchise leader in sacks with 115. Other players got in on the action as well: Defensive End Kyle Wilber got his first career sack, George Selvie and Orlando Scandrick each had a sack, and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher continues to impress this season with another sack of his own. Linebacker Sean Lee may have been beaten for the touchdown, but he made his presence on the field felt by recovering a St. Louis fumble, while cornerback Morris Claiborne saved a touchdown by batting down a ball in the endzone. This unit played tough and played well together, making things difficult on the St. Louis offense. If they continue to play this well, quarterbacks and offensive coordinators around the league have their work cut out for them… and Monte Kiffin will have earned himself a raise!
All in all, the Cowboys game on Sunday was fun to watch because the Cowboys finally looked like a solid team, one that was prepared to battle on both sides of the ball. No more missed opportunities, blown assignments, or careless turnovers — this looked like a new Dallas team, one that is deserving of the title “America’s Team.” Although the season is far from over and there will likely be some hiccups as the season continues, the Cowboys have a great foundation to build upon after this game — in fact, watching the tape should be fun! With the Texas Rangers poised to miss the postseason for the first time in years and the Mavericks in a bit of a rebuilding stage, dare I say the Cowboys are looking like the best team in Dallas these days?