Photo Courtesy of Ethan Gullet

Graphic Courtesy of Ethan Gullet

The Miami Dolphins came into Dallas with more energy than expected. Unlike their previous two games, they did not immediately look outclassed or overwhelmed. 30 seconds into the game, Josh Rosen heaved a bomb to Devante Parker, who made a jaw dropping one handed catch over Chidobe Awuzie. Rosen had replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick as Miami’s starting quarterback, and it looked like the Dolphins had come to play. The Cowboys responded quickly and drove down the field to kick a field goal. The second quarter became a defensive stalemate, but the Cowboys pulled away in the second half, scoring 21 unanswered points.

The final score: 31-6

The Players of the Game: Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard

The result of the game was as expected. The Cowboys took care of business. Through the first two games of the season, they relied on Dak Prescott to make plays and put them into position to win. Prescott played well, but Dallas demolished the ‘Fins on the ground, rushing for 242 yards as a team. Elliott and Pollard both rushed for over 100 yards and averaged over six yards per carry. They were the reason that the Cowboys won on Sunday. It was encouraging to see Elliott and Pollard succeed together. They could become a very effective one-two-punch as the season goes on. Defending an effective air attack and dealing with two bruisers on the ground would be a headache for even the best defenses in the league.

Defensively, the Cowboys continued to play with a “bend but don’t break” style. They stuffed Miami’s rushing attack and forced Rosen into difficult situations. Some big plays were allowed, though. Long runs and occasional deep passes moved the Dolphins up and down the field at times. While yards have been given up occasionally, the defense makes it hard for opposing teams to score. Defensive end Robert Quinn made his Cowboys debut, and immediately boosted the pass rush. The defense managed three sacks — one by Quinn — and put more pressure on the quarterback than in weeks past. The Quinn and Demarcus Lawrence duo upfront should help the Cowboys reestablish their pass rush. So far, the defense has held opponents to 17, 21 and six points. The quality of the opposition has to be mentioned however, as the three teams the Cowboys have beaten so far have a combined 1-8 record. It’s good that the team hasn’t stumbled, but they haven’t been truly tested yet. Next Sunday night will be their first game against a worthy opponent.

This upcoming game against the New Orleans Saints is extremely important for Dallas. They have three or four games on their schedule that will determine what their ceiling is this season; the Saints game is one of them. A hostile crowd, a talented team and a Super Bowl winning head coach on the other side will give a playoff-like atmosphere on Sunday night. The Saints did lose Drew Brees to a thumb injury in week 2, but backup QB Teddy Bridgewater should not be underestimated. Bridgewater is one of the better backups in the league and was a quality starter in Minnesota before a major knee injury sidelined him. He threw for two touchdowns and 342 yards in Seattle last weekend and is easily better than any QB that Dallas has faced so far. Superstars Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara will also be hard to stop, especially Kamara, who has a knack for breaking games open with his speed and elusiveness. The Saints don’t have a spectacular defense; they’ve given up more then 26 points in each game so far. Prescott and the offense should be able score often, but the Saints have a similar ability when it comes to scoring. Sunday night’s game will be a shootout; both teams have major offensive talent and the defenses will struggle to contain them. This game will come down to the wire, but the loss of Drew Brees can’t be overstated. New Orleans is a good team, but without their hall of fame quarterback, they lose the edge they would’ve had against the Cowboys at home. Unless Bridgewater plays out of his mind, the Cowboys will pass their first major test of the season.

Dallas. 34-31 in Week 4

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