A victory over a winless team in Week 9 of the NFL season is nearly irrelevant, right? More than that, itâ€™s expected, at least by those on the outside looking in. For a generic NFL fan, the expectation was that the Dallas Cowboys should have just rolled over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, but when you dig a bit deeper, youâ€™ll notice that quite a bit stands out. The most important part being that the Week 9 victory over for the Cowboys over the winless Browns, was actually one of if not the most impressive win theyâ€™ve had in 2016.
Sounds crazy to consider, but think about the factors.
The Cowboys came into this game after a prime-time, overtime victory against one of their biggest rivals in the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a game in which rookie quarterback Dak Prescott finally looked like, well, a rookie, and the Cowboys had to rally in the fourth quarter to get the win. After such an emotional win, they were then asked to keep the intensity up and head on the road to take on a team whoâ€™s debatably the worst in the entire NFL.
Just to tack on to that, Dallas was then looking at another road game with the dangerous Pittsburgh Steelers after the Browns game, so essentially it was sandwiched in the middle of two pretty important games.
So, howâ€™d they respond? With a 35-10 victory in which they dominated all over the field and on both sides of the ball.
Prescott, for starters, has found this incredible success all the while letting the conversation of whether it should be him or veteran QB Tony Romo under center moving forward. Even with the noise from the media, all the fourth-round draft pick has done this year is throw for 2,020 yards, 12 touchdowns, two interceptions and rushed for four additional scores. To top it off, heâ€™s posted quarterback ratings of 103.7 or better in six of the eight games this season.
Even putting Prescottâ€™s incredible play to the side, the team rallied around a situation where they were without two starters on the defensive side of the ball in the secondary. They did so while alsoÂ facing a wide receiver duo in Terrelle Pryor and rookie Corey Coleman. Even without both safety Barry Church and cornerback Morris Claiborne, the Cowboys defense was excellent. They held Pryor to five catches for 47 yards and the teamâ€™s lone touchdown, while Coleman caught only three passes for 41 yards.
The injuries, the “trap game” setup for the Cowboys and the fact that Pryor himself even called for an upset, per Jane Slater of NFL Network. None of it mattered.
On paper, the Cowboysâ€™ win over the Browns looks like what youâ€™d expect. Dallas outgained them 423-222, dominated time of possession 39:39 to 20:21 and ran 70 plays to Clevelandâ€™s 44. WhenÂ breaking down the scenarios and looking at the bigger picture, this win may have been even greater than the one in Washington and even the victory in Lambeau, especially after the Indianapolis Colts knocked off the Packers there.