Ezekiel Elliott welcomed the Green Bay Packers to his NFL as the fourth overall pick gained 157 yards on 28 carries, the seventh-most by a running back against Dom Capers since 2009, the second-most against Capers by a rookie, and the most by a running back this season. The Cowboys coaching staff kept feeding Elliott with his 5.6 yards per carry. ... and in the end, Dallas won 30-16 with Zeke recording the second-best start to a running back's career through three games, trailing only 1983's Eric Dickerson.
Elliott's fellow rookie, Dak Prescott, the Cowboys' backup quarterback who ever so slowly gives the coaching staff and front office a hard decision to make when incumbent Tony Romo returns from a back injury, had obstacles to overcome with two fumbles, one lost, and an interception thrown. However, the pride of Mississippi State recovered and went 18-of-27 for 247 yards and three touchdowns.
Said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones of his two prized rookies: "They're aware (of the size of the stage) and the stage isn't too big for 'em.''
The offensive play-calling by the Cowboys was formidable and timely as they gave receiver Lucky Whitehead a jet sweep on third-and-1 from the Cowboys' 12-yard line to spur a five-play, 97-yard touchdown drive with a minute remaining before halftime and no timeouts. Rather than giving up and going into the locker room with a 10-6 lead in a venue at which they had a 1-9 record in franchise history, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan gave Whitehead the ball for a decent gain. Prescott hit Terrance Williams for a 42-yard gain and then Brice Butler for a 20-yard touchdown to go up 17-6 before the half.
"Coach Linehan does what he does and dialed up another great play," Prescott said. "Got us down there, kind of got the ball quick again, and gave me one-on-one and Brice [Butler] goes and makes a great catch. That was big for us at the end of the half knowing they've got the ball to start the second half having to take some momentum back early."
Cornerback Morris Claiborne left the game with a concussion and did not return. (He told our Mike Fisher that he temporarily lost the feeling in his hands.) Safety Byron Jones filled in as a playmaker in the secondary with pass deflection on a deep ball intended for Randall Cobb on fourth-and-5 with 2:15 to go in the second quarter. Defensive end David Irving Irving stripped quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the Cowboys 1-yard line and recovered the fumble to prevent a score. He also batted down a ball at the line, had a strip-sack on Rodgers late in the fourth quarter, and also stripped Ty Montgomery and recovered the fumble.
Though the Cowboys sit at 5-1 and atop the NFC East thanks to an Eagles loss to Washington, they did commit seven penalties for 60 yards to the Packers' five penalties for 23 yards, a display uncharacteristic for a team that entered the game with the league's fewest penalties with 29.
But this team is like its QB -- yes, we mean Prescott, for now, anyway, in this sense: Dak,'' said best pal Zeke, "smiles in the face of adversity. He had a fumble and an interception, but he comes right back like it doesn't matter."
And so did the rest of the Cowboys, from playmakers Barry Church, Sean Lee and David Irving on defense to the unguardable Cole Beasley on offense, with his two TDs.
The Cowboys will head into next week with the weekend off as the rest of the NFC East plays games. Dallas' next contest is on Oct. 30 on Sunday Night Football when they see Philadelphia and new head coach Doug Pederson and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz for the first time. The word we get is that Romo may need until Week 9 against Cleveland to truly be in contention for taking back his job. Between now and then, lots of talk and lots of work, with Fish asking Jerry point-blank, "Whatcha gonna do at quarterback?''
Answered Jones: "What we're gonna do is, wait til the next card's played.''
10:08 1st Quarter -- Cole Beasley catches a 1-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott. 7-0 Cowboys
5:11 1st Quarter -- Mason Crosby hits a 37-yard field goal. 7-3 Cowboys
12:16 2nd Quarter -- Mason Crosby hits a 43-yard field goal. 7-6 Cowboys
6:05 2nd Quarter -- Dan Bailey hits a 44-yard field goal. 10-6 Cowboys
0:31 2nd Quarter -- Brice Butler catches a 20-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott. 17-6 Cowboys
6:58 3rd Quarter -- Dan Bailey hits a 22-yard field goal. 20-6 Cowboys
14:48 4th Quarter -- Mason Crosby hits a 34-yard field goal. 20-9 Cowboys
10:26 4th Quarter -- Cole Beasley catches a 4-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott. 27-9 Cowboys
6:53 4th Quarter -- Randall Cobb catches a 6-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers. 27-16 Cowboys
3:41 4th Quarter -- Dan Bailey hits a 32-yard field goal. 30-16 Cowboys
* Elliott is the first Cowboys rookie rusher to have four-straight games of 130 yards rushing or more.
* Prescott now has the second-most wins in the Garrett era behind Romo.
* Dan Bailey previously had an 0/1 field goal mark at Lambeau. He went 3/3 Sunday.
* When sacked twice or fewer times, Rodgers is now 60-16.
* The Cowboys are now 5-1 for the 14th time in franchise history. All of those prior teams made the playoffs.
* The Cardinals and the Falcons are the last teams from the NFC that Garrett has not defeated.
* Prescott's 121.8 passer rating is the second-best by a starting rookie Cowboys quarterback. Best is 123.6 set by Prescott earlier this year against the Bears.
THE FINAL WORD
"This is Tony's team. I'm just here to help my team win each and every game that I can." - Dak Prescott, who is doing exactly that.null