Pa David Helman
FOX Sports Dallas Cowboys writer

Slowly but surely, the picture of a dangerous team is emerging.

Forsaken died with a failed attack and backup quarterback in week one Cowboys rallied behind a firm hand Cooper Rush to start 3-1.

And while the approach has largely remained the same over the course of those three wins, it’s interesting to note the different pitches the Cowboys have added to their arsenal over that span.

While it wasn’t a pretty watch, Sunday’s 25-10 drubbing of Washington may have been the most impressive of the Cowboys’ winning streak for the simple reason that they succeeded when their fastball didn’t work.

The Dallas game, largely the engine behind the wins over Cincinnati and New York, was ineffective against Commanders a front that is loaded with first-round draft picks. The Cowboys averaged just 2.1 yards per carry against Washington and had their running backs sacked for a loss on seven separate occasions.

That didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, as Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was happy to trust Rush’s ability to stretch the field — something Rush did admirably en route to two touchdown passes and an incredible 4-0 record as the team’s starter.

Officially, Rush’s stats were a modest 15 of 27 for 223 yards, but he was more than happy to dig up big plays when he needed to.

Rush picked up Washington’s secondary with a surprising number of deep shots. He contacted Noah Brown for 45 yards on one of the Cowboys’ four field goals and his second touchdown of the day found CeeDee Lamb in strips along the seam for 30 yards.

And while it may not be apparent on the stat sheet, Rush clearly saw a matchup he liked Michael Gallup against the Commanders Cornerback William Jackson III. Rush twice targeted Gallup deep with Jackson in coverage and twice had pass interference penalties on defense for 65 yards.

Speaking of Gallup, it wasn’t a bad day for a guy coming back from a torn ACL. The fifth-year player, who just signed a $57 million contract in March, was understandably on a pitch count in his first game back from injury. Still, in addition to his obvious ability as a deep threat, Gallup caught two passes for 24 yards and a touchdown — a nice improvisation between quarterback and receiver as Rush extended a third-and-6 and found his man behind. end zone.

It’s enough to make you wonder how effective this fleeting attack can be when Duck Prescott is coming back from surgery on a broken thumb. Lam continued last week’s heroics with six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown, while Brown has 206 yards in the three games since Prescott’s injury.

Combine that with Gallup’s return, not to mention that by Dalton Schultz ongoing recovery from a knee injury, and some eyebrow-raising opportunities in the game.

Cooper Rush of the Cowboys leads the team to victory against the Commanders

Cooper Rush helped the Dallas Cowboys to a 25-10 victory against the Washington Commanders.

And of course, if Dallas’ defense continues its recent form, the possibilities are endless.

Sunday wasn’t the sack fest many expected after Washington allowed nine sacks to Philadelphia last week, but rest assured the Cowboys made life miserable Carson Wentz.

In addition to sacking Wentz twice, Dallas also finished with two interceptions, highlighted by an onside rush Trevon Diggs. They also forced him into two hard-hitting intentional safety penalties. The former capped a drive that reached midfield and forced Washington to punt, while the latter forced the Commanders out of the red zone, forcing them to settle for a field goal.

While it all looked familiar compared to what we saw in Weeks 2 and 3, it’s also to the defense’s credit that it found some new wrinkles. The Cowboys lost their starting nickelback Jourdan Lewis to a groin injury during pregame warmups, only to see him replaced by a rookie Darron Bland – intercepted Wentz, which practically reduced Washington’s chances. The third security Donovan Wilson also continued to shine in Jayron Kearse’s absence as he led all tacklers with nine penalty stops and forced Wentz into one of those key penalties.

Is it unreasonable to praise the kicker? On a day when the offense was mired in the red zone, Brett Maher connected on all four of his field goal attempts, pushing him to 10 of 11 on the season. It’s fair to say the Cowboys had an extra point blocked, but the veteran’s first quarter of the season has been phenomenal considering he was only drafted midway through training camp.

There are many things to list, but this is the essence. Three weeks ago, this lineup looked exhausted, unable to compete. And that was before the starting quarterback left with an injury. The Cowboys have three wins in three weeks and are contributing at every level of the roster.

As of this writing, it is still unclear when Prescott could return. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones didn’t get the word out after that game. But each week that follows brings that comeback closer, and each win that counts puts this team in a better position when it finally happens.

It’s long past the point to be impressed that the Cowboys are capable of this. Now, it’s hard not to wonder just how good this team can be.

ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 02: Dallas Cowboys players celebrate with Daron Bland #26 of the Dallas Cowboys after his interception in the fourth quarter against the Washington Commanders at AT&T Stadium on October 2, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports. He previously spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in the production of Doc Prescott: Family Reunion, about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Follow him on Twitter @davidhelman_.

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