COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys dominate the Dolphins; Saints up next

Zeke Elliot keeps rolling. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys put another "W" in the win column on Sunday when they beat the Miami Dolphins by the score of 31-6.

Cowboys Cruise

There was no doubt that the Cowboys were the better team, but the Dolphins put up a good fight for the first half.The Cowboys came out of halftime only up 10-6 but quickly scored two touchdowns and put the game away.

Quarterback Dak Prescott was 19/32 for 246 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception.He also had 2 carries for 7 yards and 1 rushing touchdown.The loss of his #2 receiver didn't seem to bother him much. He delivered passes to 7 different players, including 6 balls to superstar Amari Cooper for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns.

With Prescott spreading the ball around, the Dallas running game was able to produce two 100-yard rushers for the first time in 21 years.Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott touched the ball 21 times on Sunday.He had 19 carries for 125 yards and caught 2 passes for 14 yards.His backup running back Tony Pollard (rookie) carried the ball 13 times for 103 yards and the final touchdown of the game that enabled Dallas to cover their huge 22.5-point spread.

The Cowboy defense also came out to play. They held the Dolphins to less the 300 yards of total offense, 17 first downs, and had 3 sacks. Linebacker Jaylon Smith led the team in tackles with 10, (8 solo).

This is the first time in 11 years that the Dallas Cowboys have started a season at 3-0. Most importantly, they sit all alone atop the NFC East and a 2 game cushion over their biggest threat the Philadelphia Eagles.

3 Things to Watch For

1.Ezekiel Elliott (Running Back): Zeke is main driver of the Cowboy offense and will need to have another great game this upcoming week if Dallas wants to pull off a win in New Orleans.I expect Elliott to have another 20+ touches on Sunday.

2.Jason Witten (Tight End): Only had 3 catches against Miami but one of those was a clutch 33 yard reception on 3rd and 20 that led to a Cowboy touchdown early in the game. Witten is crucial to keeping Dallas drives from stalling out.

3.Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith (Linebackers):These guys are going to have their hands full on Sunday as they will be tasked at stopping Alvin Kamara, who is one of the best running backs in the league.They will need to keep him contained if they want to pull out another victory.

Coming Up

Sunday Night September 29th, the Dallas Cowboys (3-0) will be on the road in the Big Easy taking on the New Orleans Saints (2-1) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff is set for 7:20 pm Central Time. The Saints will be without their starting quarterback Drew Brees who is out with a thumb injury. Before last week, I would have thought Dallas should have a good chance at picking up another win but New Orleans just beat the Seahawks in Seattle.The Cowboys are going to need to control the ball with Zeke and keep Kamara off the field.

If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are:

Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott (RB), Amari Cooper (WR), Dak Prescott (QB)

Saints: Alvin Kamara (RB), Michael Thomas (WR)

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are currently -3 and the over/under is 46.The number will dictate what side to take. If it's less than 3 play the Cowboys. If it is more than 3, play the Saints.

NFL PR has more than a Myles Garrett Problem

Gut reaction to Browns - Steelers: Ugly brawl, hits yet another bad look

Getty images

As I watched Myles Garrett being punched and kicked on the ground by Pittsburgh Steelers offensive linemen, I couldn't help but feel bad for the NFL public relations team. Last night's game was a PR nightmare. What will dominate sports headlines for the foreseeable future is Myles Garrett's inexcusable action where he tore the helmet off Mason Rudolph and then proceeded to use that helmet as a weapon to strike Rudolph on the head. However the unfortunate truth is that the game was a PR mess before that brawl even started.

For the past few years the NFL has had issues with its image on topics ranging from substance abuse problems to the game being regarded as "unsafe." Here is a recap of all the issues the Browns – Steelers match-up couldn't help but showcase last night.

Headlines prior to the game starting:

  • Cleveland RB Kareem Hunt – Headlines about Hunt returning back from suspension for "multiple physical altercations". Though his first game back was Nov 10th against Buffalo, we are still in the first week of his return and pre-game talk was focused on his history.
  • Cleveland WR Antonio Callaway – Was released by the team before the game for violating the substance-abuse policy. Though he will appeal the upcoming 10 game suspension, the team decided to waive the WR immediately.

Injuries:

  • Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster – Exited the game in the 2nd quarter after absorbing two simultaneous helmet-to-helmet hits. Smith-Schuster appeared to be motionless on the ground for some time.
  • Steelers WR Diontae Johnson – Exited the game in the 3rd quarter after taking a brutal helmet-to-helmet shot from Browns Safety Damarious Randall. Randall was ejected for the hit and we all got to watch Johnson be helped off the field while blood was gushing from his ear.
  • Steelers RB James Conner – Was playing in his first game back from injury, appears to have re-injured his shoulder in the 2nd quarter.

It is worth noting here that the Steelers were already missing QB Ben Roethlisberger who is out for the season with an elbow injury. As a result of these injuries the Steelers offense was unable to function for most of the game. Backup Quarterback Mason Rudolph finished with 4 interceptions and a 10.8 QBR.

The Brawl:

  • Cleveland DE Myles Garret – Will most likely be suspended for the rest of the year for his actions. The Brawl started when Garret threw Rudolph to the ground in what looked like a late hit to the QB. Rudolph's actions to escalate the situation cannot be overlooked, but for Garret to use a helmet as a weapon was completely inexcusable.
  • Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph – Rudolph came off as the victim but my gut tells me he will be punished as well. Rudolph took issue with Garret's late hit and is caught on tape trying to pull Garret's helmet off first. Also, as Garret is being pulled away it is Rudolph who runs at Garret to restart the fight. Rudolph called the helmet hit "cowardly" and "bush league" in the post-game press conference but his own actions may fall into that bush-league category.
  • Browns DE Larry Ogunjobi – Came in after he saw Rudolph get hit on the head with the helmet and than proceeded to push Rudolph to the ground from behind… That one left me scratching my head.
  • Pittsburgh Offensive Linemen Maurkice Pouncey & David DeCastro – After Garret struck Rudolph, Pouncey and DeCastro threw Garret to the ground where they repeatedly punched and kicked him. Of all the actions that took place, this one at least made sense as the line was defending their QB. However that probably won't stop suspensions and fines from heading their way. The whole "start a fight after your QB gets hit" thing may need to be re-examined if these guys miss significant time.

The trend we are seeing in the US is that more and more parents are refusing to let their children play football for fear of it being an unsafe and dangerous game. The NFL has been doing everything in its power to fight against that image, but Thursday's game was a failure on all fronts.

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