The Cowboys are now 7-7 on the season after beating the Rams. Dallas is still in control of the NFC East. Here are five things learned from week 15.
1. Dallas can Beat a .500 Team
It took them until week 15, but the Cowboys were finally able to beat a .500 team. Dallas swung and missed on plenty of opportunities this season, but with the extra few days to prepare for the Rams, they came up big time.
Dallas scored first in the game and then kept piling on. The Cowboys won 44-21 and their backups even got into the game and produced. If the team can replicate this performance in the last two regular-season games and the playoffs, they can do some big things.
2. The Cowboys Have to Score First in Big Games
This football team was built around the offensive line and running game. The passing offense has been great this season, but when they play from behind, they usually can’t score enough points to come back in games. To correct this, the Cowboys need to get out to more early leads.
They scored first and were able to run the ball effectively, which controlled the clock in the process. Dallas had two 100-yard rushers in the game, with both Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard running well. If they can keep this up and run the ball well, they can play with most teams in the league.
3. Jourdan Lewis Continues to Make Plays
His playing time was infrequent earlier in the season, but now Jourdan Lewis is an impact player now. Over the course of the season he has come up with key sacks, interceptions and even a touchdown against the Giants. His good play continued in the game against the Rams.
Lewis tied for the team lead with six tackles against the Rams. He had a key sack and a pass defended as well. This year, he has been effective on blitzes and in coverage. For the Cowboys to continue to win games, they will need Lewis’ play to keep up.
4. Winning the Turnover Battle is Vital
The Cowboys are not very good at forcing turnovers this season. That means the onus is on the offense to not turnover the ball so that the team can win the turnover battle. If they can have a positive turnover differential, the Cowboys should win most games.
Dak Prescott fumbled once, but the Cowboys were able to recover. Sean Lee was able to intercept an ill-advised throw from Jared Goff. That’s all it took for Dallas to win the turnover battle against the Rams. If they can force a turnover or two per game and protect the ball, they become a much harder team to beat.
5. The Kicking was Mostly Better
Dallas signed Kai Forbath to replace struggling kicker Brett Maher. Maher had the most missed field goals in the NFL and the team was hurting as a result. Forbath solved a lot of the kicking problems in his first game for the Cowboys.
The veteran kicker was 3/3 on field goals and 5/5 on extra points. He hit a long field goal of 50 yards, which should give him more confidence. Forbath did have some struggles with kickoffs, as two of them went out of bounds. That is something that should be corrected by next week’s game.