The Dallas Cowboys entered their Week 4 game against the San Francisco 49ers with a goal of reaching 3-1 for the season. Things started off shaky for Jason Garrett’s team as the 49ers jumped out to an early 14-0 lead following a touchdown pass from Blaine Gabbert to Jeremy Kerley and a rushing touchdown by Carlos Hyde.
Dallas, however, was able to weather the early storm and scored two touchdowns inside the final three minutes of the second quarter to tie the game before halftime. Quarterback Dak Prescott found wide receiver Terrance Williams for a 20-yard touchdown with 2:58 remaining in the half and then found Brice Butler with 0:12 seconds left.
Following an early third quarter field goal by 49ers kicker Phil Dawson that gave San Francisco a 17-14 lead, the Cowboys would score the last 10 points of the game to escape with a 24-17 victory and reach that 3-1 mark.
Behind Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott, the Cowboys overcame a 14-point deficit to defeat the 49ers, 24-17.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) October 3, 2016
Now, let’s look at the five biggest takeaways from this huge road victory for the Dallas Cowboys.
5. Dallas Dominated Time Of Possession
With the change from Tony Romo to Dak Prescott at quarterback, the Cowboys have turned into a power-running team which is difficult for opposing defenses to defend as the Cowboys’ offensive line is the best in football. On Sunday, Dallas ran the ball 39 times for 194 yards, an average of 5.0 YPC, which allowed the team to hold a 36:27-23:33 edge in time of possession against the 49ers.
4. Ezekiel Elliott Posts Another Big Day
Cowboys 24, 49ers 17
Ezekiel Elliott: leads NFL with 412 rushing yards this season pic.twitter.com/pzxVCMyZD9
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 2, 2016
Entering Week 4, Elliott was the NFL leader in rushing yards and he only helped that ranking against San Francisco. The Ohio State product carried the ball 23 times for 138 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown for the Cowboys. Ezekiel now has carried the ball 94 times in four weeks and has gained 412 yards and scored three touchdowns. It looks like Dallas knew what they were doing when they selected him No. 4 overall.
3. Morris Claiborne Continued The Renaissance Of His Career
On more than one occasion, former first-round pick Morris Claiborne has been labeled a bust and been left for dead. Instead of sulking and giving up, Claiborne has continued to work hard and has turned himself into a solid corner through four weeks of the 2016 NFL Season. Morris has recorded 18 total tackles, one pass defensed, and recorded his first interception on the year on Sunday.
2. Dallas Defense Clamped Down
Things didn’t get off to a great start for Rod Marinelli’s unit as they gave up the first 14 points of the game, but the defense recovered to only allow three more points over the last 44 minutes of the game. The 49ers only amassed 295 total yards and 14 first downs on Sunday. It’s a huge help to the defense that Prescott, Elliott and the offense dominated time of possession and kept them off the field.
1. Dak Prescott Continues Amazing Start To Career
Prescott has now completed four NFL games without throwing an interception as he’s displayed brilliant accuracy and decision-making. Against San Francisco, the Mississippi State graduate completed 23-of-32 throws for 245 yards and two touchdowns in another sparkling performance. As long as Dak continues to play this well, it may be impossible for Tony Romo to get his job back when healthy.
A number of experts wanted to count Cowboys out after the injury to Romo, but here they sit at 3-1 through the first quarter of the season. Dallas has the best offensive line in the NFL, the No. 1 rusher and a quarterback that protects the football and manages the game perfectly. The rest of the NFL better start taking the Dallas Cowboys seriously as their confidence is growing with every win.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]