With the help of a healthy offensive line, Alfred Morris put it on his former team Thursday night
Limited by a bruised and swollen right hand for most of the night, Dak Prescott finished with just 102 yards passing, but the Cowboys did not need much from their quarterback. Instead, a healthy offensive line helped Dallas rush for 182 yards, its most since Week 7, in a 38-14 handling of Washington on Thursday Night Football. Against his former team, running back Alfred Morris rolled up 71 yards over two second-half touchdown drives that took 12 minutes off the clock. Morris finished with 127 on the ground, his highest single-game output since 2013.
The Cowboys got plenty of help from a sloppy opponent, as Washington turned the ball over four times and gave up a punt return score. But the glimmers of greatness from a run game that had been one of the league's best units before injuries and the Ezekiel Elliott suspension struck is important for Big D's larger outlook.
Given upcoming games against Seattle and Philadelphia, the 6-6 Cowboys' playoff chances are still slim to none (FiveThirtyEight has them at four percent). Still, seeing them look something like last year's 13-3 squad without Elliott (whose suspension lasts two more games) provides relief after a three-game losing streak, during which Dallas scored a total of 22 points combined. Perhaps all is not lost for this edition of America's Team.
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1. Adam Thielen was passed over by every Division I school. He took a job selling dental equipment before the Vikings offered him a tryout. Now, he's the team's star wide receiver. How'd he do it? Tyler Dunne spent a week in Minnesota to find out.
2. Following up on news of the NFL offering to give nearly $100 million to support social justice issues, Slate spoke with Eric Reid, who ripped the deal. "It's a charade," he said, adding that Malcolm Jenkins and a few of his allies ended up agreeing to something many other player activists opposed. Jenkins, meanwhile, said he plans to not protest during the national anthem this Sunday.
3. Last night kicked off the NFL's "My Cleats, My Cause" week. ESPN has the story behind 49ers rookie Solomon Thomas's decision to support early childhood learning. As for the design, the initial idea came from an autistic four-year-old. "I thought this was the perfect way to start diving into what I'm passionate about, what I care about and what I want to get involved with in the future," Thomas said.
4. An undrafted son of Mexican immigrants who picked up football in high school is one of the Colts' lone bright spots. Get to know Rigoberto Sanchez, the Indianapolis punter who goes to bed at 9 p.m. and might just be the anti-Pat McAfee.
5. Darrelle Revis says he wont be motivated to stick it to his former team when the Chiefs play the Jets this week. Rex Ryan thinks otherwise.
6. Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones was tied for the NFL lead with 12 sacks at the end of last week. He could break Arizona's franchise record and the Cards defensive coordinator James Bettcher said that Jones is playing "at a Defensive Player of the Year level." Dropping 20 pounds has helped him go from good to great.
7. Charlotte Wilder paid a visit to the NFL experience set up in Times Square, but honestly, the description from Danny Boockvar, the guy running the place, takes the cake: “I like to think of it as Disney meets the Hall of Fame meets Dave and Buster’s, with a liquor license in Times Square.”
8. The Packers are trying to recoup some of the signing bonus they gave to tight end Martellus Bennett, who is now on IR for the Patriots after being cut by Green Bay.
10. Before Thursday night's game, Cowboys great Roger Staubach shared the advice he gave to Dak Prescott: "Adversity reveals genius and prosperity conceals it. You just find out the best in people when times are tough and I really believe that he'll be able to not lose his confidence, but he's gotta continue to transfer his confidence to his teammates to overcome the adversity they're in right now."
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Before grabbing a touchdown catch in the victory, Dez Bryant notched a win during warmups.
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