DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys rolled over an NFC East foe for the second straight week en route to a 2-0 start, and quarterback Dak Prescott looked comfortable in the pocket once more as he completed 26-of-30 for 269 yards and three touchdowns to go along with a tipped interception. The two-time Pro Bowler did sustain a sack, his first of the season.
However, there was plenty of action from the 31-21 win that didn't involve Prescott.
Ezekiel Elliott is ramping up — The two-time NFL rushing champion had 25 touches for 120 yards and a touchdown on his 53 offensive snaps. Elliott even played one snap of special teams. As was predicted in this week's fantasy column, the Cowboys were going to use Elliott plenty if it meant salting away a divisional road game, and that was the situation Dallas found themselves in.
Of Elliott's 23 carries for 111 yards, 11 of those rushes produced 60 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. While the Cowboys have multiple ways to score throughout the game, and Prescott has been expert at spreading the ball around, the team's identity is pounding opponents with their offensive line and run game to melt clock at the end of games.
Celebrate diversity — Prescott threw a total of eight different targets at FedEx Field, but there was no greater example of his new penchant for spreading the ball around, and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore's philosophy to take what the defense gives, than the 51-yard touchdown pass to receiver Devin Smith. It wasn't as if the touchdown pass was thrown while the Cowboys were padding their lead and Prescott was seeing what might work in the future.
The scoring play occurred with 6:10 to go in the second quarter to tie the game 7-7, which demonstrates the confidence Smith has gained with Prescott. Receiver Amari Cooper will always draw his targets, but if the middle tier and complementary receivers are starting to execute, then the Dallas passing attack has graduated into an area of Sean McVay-level potency.
Defensive reinforcements on the way — The Cowboys defense produced one sack and no turnovers in Washington. Before getting down on the Dallas defense, consider they still have not seen defensive end Robert Quinn or rookie safety Donovan Wilson. Quinn has been recovering from a broken hand and and a suspension but should be available against the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, and Wilson is working through an ankle injury.
Quinn will provide extra pressure from the outside against opposing passers, and Wilson has a playmaking knack that has not been seen on the back end since at least Ken Hamlin's "prove-it" contract year of 2007.
Dallas will need to up the sacks and quarterback pressures, or find a way to generate more turnovers, so as to avoid getting involved in any shootouts, even though they now possess a potent offense should they arise.
Dak and the Cowboys should finalize a contract yesterday — Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season in Pittsburgh with Tommy John surgery. Drew Brees will miss six weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb. Prescott has been fortunate to play 50 regular season games in his career with a high level of health. However, one injury could derail it all.
The co-leader in touchdown passes through two weeks (Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes also have seven with Prescott) should work to get a deal finished with the Cowboys.
Similarly, Dallas, after seeing the shoddy quarterback play from the Sunday night game between Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan, two guys who make $32 million and $30 million respectively, ought to be thankful to have a younger, better product under center and gladly pay the $40 million.
At this point, each side wins with that contract. Prescott gets his money, his security, and the Cowboys get one of the top-3 quarterbacks (if touchdowns passes through two weeks are the sole barometer) in the NFL for the next seven years.
How are you feeling about the season thus far with the Cowboys now 2-0? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.