COMMANDING VICTORY: 5 observations from the Cowboys’ win Sunday against the Commanders

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ron Jenkins/AP/Shutterstock (13435805ai) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (10) and center Tyler Biadasz (63) signal at the line of scrimmage in the first half of a NFL football game against the Washington Commanders in Arlington, Texas Commanders Cowboys Football, Arlington, United States – 02 Oct 2022

COMMANDING VICTORY: 5 observations from the Cowboys’ win Sunday against the Commanders

The Dallas Cowboys (3-1) got another solid performance from backup quarterback Cooper Rush in their 25-10 win on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium over the Washington Commanders.

Cooper Rush: Cowboys’ backup quarterback Cooper Rush found it difficult to get the offense going against the Commanders on Sunday afternoon.

But he was able to do just enough to earn the Cowboys a third straight win and a 2-0 start to NFC East play.

With the win, Rush becomes the first quarterback in the team’s 63-year history to win the first four starts of his Cowboys’ career. A lineup of signal callers that includes Hall of Famers Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.

Rush, making his third straight start for the injured Dak Prescott, finished with 15 completions on 27 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns.

Rush spread it around to six different pass catchers, with multiple targets to CeeDee Lamb, Noah Brown, Michael Gallup, Tony Pollard, and Dalton Schultz.

Rush did appear to throw a pair of interceptions, but Washington penalties wiped both out.

Cowboys’ defense gets after Wentz: When the Commanders weren’t running the ball with effectiveness, quarterback Carson Wentz had Cowboys’ defenders in his face.

Wentz had no time to throw, and when he did, he was inaccurate with the football. Wentz finished with 170 yards passing on 42 attempts. He did complete 25 passes, with the one touchdown in the first half to Jahan Dotson. He was intercepted twice, once each by cornerback Trevon Diggs and safety DaRon Bland.

The Cowboys sacked Wentz twice, with Neville Gallimore picking up the first one of the game, while the defense also harassed him on over half of his 44 dropbacks in the game.

Lack of running game: The Cowboys’ running game showed sparks at times, but again for most of the game, it was slow going for Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.

The two combined for 54 yards on 26 carries, with Elliott providing 48 yards on 18 carries to lead the way. Neither back had a double-digit run in the game.

The offensive line didn’t help the team’s case, as the front four of the Commanders were in the backfield all afternoon.

Washington is the second team to hold the Cowboys under 100 yards rushing as a team this season, joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who held Dallas to just 71 yards rushing in Week 1.

Welcome back, Michael Gallup: Michael Gallup made the most of his first game of the season, catching a 9-yard touchdown strike from Cooper Rush in the first half.

Gallup finished with two catches on three targets for 24 yards.

Gallup, who has been out since tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee on Jan. 2 against Arizona, made his first catch of the season on a 15-yard strike from Rush on third and eight. The drive ended with the Gallup TD catch.

Cowboys keep it clean: With the Shawn Smith officiating crew in town, the Cowboys were able to clean up some of the penalty problems that have plagued them at times this season.

The Cowboys, who are now 2-0 when Smith is the lead official, were penalized just four times for 40 yards. Center Tyler Biadasz and tight end Dalton Schultz were both called for false starts, while cornerback Anthony Brown had a holding penalty and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence lined up in the neutral zone late in the game.

While the Cowboys kept it clean, the Commanders had problems on several drives in the loss. The Commanders were flagged 11 times for 136 yards, with four helping to halt Washington drives and two big ones on defense – 38-yard pass interference and 10-yard holding, that led to Cowboys’ points.

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