The Dallas Cowboys had their most impressive victory of the season against the Detroit Lions, with an offense that finally looked functional. As expected, Ezekiel Elliot took over in a special way, but the offense opened up in all phases.
The play makers are certainly doing a better job, but the most noticeable difference is the returning dominance of the Cowboys offensive line. Dak Prescott is getting more time to find the open receivers and Elliot was able to unleash in space.
Prescott needed more opportunities to prove that he can hit the deep ball on a regular basis. He still has a lot of work to do, but there was clear progress in a game they clearly needed it against the Lions.
A slow start should have been expected with an offensive line losing Travis Fredereick. Even without him, they still have the talent to dominate, and this was the first time the brought that on the field.
The Cowboys found rhythm on offense, and got multiple players involved. They are learning how to use all the new young talent, and the offensive line is behind everything functioning better.
The Cowboys are winning the battles of the trenches. Demarcus Lawrence is making all the difference, and the Cowboys offensive line can make sure they are protecting the quarterback better and controlling the line of scrimmage.
The Cowboys are finding ways to create space for their play makers with their offensive line, and they made it clear that they still have the talent to open up big plays.
Elliot is the ultimate game changer, and he makes everything easier in the passing game. Elliot often creates something out of nothing, but his performance against the Lions is an example of what happens when he is making the most of his space, with an offensive line that regularly opens things up.
The Cowboys lost their identity in the first three games largely because of the struggles on the offensive line. The Cowboys may never have a consistently dominant offense, but we are seeing a lot more potential when they are making things easier for the play makers.
Dak is showing that he can take advantage of mismatches when Elliot draws in extra defenders, and they get their rhythm with a great balance from that. Prescott needs to stay comfortable, and then the offensive line allowed him to keep the tempo up and find a rhythm on multiple drives.
The Cowboys will struggle to make the playoffs, but they are still alive for that division title. The Cowboys need to find a way to establish consistency, but the defense is carrying a lot more now.
The offensive line can give the offense an edge in every game. It might not be the most significant edge, but it will often be enough with a defense that is regularly making plays.
The Cowboys are going to spend much of this season looking for consistency, but their outside talent is not going to be able to bring it. Their receivers are clearly not dominant, we know that Elliot cannot do it all on his own and Prescott clearly needs a lot of help around him.
The only way to establish consistency is with the offensive line. When the offensive line holds things together the way it did against the Lions, the Cowboys are able to use their talent more effectively, establishing options that can bring that consistency. Everyone is able to contribute and that is what they need to play well on a consistent basis.
Elliot needs to be getting positive yardage all the time for consistency, and then he will be the one to blow things open with big plays. Without that consistency laid down by the offensive line, however, Elliot will not be able to do enough.
The Cowboys have spent years building an offense that functions behind a stellar offensive lone. When that line was not dominating, the Cowboys looked like one of the worst offenses in the NFL.
With that offensive line dominating, and opening up the game the way the outside talent needs, the Cowboys can survive as a threat to win a division that felt far too out of reach just one week ago.