Don’t let the scoreboard fool you. The Dallas Cowboys had complete control of the game Sunday save for two drives, one to end the first half and one to start the third quarter, and the first one was largely a fluky play.
It was the most complete performance of the season by the Cowboys (5-3) against the AFC-West leading Kansas City Chiefs, (6-3) who have the second most wins in the NFL.
Owner Jerry Jones said Dak Prescott, a rising MVP candidate, is playing the best football of any quarterback in the league.
RUN OFFENSE: A Ezekiel Elliott saw his streak of three consecutive 100-yard games snapped as he rushed for 93 yards on 27 carries. Dak Prescott added 27 yards on three carries, including a 10-yard touchdown run. Alfred Morris had an 11-yard run. But make no mistake about it, Elliott set everything up with his presence and performance.
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PASS OFFENSE: A Take away two dropped passes due to the sun at AT&T Stadium and this was a sterling performance by the passing game. Prescott was efficient in completing 21 of 33 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Terrance Williams had a breakout game with nine catches for 141 yards on nine targets. Dez Bryant caught six passes for 73 yards. It was Cole Beasley who cashed in with two red zone touchdowns on four catches.
RUN DEFENSE: A The Cowboys shut down rookie running back sensation Kareem Hunt, holding him to 37 yards on nine carries. The Chiefs like to get the speedy Tyreek Hill involved in the running game on reverses and gadgets. He was shut down, 9 yards on four carries. Sean Lee keyed the run defense, but Orlando Scandrick deserves special mention for tackling Hill at the line of scrimmage.
PASS DEFENSE: B The Cowboys would like to burn the film on the 56-yard touchdown by Hill at the end of the first half. They played it wrong. They were looking for a Hail Mary pass and got hit by the Hail Hill. But outside of that, the Chiefs did nothing in the passing game. Hill was shut down. Tight end Travis Kelce caught a 2-yard touchdown pass, but when quarterback Alex Smith went to him late in the game safety Jeff Heath picked off the pass. It was Smith’s first interception of the season. David Irving got a sack in his fourth consecutive game.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A The Chiefs have a dangerous return game with Hill and the Cowboys shut him down thanks to great kick placement on punts and kickoffs and excellent coverage. Kavon Frazier has been a special teams standout all season. He came up huge Sunday as did running back Rod Smith late in the game when Hill hoped to spark a comeback with a big play.
COACHING: A Give Jason Garrett credit. The Cowboys have dealt with distractions surrounding Elliott all season. He has kept the team focused and ready to play. They have rebounded from a 2-3 start with three consecutive wins. Give defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli credit for what was the team’s best defensive performance of the season considering the opponent. The Chiefs are difficult to prepare for with all the college nuances and gadgets to get the ball to the speedy duo of Hunt and Hill. Save for one fluky touchdown, the Cowboys were up to the challenge.