The Dallas Cowboys feel they have one of the most explosive offenses in the league.
But, as running back Rod Smith said, “Sometimes it doesn’t look like it, feels like we’re struggling, but we know what we’re capable of. If you go out there and just keep pounding and pounding, it’s eventually going to open up.”
The floodgates opened up against the league’s worst defense on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. The New York Giants couldn’t contain what became a potent Cowboys’ offensive attack.
The Cowboys nearly doubled the number of plays of 50-plus yards with three in their 30-10 victory. They had combined for just four plays of at least 50 yards going into the game.
“The big plays have eluded us, especially lately,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “We have been putting a lot of emphasis on it. We started to see signs of it last week, especially in the second half.
“We felt the trend was going in the right direction. You got to just stick with it. You can’t force that. Big plays come when playmakers make big plays.”
Dez Bryant showed he’s still worthy of a “playmaker” label even though he seems to have regressed from being an elite receiver.
Bryant dropped a couple of passes early on, including a deep ball that clanged off his face mask. But he made up for it in the second quarter when he caught a pass from Dak Prescott, shrugged off Giants cornerback Brandon Dixon and raced to the end zone for a 50-yard score.
Bryant refused to talk with reporters after the game, but it marked his longest reception of the season.
Two more 50-plus yards receptions came in the fourth quarter when the Cowboys pulled away.
Cole Beasley had a catch-and-run of 54 yards and, on the next play, the Cowboys took the lead when Prescott hit Jason Witten for a 20-yard touchdown.
Less than four minutes later, Smith scored on an 81-yard slant.
“I really wasn’t expecting it, but I felt like I was open and he threw it to me,” Smith said. “And I just went to the house. I had [receiver Terrance Williams] and Dez out there blocking, escorting me, so I appreciate them for that.”
Before Sunday, the Cowboys’ offense produced just four plays of at least 50 yards.
Brice Butler had a 53-yard touchdown reception at Arizona in Week 3; Alfred Morris had a 70-yard touchdown run vs. the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4; Ezekiel Elliott had a 72-yard touchdown reception at San Francisco in Week 7; and Williams had a 56-yard touchdown vs. Kansas City in Week 9.
The Cowboys hope Sunday jump starts them into producing more going forward. The Giants have the worst defense in the league and the Cowboys deserve credit for continuing to expose those flaws.
“They did a few all-out blitzes and guys were able to get open early and then make a guy miss and there wasn’t anybody left,” Beasley said. “That’s what you have to do against these teams that send everybody. It makes it tough because there’s so much pressure.
“The way they scheme it, they just sit at 10 yards and just catch so, it’s hard to make big plays like that. But we do have the guys to do it and Dak did a great job getting the ball out early and giving guys an opportunity to make plays. We made them today.”
The Cowboys know they have to make similar plays down the stretch if they want to stay in contention for a playoff spot, too.
As Prescott put it, “That three has got to turn into four, into five and we’ve just got to get more. I told the guys in the huddle, let’s not wait or look around for a guy to make a play, let’s go make them ourselves.
“That’s what we did tonight.”