Why Are the Dallas Cowboys Successful So Early?
After dropping the first game of the year to San Francisco, the Dallas Cowboys have since come back to win three in a row. The team sits at the top of the NFC East, along with Philadelphia, posting a 3-1 record, which gives them an equal or better winning percentage than 94 percent of the league.
Dallas has a tough schedule the rest of the year, including six divisional games and matchups against both Seattle and Arizona. There have been several keys to their success over the past few weeks that will need to be continued as we head into Week 5.
Here is why “America’s Team” has been so successful through four weeks of play.
The Cowboys defense has been nothing spectacular thus far; however, this unit has played much better than most thought they would. They have given up nearly 400 total yards per game, but rather than being a complete mess, have kept their team in the game by forcing eight turnovers.
These turnovers have resulted in the team allowing just 21.5 points per game, when the results could have been much worse. Bruce Carter, Barry Church, Rolando McClain, Justin Durant and Morris Claiborne all have interceptions. McClain, Durant and Sterling Moore have also each forced a fumble that would end up being recovered.
With seven offensive turnovers between Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray, Dallas currently has a positive turnover ratio. If it can keep this up through the remainder of the year, then we should see this club in the playoff hunt.
They may not statistically have had the easiest schedule coming out of the gate; however, Dallas did have a very convenient schedule. The Cowboys needed something to get their confidence back up following an ugly game against San Francisco. Matchups against Tennessee and St. Louis will do exactly that. Those are two below average clubs that Dallas was able to beat to get above .500 and boost the team’s confidence level heading into the game against New Orleans.
Had they faced the Saints in Week 2, the Cowboys could be looking at a 2-2 or 1-3 record at this point. The timing of the Titans and Rams matchups certainly assisted them to being where they are right now.
After an awful performance in Week 1, Tony Romo has since rebounded, completing over 75 percent of his passes in each of the past two weeks. He has thrown just one interception since the team’s opening game against the 49ers, and six touchdowns.
Romo is quickly learning from his early mistakes and will need to keep things up over the final 12 games of the year. He picked apart the New Orleans defense in Week 4 and is looking much more like the guy we are used to seeing. The Cowboys need their quarterback to have a great year if they want to be playing January football.
Ground and Pound
Quite possibly the MVP of the entire league at this point in the season is DeMarco Murray. He has received a ridiculous amount of touches so far, and is on pace to carry the football 396 times this season.
Fumbling has been an issue for the 26-year-old, but he has made up for it, with a combined total of over 600 yards and five touchdowns in four games. Murray averages 5.4 yards per carry in 2014 and has 31 first downs, which is more than Dez Bryant and Jason Witten combined.
At some point, he will need a breather. Joseph Randle has carried the ball just nine times, but he is averaging 6.3 yards per touch. Between him and Murray, if the Cowboys can keep the running game going, they can be a very successful team this year.
Terrance Williams has started off his second season with a bang, which is something that the Dallas offense desperately needed. He leads the team in receiving touchdowns with four, and has caught 14 passes, despite only being targeted 20 times.
Lining up across from him, Dez Bryant has been able to keep his cool so far, which is something that needs to continue. The talent is inevitable, but he is a completely different player when his head is out of the game. Being able to keep his composure and Williams’ solid start has collectively played a big role in the early success of this team.