A rested and at home Dallas Cowboys team under coach Mike McCarthy seemingly can’t lose, at least not in the regular season.
The Los Angeles Rams found that out in brutal fashion Sunday at AT&T Stadium as the Cowboys celebrated the Ring of Honor induction of Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware with an electrifying 43-20 blowout victory.
The Cowboys extended their home winning streak to 11 games, dating back to to 2022. It’s the longest active home streak in the NFL. The last time the Cowboys won 11 straight games was in 1991-1992 at Texas Stadium.
The Cowboys are 8-3 coming off a bye week over the past 10 seasons, which is tied for fifth-best record in that span. McCarthy is 12-5 coming off a bye as a head coach, the fifth-most such wins since his debut in 2006.
Most important is how the Cowboys played against the Rams (3-5), fashioning their most complete performance of the season as their moved their record to 5-2 heading to next Sunday’s showdown at the NFC-East leading Philadelphia Eagles.
The Cowboys got sterling performances in all three phases as they jumped out to a 33-3 second quarter lead.
Quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver CeeDee Lamb led the way on offense. Prescott completed 17 of 21 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, while Lamb added 9 receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
Cornerback Deron Bland had a 30-yard interception return for a touchdowns.
Defensive end Sam Williams blocked a punt for a safety and receiver KaVontae Turpin followed with a 63-yard return on the free kick to set up a touchdown.
The Cowboys simply cruised on the second half after knocking out Rams quarterback Matt Stafford with a thumb injury.
What we learned in Dallas Cowboys electrifying blowout:
Dak Prescott and passing game on fire
The day started seemingly tragically for the Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense.
He was sacked on two of the first three plays and a third sack that would have forced a punt was negated by a illegal contact penalty on the Rams defense.
It was a different game from that point on.
Prescott completed 6 of the his next 7 passes en route to 17 of 21 completions in the first half.
The opening drive was concluded by a perfect throw to tight end Jake Ferguson for an 18-yard score.
He added touchdown passes of 10 and 22 yards to Lamb.
The only hiccup was a red zone interception in the second quarter on a pass that was tipped at the at the of scrimmage.
Prescott was in full command as he made plays with his arm and with his legs, as he scrambled for first downs and extended passing plays for completions.
Prescott added a 25-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Cooks in the fourth quarter as he finished with 25 completions on 31 passes for 304 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
It was his first 300-yard game of the season and had a season-high 133.7 passer rating before giving way to backup Cooper Rush with a 43-17 lead in the fourth quarter.
Offensive line, running game remain issues
The Cowboys got some bad news before the game when left tackle Tyron Smith was ruled out with neck stinger he suffered in practice on Thursday.
The Cowboys were optimistic that Smith would play, but he was made inactive.
It’s the third missed game of the season for Smith, who has missed at least three games every season since 2015 due injuries.
Chumu Edogo started in his place and seemingly held up well after a rough start when he allowed a sack on the opening play of the game.
Edoga left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, forcing rookie Asim Richards to finish the game.
It puts the position in question heading into next week’s game against the Eagles.
The Cowboys have had their starting offensive line on the field for just two games since the end of the 2021 season.
After Smith started the past two games, the Cowboys were looking for the unit to gel together and gain some chemistry with a third straight start against the Rams to hopefully help power a deficient rushing attack.
The Cowboys didn’t run it much against the Rams as they leaned on Prescott and the passing game early.
CB DeRon Bland leads strong defense with Pick-6
There was initial concern about the Cowboys secondary when All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
But Bland has put those worries to rest with his scintillating play and showed why against the Rams with his interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter to help blow the game open.
Bland has a team-leading four interceptions on the season.
He made history against the Rams by recording his third pick-six of the season, the most in a season by a Cowboys player in team history and his three interception return touchdowns are the most by a player in a season since Marcus Peters had three in 2019.
The NFL record for pick-sixes in a single season is four.
Bland also led the Cowboys with seven tackles and had a couple of pass deflections as he highlighted a Cowboys defense that shut down a potent Rams passing attack.
Getting the ball CeeDee Lamb seems like a good thing
Lamb complained about not getting the ball in the 42-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and the Cowboys heard him loud and clear.
He caught seven passes for 117 yards in the 20-17 victory against the Los Angeles Chargers before the bye with all seven going for first downs.
He erupted for a career-high 12 catches for a career-best 158 yards against the Rams.
His 122 yards are the most in the first half in a game in his career, and the third time in his career he has surpassed 100 receiving yards in a first half.
With 306 career receptions, Lamb is the fast Cowboys player to top 300 catches in his career (56 game) and he is second fastest to 4,000 career receiving yards. He has 4,029 in 56 games. Hall of Famer Bob Hayes did it in 52 games.
Kicker Brandon Aubrey leads stand out “special” teams
The Cowboys had a day on special teams with a blocked punt for a safety by Williams and a 63-yard return by Turpin.
But this day belonged to rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey, who not only continued his perfect start to the season but also made NFL history.
With two field goals against the Rams of 58 and 27 yards, Aubrey tied the Travis Coons with 18 consecutive field goals without a miss to start an NFL career.