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Dallas Cowboys Week 10 Checklist: What Got Accomplished Versus Atlanta?

It was like last week ... except the total opposite.
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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Now that’s more like it. The Cowboys are 7-2 after steamrolling the Atlanta Falcons Sunday afternoon, and plenty got accomplished. Let’s run it all down:

Returned us to our regularly scheduled programming ✔

So, how’d you spend the rest of your afternoon after that first half? It’s OK. You can admit it. No one is judging you here. The weekend is fleeting, it was a beautiful afternoon outside, and this game was medical cadaver-dead by halftime. You flipped the channel or went outside, didn’t you? Good for you.

How dominant was Dallas? Per the FOX broadcast, the Cowboys’ 36-3 halftime lead was the first time since December 4, 1971, that they led a game by at least 33 points at the midway point. The 43-3 final score was their first 40-point victory since October 2, 2000.

Want more? Of course you do:

Thirds? OK:

This was a total reversal of polarity from last week’s disaster against the Broncos. The Cowboys redirected everything Denver did to them onto Atlanta, winning the turnover battle for the first time since Week 4 and haranguing Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, fresh off winning NFC offensive player of the week honors, into two interceptions and just 117 yards passing on 9 of 21 completions. For good measure, they poured on so much offense that Cooper Rush, hero of the Minnesota game, got nearly a full quarter of reps.

This felt like the team we saw from Weeks 3 through Week 5, when Dallas ripped through the Eagles, Panthers, and Giants by a combined score of 121 to 69. They were relentless and opportunistic, getting their hands on the football, efficient on the late downs, and barreling after every scoring chance available to them, right on through Dak Prescott’s gratuitous QB keeper touchdown in the third quarter. Trevon Diggs even snatched another pick to complete the effect:

It was the about face we wanted to see — and so much more. The Cowboys are fine, y’all. I hope you squeezed a nice walk in during the 2 o’clock hour.

Spread the turnover love ✔

Diggs’ interception was his league-leading eighth, which means he’ll provide the token defensive play in highlight packages throughout America. But the Cowboys’ cornerbacks picked off three passes on the day, and in terms of aesthetics, his placed a very distant third.

Jourdan Lewis played one of the best halves of football of any Dallas Cowboy this season, forcing incompletions on the first four Atlanta passes in his direction, including back-to-back plays on third and fourth down to kill a Falcons drive deep in Dallas territory when this game was actually competitive. He waited until the third quarter to add the exclamation point.

The gold-medal effort, however, goes to Anthony Brown.

That’s his third pick of the year—a career-high for a season and quite easily a career-best for skill.

Threw a block party ✔

The game was probably over when the Cowboys made it 28-3, which didn’t prevent doofuses like me from making jokes about the other time Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn presided over such a lead a game involving the Atlanta Falcons. You probably know the one. The Falcons’ rather glum social media manager definitely does.

But the game was definitely over 43 seconds later, when Dorance Armstrong blocked a punt that rookie Nahshon Wright pounced on for a touchdown.

Here’s why that was impressive:

John Fassel’s special teams unit never fails to keep things interesting.

Gave us permission to stop worrying about CeeDee Lamb’s ankle ✔

We knew Lamb and Amari Cooper played through injury during last week’s loss. We weren’t sure quite how banged up they were, however, until Cooper made his weekly appearance with GBag Nation on 105.3 The Fan:

“CeeDee’s ankle was like — he had just hurt it on Wednesday. He could barely run. The same thing with me, you know what I’m saying. …  I could barely run, he could barely run, and we’re starting receivers. So it’s easy to cover two guys who can’t really do what they want to do.”

Given that logic, I’m going to presume Lamb’s ankle is not only healthy but reinforced with titanium, because he did everything he wanted to do against the Falcons, starting on the very first drive of the game:

Lamb would tack on another touchdown in the second quarter and finish the day with 106 total yards after departing in the third quarter with what would be termed an arm contusion. That bears monitoring heading into next week’s game against the Chiefs, although for now it’s worth considering his absence might have more to do with the game getting out of hand than the injury itself.

Either way, the ankle looks just fine. If Prescott is to be believed, the greatest worry about Lamb’s body might be what it can do to his teammates.

Gifted us with the double reverse butt slap ✔

Now this here is a special kind of celebration.

A celebration between dear friends and backfield mates who can anticipate each other’s every move—so well that they can perfectly sequence swats without so much as a glance at one another. It is your favorite athlete’s favorite celebration turned up to 11, because your favorite athlete dares not slap so soon after being slapped … unless, of course, your favorite athlete is Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott, in which case refer to the above video. It is formidable. It is groundbreaking. It is seismic.

It is a celebration worthy of a team that is a staggering 7-2 at the season’s halfway mark (we’ll have a Vibe Check with Babe Laufenberg this week with more on that). A celebration worthy of a team that has birthed new stars—Roberto is looking at you, Micah Parsons—and one that has weathered injuries. A team that has liberated us from Googling Cooper Rush. A team that reminded everyone why they’re Super Bowl contenders.

It is a celebration fit for these Dallas Cowboys, who may be the best version of themselves that we’ve seen in a couple of decades. And if they actually win the Super Bowl … well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves with so much football left to play.

Give us one more for the road, Dak and Zeke.

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