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Michael Ainsworth / Associated Press
For the first time in nearly a year, Dak Prescott played a game at AT&T Stadium on Monday night. And the Dallas Cowboys quarterback wasted no time trying to be successful on his home turf.
The appellant and his team dominated their Week 3 game against the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles, taking control early and rising to a 41-21 victory in their home opener.
Prescott last played at Dallas Stadium in Week 5 of the 2020 season, when he suffered an ankle injury that ended his year.
This time around, the 28-year-old had 238 yards and three touchdowns while leading a Cowboys offense that amassed 380 total yards and 27 first downs. His first touchdown pass was a 19-yard strike to tight end Dalton Schultz that gave Dallas a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter, and he led the rest of the way.
Here are three takeaways from the Cowboys’ Week 3 win.
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Roger Steinman / Associated press
There were quite a few people (especially fantasy football managers) who were concerned for the first two weeks about using Ezekiel Elliott in the Cowboys backfield. He was still the starter, but Tony Pollard had a lot of work to do and shared the keys with his teammate.
Make no mistake about it, though: Elliott is still the top running back in this timeshare. And when he has a favorable game, he will post impressive stats like he did on Monday night, when he had 17 carries for 95 yards and two touchdowns, which were all season highs.
The 26-year-old had no trouble making his way through the Eagles defense, with both of his touchdowns coming in the first half. His second score gave Dallas a 20-7 lead with seven minutes and 10 seconds before halftime.
“You can tell with the O line pushing them all back five yards, you can tell when we’re going to hurry and they’re still on the ground, cramping,” Elliott said, per David Helman from the official team website. “They really smelled us.”
So even though Pollard has grown into a solid player for the Cowboys offense, Elliott is still a tough, bruised runner who could pitch in here over the next few weeks.
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Ron Jenkins / Associated Press
The Cowboys’ defense is much better this season than in 2020, when it was among the worst units in the NFL, especially against running. And it is because of the big plays that the team makes on this side of the ball.
In three weeks, the Cowboys already have six interceptions despite facing a trio of strong quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts. On Monday night, Trevon Diggs and Anthony Brown each scored a pick, the former returning 59 yards for a touchdown that took Dallas to 27-7 within a minute of the second half.
Diggs already has three interceptions this season, tying his tally from his 2020 rookie season. He’s taking his game to another level and was one of the main reasons the Cowboys kept the Eagles at seven points in the first two. quarters and a half.
“I’m a new corner so I have to do this job,” the 24-year-old said, by Rob phillips from the official team website. “A lot of those other turns have a lot of years on me. I have to do this job just to be good or even better than them. I have to put those hours into it. I have to put that in. It’s just something that my family comes, just work hard and grind. “
It’s an encouraging sign for Dallas that Diggs and the rest of his defense are showing improved play. The offense was already strong, so if the defense continues to have such an impact, that should bode well for the Cowboys down the line.
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Ron Jenkins / Associated Press
We’re only three weeks into the 2021 regular season, which will be the longest in NFL history, with each team playing 17 games over 18 weeks. A lot can change by early January, but it’s already clear that the Cowboys 2-1 are the best team in the NFC East this year.
The Eagles likely won’t finish bottom in the division for the second straight season, but they’re still too young and inexperienced to wrestle. The defense of the Washington football team falls short of the hype, and their offense is not talented enough to push them to success. Both teams are 1-2, while the New York Giants are 0-3 and appear to be heading for a final spot.
Dallas’ only loss to date came in his first game of the season against the reigning Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he was beaten by just two points. The Cowboys also own a win over the Los Angeles Chargers, who appear to be a much stronger team in 2021 after beating the Kansas City Chiefs.
Now Dallas will play at home again each of the next two weeks, hosting the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants. So he could further extend his lead in the NFC East and continue to prove early on that they are the strongest team in the division this season.