Cowboys passing game regained its fastball against WFT thanks to relentless pace and execution


ARLINGTON – The Cowboys call this their “fastball” attack.

No long gatherings in the caucus. No slow march to the line of scrimmage. No waiting until the last second of the game clock. For wide receivers, where the previous game ended is drawn to where the next one begins.

A relentless tempo.

Play after game after game.

“They were really tired,” wide receiver Amari Cooper said of Washington defenders on Sunday. “It was two weeks ago when we faced them. One of the D-line men on their team said, “You all have to slow this thing down. That’s what he told me. I think it really affected them. I noticed that when we got to our fastball we were moving the ball much more efficiently.

Last Thursday, Cooper didn’t mince words, expressing his desire to get more involved in the offense so that he can help the Cowboys in high-leverage situations as he believes he can. There was a lot of involvement on Sunday to go around. The supporting cast of quarterback Dak Prescott picked up the pace and kept it going in a 56-14 football team teardown.

Dictating the tempo was part of the offensive identity at the start of the season.

The fastball found the strike zone on Sunday due to the way players such as Cooper executed.

In the first half alone, he caught seven of nine passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. The opening play of the game went to him in the right dish for 7 yards. After Cooper specifically said he wanted to be used more on third downs and the red zone, he caught a 10-yard pass in the first quarter to convert Washington’s third and 6th of 19.

On the play that followed, tight end Dalton Schultz scored 9 yards.

Prescott’s production is easy to admire. Indeed, in the first half alone, he completed 27 of 35 passes for 322 yards and four touchdowns. But just as he didn’t deserve all the blame when the Cowboys stumbled over the past few weeks, merit deserves to be like the football Prescott pitched.

Spread around.

Cooper had his aforementioned production in the first half, which followed a modest December 19 performance against the New York Giants in which he caught two of five targets for 8 yards in a win. After Cooper established his touchdown, Schultz returned the favor after Cooper. Schultz caught all of his first seven targets for 74 yards, including a 14-yard one late in the half on the fourth and second. He absorbed a heavy blow to the lower helmet area in the process, but managed to keep the ball.

In the play that followed, Cooper caught a 13-yard touchdown.

Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb had four catches for 66 yards in the first half, including some really difficult consecutive first quarter catches. This is the same player who gave up three combined assists in the previous two games, including two against New York.

“I thought he was electric tonight,” said coach Mike McCarthy. “You could see him in his pre-game. He was ready to go. I just think like a lot of guys we have to give him the ball early on. He’s had a few big, big games. He’s such an explosive player.

For good measure, wide receiver Michael Gallup finished the first half with two catches for 53 yards.

It was the first time in at least 40 years that four different Cowboys players had climbed 50 yards in a single half. At the end of the third quarter, wide receiver Malik Turner joined the club with 73 yards, connecting with quarterback Cooper Rush.

The receiving corps gave more help to their quarterbacks on Sunday. That was the difference, as the Cowboys threw their fast pitch.

“We’re not designed to throw the ball at one guy,” McCarthy said. “I made that clear the day I arrived here. It’s an attack that’s a progression, and the quarterback, if he has to worry about sending the ball to this guy or that guy, that’s our job as coaches. We have to build that into the game plan, the matchups, the progressions and things like that.

“I think as we keep moving forward we keep improving because it’s all about the distribution of the ball.”


Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington football team at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, December 26, 2021 in Arlington.

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