Cowboys vs. Colts score, takeaway: Defense forces four second-half turnovers as Dallas shuts out Indy

Cowboys vs. Colts score, takeaway: Defense forces four second-half turnovers as Dallas shuts out Indy

The Cowboys moved to 9-3 on the season with a 54-19 victory over the Colts on Sunday night.

Indy gave Dallas a run for its money out of the gate, scoring 10 points on its first two possessions to take the lead. The Cowboys were able to spark a pair of touchdown drives to jump ahead, but the Colts had a chance to go into halftime with a surprising lead, especially after Stephon Gilmore picked off Dak Prescott with just under three minutes remaining. second quarter However, Matt Ryan and Co. had just one possession on that possession and the veteran quarterback threw a pick on the next drive, which led to a five-play touchdown drive for Dallas to go up by eight before halftime.

In the second half, Indianapolis took the lead again thanks to Alec Pierce’s 15-yard touchdown catch, but was unable to tie Dallas after Parris Campbell’s two-point attempt failed. The Cowboys absorbed that blow and countered with a 75-yard touchdown drive. At that point, the defense did the rest, forcing four straight Indianapolis turnovers to put the game away.

Dak Prescott completed 20 of 30 passes for 170 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Tony Pollard and Michael Gallup found the bottom line twice. On the other hand, Matt Ryan was 21 of 37 passing for 233 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

To learn more about how this game was developed, check out our sections below.

Why the Cowboys won

As we continue to see Dallas as a Super Bowl threat, the main reason is based on their defense. That was shown in the fourth quarter, where the Cowboys completely shut the door on the Colts possibly pulling off the upset. After driving 90 yards on a 15-play touchdown drive to bring Indy within two points of a tie, Dan Quinn’s defense flipped a switch. the offense gave them a cushion when they made a 75-yard touchdown drive to extend the lead to nine, but they didn’t need it. The fourth quarter was a defensive avalanche, followed by four turnovers, including a Malik Hooker fumble and goal. Even when the defense wasn’t scoring on their own, they were setting up the offense to charge, which they did after each of the next three turnovers. That led to a 33-0 fourth-quarter run that gave Dallas its ninth straight victory.

Those 33 points are tied for second most by any team in the fourth quarter of a game in NFL history.

Naturally, the defense will be the main story coming out of this game, but the run game had its moments as well. As a team, Dallas rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns. That was largely led by Tony Pollard — who started Sunday night despite Ezekiel Elliott being healthy on the roster — as he rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

CeeDee Lamb was also a difference maker in the passing game. Not only did he find the end zone and lead the team to the receiving end, but as Dallas continued to roll, it also freed up others to make impact plays. A great example of this was Michael Gallup’s first touchdown of the day in the second quarter. Lamb took it out to left, which forced Stephon Gilmore — who was initially covering Gallup — to stay out. Gallup worked his way up the middle of the field and eventually connected with Prescott who was coming out to the right for the lead.

Why the Colts lost

Indianapolis seemed to give the Cowboys the best shot, but it wasn’t strong enough to make a lasting impact. They took advantage of some short fields early on and built a small lead early on, but the offensive line started allowing the Dallas front to get home late in the first half. After jumping out to a 10-7 lead, Matt Ryan took back possessions on third down and forced Indy to punt the ball away. They then held on for a field goal, despite the defense picking off Prescott and immediately driving the offense into the red zone. Ryan also threw a pick with a minute left in halftime, which was plenty of time to give Dallas another touchdown.

Those four possessions in the first half after the opening touchdown allowed Indy to plan their flag on the floor and put Dallas on angry alert, but they only scored three points in that stretch. With the talent disparity between these two teams as wide as it is, the Colts need to play flawlessly and take advantage of those opportunities when they are available for the pick.

Of course, a second half collapse of four straight turnovers will put any team in a coffin. That also continued the rough trend in Indianapolis in the fourth quarter. Entering Week 13, the Colts had been outscored by -19 points in the fourth quarter of their last two games. Being outscored 33-0 in the final quarter won’t help those numbers.

Turning point

While the offense in the second half will get most of the attention, Dallas started to pull away before the half. The defense held the Colts to a field goal, even though the offense gave the football away in the red zone following a Dak Prescott interception. On the defense’s next possession, Malik Hooker picked off Matt Ryan and sparked a touchdown drive by the offense that put the Cowboys up by eight at halftime. That put the Colts away and they were able to keep the lead, even when Indy scored on a 90-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter.

Of course, things went wrong after that. Dallas extended its lead after the offense drove 75 yards down the field to increase the lead to nine and the defense recorded four straight tackles to win the game, including Hooker’s 38-yard field goal and score.

the game

CeeDee Lamb’s 20-yard touchdown catch from Dak Prescott was one of the most impressive solo efforts of the game. The Cowboys threw a touchdown pass on third-and-9, and it looked like they would be well off the mark on first down. However, with Rodney McLeod Jr. scooping up and Lamb never touching the ground, he fell on top of the Colts safety. Lamb realized he wasn’t down and made a head-to-head play to go to the end zone for the score and give Dallas their first lead of the evening. Lamb finished with five catches for 71 yards and that score.

What’s next

From now on, Dallas will hang around AT&T Stadium and wait for the Houston Texans on Sunday in Week 14. As for the Colts, they will have a bye in Week 14 before going on the road to face the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15 to begin the final stretch of the 2022 regular season.

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