3 Takeaways from Cowboys' Week 8 Win vs. Bears

Jake RillOctober 31, 2022

3 Takeaways from Cowboys' Week 8 Win vs. Bears

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    Dallas Cowboys' Micah Parsons celebrates his fumble recovery and touchdown run during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
    AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

    The NFC East has been quite competitive early in the 2022 NFL season. All four teams in the division are now .500 or better, and the quartet has only eight combined losses.

    The Dallas Cowboys are doing their part to make sure the NFC East title race stays tight.

    On Sunday, Dallas pulled away in the second half for a 49-29 win over the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys improved to 6-2, pulling even with the New York Giants and sitting only 1 1/2 games back of the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles.

    It was an impressive showing for Dallas' offense, which racked up 442 total yards and scored six touchdowns. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who played his second game since returning from right thumb surgery, accounted for three TDs (two passing, one rushing).

    Here are three takeaways from Dallas' Week 8 victory.

Pollard Is the Clear Best Option out of the Backfield

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    Dallas Cowboys' Tony Pollard runs during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
    AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

    Ezekiel Elliott hasn't been a workhorse running back for the Cowboys this season. Part of the reason for that is because of his inconsistent production (as he has four games with 3.8 yards per carry or less). And the other part is due to the incredible abilities of Tony Pollard.

    With Elliott missing Sunday's game due to a knee injury, Pollard had a bigger role in Dallas' offense. The 25-year-old RB took advantage of those increased opportunities, as he had 14 carries for 131 yards and three touchdowns, one of which came on a 54-yard run that pushed the Cowboys' lead to 20 points in the fourth quarter.

    Could this breakout performance lead to more touches for Pollard in the future, perhaps at the expense of Elliott?

    "We look at Tony as a one and Zeke as a one," Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy said, per Patrik Walker of the team's official site. "We're very fortunate to have this duo of backs. We prepare that way and we scheme that way."

    Even though the Cowboys appear committed to splitting the work between the two RBs once Elliott returns, they may want to get the ball in Pollard's hands as much as possible. Because at this point, it's clear he has the hotter hand and is becoming the top option out of Dallas' backfield.

Parsons Continues to Find New Ways to Amaze on Defense

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    Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) recovers a Chicago Bears fumble during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. Parsons would run the ball for a touchdown on the play. Dallas won 49-29. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
    AP Photo/Brandon Wade

    Micah Parsons still has only 24 games of NFL experience over two seasons. Yet, the 23-year-old linebacker is already one of the most entertaining and explosive defensive players in the league. And it's because of plays like the one he made in the third quarter on Sunday.

    With Dallas leading 35-23, Chicago faced a 3rd-and-16 at its own 19-yard line with 5 minutes and 35 seconds to go in the third. On that play, Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed a pass to running back David Montgomery, who was trying to make Cowboys defenders miss and convert a first down. Only Montgomery couldn't hold onto the ball.

    As the ball bounced toward the sideline, Parsons fell on it. But the former Penn State standout never got touched, and he realized that. So he got up and pulled off an impressive return, taking it 36 yards to the end zone for his first NFL touchdown.

    "That guy is an athlete. That guy is a hell of a player, one of the best in the league," Prescott said, per Layten Praytor of the team's official site. "And just for him to be able to go get that touchdown … trust me, many more will come in his career."

    Even when Parsons isn't scoring TDs, he's still making a huge impact on the defensive side of the ball for the Cowboys. And considering he's only 1 1/2 seasons into his NFL tenure, it will be exciting to watch him for years to come.

The Cowboys Are in a Great Spot at the Midway Point

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    Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
    AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

    The Cowboys have reached the approximate midway point of their season. They're 6-2 heading into their Week 9 bye, and they'll have nine games to play when they return to action. So far, Dallas has to be pleased with how the year has gone.

    After dropping their season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cowboys have won six of seven games. Their only loss during that stretch was a Week 6 road matchup against the NFC East rival Eagles, who are the only undefeated team remaining in the NFL.

    In the second half, Dallas still has three division games to play (one apiece against each of its NFC East rivals). It also has some challenging road matchups against teams such as the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans.

    But the Cowboys have proven they're a legitimate playoff contender in the NFC. They didn't even have Prescott for a five-game stretch, and they still found ways to keep winning with backup quarterback Cooper Rush leading the offense.

    Now with a week to rest and get healthier, Dallas is set up well to continue having success over the final nine weeks of the regular season.

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