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Cowboys Defeat Colts with Five-Turnover Performance

Sports

Tony Pollard #20 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball in the first half of a game against the Indianapolis Colts. | Image by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys set a franchise record for most points scored in a single quarter on Sunday Night Football in a blowout 54-19 win over the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were within two points late in the third quarter after failing to convert a two-point try before the Dallas defense forced four turnovers on four consecutive drives to add to a first-quarter interception on a tipped ball.

WHAT TO KNOW

The Cowboys struggled early and had difficulty moving the ball effectively but benefited from a turnover that resulted in a score, while Indianapolis was able to go blow-for-blow with one of the NFL’s top teams. Second-quarter mistakes by the Colts doomed any chance at an upset in a game that the Cowboys were heavily favored to win.

The win keeps the Cowboys within two games of the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles.

For the first time in his career with the Cowboys, running back Ezekiel Elliott was the backup to Tony Pollard. Fans have been clamoring to see the change for weeks as Elliott has worked back into form from an injury while Pollard has exploded, But the move is likely already over, according to the Cowboys.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that Elliott was benched in favor of Pollard as punishment for a disciplinary action likely from the star back being late to a team meeting, practice, or the game. The exact details are far from clear at this point.

Regardless, the Cowboys opened the game with Pollard who went for six yards in his first three attempts before Elliott came in to round off a 10-yarder and pick up the Cowboys’ second first down of the game. Pollard had a 10-yard reception earlier to give the Cowboys their first first down of the game after opening the game with a short three-and-out.

BY THE NUMBERS

DaRon Bland had two interceptions on back-to-back offensive drives in the fourth quarter that each resulted in touchdowns. The defense also forced a Matt Ryan fumble on a sack and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Malik Hooker in the quarter.

The Cowboys’ offense was held in check in the first half by the Indianapolis defense. Quarterback Dak Prescott threw an interception on a pass that was meant for Michael Gallup but the route was jumped by Steven Gilmore who returned the pick 31-yards to set up an Indianapolis field goal that had the Colts down by just one point late in the second quarter.

The Colts’ first turnover of the game came on a pass from Ryan that was intended for Alec Pierce but the ball was tipped into the air and Hooker made a diving catch to record the interception. The Cowboys scored a touchdown six plays later on a pass from Prescott to Gallup.

CeeDee Lamb continues to stand out as the team’s number one receiver which continues to fuel discussion about whether Odell Beckham Jr. is needed in the receiver’s room. Beckham is scheduled to meet with the Cowboys on December 5 and has expressed interest in playing for the team.

Lamb scored the Cowboys’ first touchdown on a smart play in which the receiver was pulled to the ground but was able to put his hand on the ground and roll over the defender before running into the endzone for the score.

Elliott also scored a rushing touchdown and jumped in the Salvation Army bucket displayed at the back of the end zone. Prescott wound an imaginary handle and Elliott rose up from the red cauldron like a jack in the box before giving fans his trademark “feed me” gesture.

During the Thanksgiving Day game, tight end Peyton Hendershot and the rest of the tight ends group played “Whack-a-Mole” in the Salvation Army bucket. Dalton Schultz received a $13,261 fine from the NFL, Jake Ferguson was charged $4,895, Sean McKeon was hit with $4,944, and Hendershot got a $3,944 fine for the prank.

By the time the Cowboys had a 47-19 lead, Cooper Rush came in and led a short 29-yard scoring drive that saw three hand-offs to Malik Davis, who scored his first NFL touchdown to close out the drive.

WHO SAID?

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said: “Our mantra is ‘Resiliency’ and we talk about it all year long. We are just keeping our heads down and trying to get better each and every day.”

NEXT UP

Next Sunday the Cowboys will host the Texans at AT&T Stadium at noon CT.

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