The Cowboys moved to 9-3 on the season after defeating the Colts 54-19 on Sunday night.

Indy scored 10 points on its first two possessions to give Dallas money a run out of the gate. The Cowboys were able to spark two touchdown drives to jump ahead, but the Colts had a chance to take a surprising lead into halftime, especially after Stephen Gilmore picked off Dak Prescott with less than three minutes to play in the game. Second quarter. However, Matt Ryan and company were held to just one field goal on that possession and the veteran quarterback threw a pick on the following drive, capping a five-play touchdown drive in Dallas to go up eight by eight before halftime.

In the second half, Indianapolis was the first to start the score again with a 15-yard touchdown by Alec Pierce, but after a two-point attempt by Parris Campbell, Dallas could not even draw. The Cowboys absorbed that punch and came back on offense with a 75-yard touchdown drive. At that point, the defense did the rest, forcing four straight turnovers against Indianapolis to put the game away.

Dak Prescott completed 20 of 30 passes for 170 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Tony Pollard and Michael Gallup both found the end zone twice. On the other hand, Matt Ryan passed 21 of 37 for 233 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Check out our presentation below for more details on how this game unfolded.

Why did the Cowboys win?

While we continue to view Dallas as a Super Bowl threat, the main reason centers around their defense. That was on full display in the fourth quarter, when the Cowboys may have completely shut the door on the Colts by unleashing their fury. After allowing a 15-play touchdown drive that traveled 90 yards and brought Indy within two points, Dan Quinn’s defense changed. The offense gave them some cushion as they went their own way on a 75-yard touchdown drive, but they didn’t need it to extend the lead to nine. The fourth quarter was a defensive flurry that featured four consecutive turnovers, including a Malik Hooker scoop and score. Even though the defense didn’t score a goal of their own, they were setting up the offense to cash in, which they did after the following three turnovers. That sparked a 33-0 fourth quarter run that propelled Dallas to its ninth straight win.

Those 33 points are the second-most points scored in the fourth quarter by any team in NFL history.

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

CD Lam was the difference maker in the game. Not only did he find the end zone and lead the team in receiving, but when Dallas moved him, he freed up others to make an impact. A good example of that came on Michael Gallup’s first touchdown in the second quarter. Lamb signaled to the left, forcing Stephon Gilmore — who was originally covering Gallup — to stay outside. Gallup worked his way up the middle and eventually connected with Prescott as he went right for the score.

Why did the colts disappear?

Indianapolis seemed to give the Cowboys their best punch, but it wasn’t strong enough to make a lasting impact. They used some short fields early on to build a slim lead early, but the offensive line began to allow Dallas’ lead to come home late in the first half. After jumping out to a 10-7 lead, Matt Ryan was sacked on third down on back-to-back catches, forcing Indy to punt. The defense then picked off Prescott and forced the offense into the red zone, but they were only forced to score. Ryan threw a pick with a minute left before halftime, giving Dallas plenty of time to put together another touchdown drive.

After those four possessions in the first half, it was time for Indy to plant their flag on the ground and put Dallas on a frustrated alert, but they could only get three points from that distance. The talent gap between these two teams is vast, so the Colts had to play and capitalize on those opportunities when it came to the polls.

Of course, a second-half slump would put any team in the coffin for four consecutive turnovers. That continued a difficult trend for Indianapolis in the fourth quarter. Coming into Week 13, the Colts had a -19 point differential in the fourth quarter in their last two games. Being outscored 33-0 in the final quarter doesn’t exactly help those numbers.

turning point

While the second half offense got most of the attention, Dallas started to pull away before the half. Dak Prescott’s offense at midfield put them in the red zone, but the defense held the Colts to a field goal. On the next defensive play, Malik Hooker sacked Matt Ryan and sparked a touchdown to put the Cowboys up by eight at halftime. That kept the Colts at arm’s length, and Indy was able to keep the lead on a 90-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter.

Of course, things went off the rails after that. Dallas extended its lead 75 yards down the field to nine, and the defense committed four consecutive turnovers to win the game, including Hooker’s 38-yard scoop and goal.

The game of the game

Sid Lam’s 20-yard dunk catch and run from Dak Prescott was one of the most impressive individual efforts of the game. The Cowboys wideout hauled in a pass on third-and-9 and appeared to be taken down short of a first-down marker. However, Rodney McLeod Jr. rolled it up and the cow never touched the ground, instead falling to the Colts’ safety. Realizing that Lamb wasn’t down, he ran the punt into the end zone to give Dallas its first lead of the night and put the leaders on the play. Lamb finished with a team-high five catches for 71 yards.

What’s next?

From here, Dallas hangs around AT&T Stadium and awaits the Houston Texans on Sunday in Week 14. As for the Colts, they will be bye in Week 14 before going on the road to face the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15 to start the final game of the 2022 regular season.



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