The Dallas Cowboys are currently amid a four-game winning streak and are keeping pace with the most competitive division in the NFL, the surprising NFC East. And the biggest reason for the Cowboys’ success has been the play of their defense.
The Dallas defense has allowed only a single touchdown in each of their first five games of the season. And their 14.4 points per game allowed to opposing offenses is the third lowest in the league.
As good as the defense has been, the Cowboys’ offense has been effective when needed and limited their mistakes. That’s despite having a backup quarterback under center in Cooper Rush. But against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Dallas proved they can still win despite a lackluster passing attack.
Rush finished the upset victory over the Rams completing just 10 of his 16 passes for 102 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Rush was also sacked three times and fumbled twice. Luckily, the Cowboys’ rushing attack was on point rolling over the defense in Los Angeles to the tune of 163 total yards on the ground and a score.
The Dallas defense did the rest, scoring a defensive touchdown off a fumble and limiting the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams to just 10 points in their Week Five victory.
With Rush only passing the ball 16 times in this matchup. the opportunities for the team’s offensive targets were sparse. But maybe the most surprising is the fact tight end Dalton Schultz finished the day being only targeted once and posting a zero on the stat sheet under receptions.
In fact, Schultz’s targets have steadily diminished since starting quarterback Dak Prescott was sidelined due to a thumb injury in the team’s Week One matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Schultz received a total of nine targets in that first game. He’s only been targeted a total of eight times ever since!
The 26-year old Schultz had a breakout season in 2021. He received a career-high 104 targets and registered 78 receptions for 808 yards and eight touchdowns. This offseason, the Cowboys used the franchise tag to keep Schultz in Dallas, tying him to a one-year contract worth $10.931 million and making him a free agent again in 2023.
Undoubtedly, Schultz was hoping to prove his doubters wrong this season and earn himself a lengthier deal in Dallas or elsewhere by duplicating the success he had last year. Yet, five games into the current regular season and he’s recorded a total of nine catches for 80 yards and has yet to score a touchdown.
Admittedly, Schultz has been struggling with a knee injury that forced him to miss the Cowboys’ Week Three matchup against the New York Giants. And he apparently re-aggravated that injury against the Rams on Sunday, although he was able to play through it.
Dalton Schultz hasn’t recorded a single reception in the Dallas Cowboys’ last three games. And while his knee injury is part of the reason as to why, there also seems to be a lack of chemistry between himself and backup passer Cooper Rush. So, there may not be a single player in the Cowboys’ offense who misses Dak Prescott more than Schultz.