Cowboys vs Colts score, takeaway: Defenses force four second-half turnovers as Dallas blasts Indy

Cowboys vs Colts score, takeaway: Defenses force four second-half turnovers as Dallas blasts Indy

The Cowboys improved to 9-3 this season after handling the Colts Sunday night, 54-19.

Indy gave Dallas a run for its money from the start, scoring 10 points on its first two possessions to take an early lead. The Cowboys managed to fire off a few touchdowns to get ahead, but the Colts had the opportunity to enter the break with a surprising lead, especially after Stephon Gilmore knocked out Dak Prescott with just under three. minutes to play in the second quarter. However, Matt Ryan & Co. were only held to a field goal on that possession and the veteran quarterback threw a pick on the next drive, which led to a five-play touchdown walk by Dallas to increase eight before the break.

In the second half, Indianapolis was again first to kick the score thanks to a 15-yard touchdown from Alec Pierce, but unable to tie even with Dallas after a failed two-point attempt against Parris Campbell . The Cowboys absorbed that punch and responded with a 75-yard offensive touchdown. At that point, the defense did the rest, forcing four straight turnovers in Indianapolis to put the game away.

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

For a more detailed breakdown of how this game played out, check out our takeaways below.

Why the Cowboys won

While we continue to see Dallas as a Super Bowl threat, the biggest reason centers on their defense. This was on full display in the fourth quarter when the Cowboys completely slammed the door on the Colts, which may have caused the upset. After allowing a 15-play touchdown that traveled 90 yards and brought Indy within two points of tying the score, Dan Quinn’s defense flipped a switch. the offense gave them some cushion as they drove in a 75-yard touchdown of their own, to extend the lead to nine, but they didn’t need it. The fourth quarter was a defensive avalanche that featured four straight turnovers, including a scoop and score from Malik Hooker. Even when the defense wasn’t scoring on their own, they were setting up the attack to cash in, which they did after each of the next three turnovers. That culminated in a 33-0 run in the fourth quarter that gave Dallas its ninth victory.

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

Naturally, defense is going to be the main story of this game, but the running game has had its moments as well. As a team, Dallas rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns. It was largely led by Tony Pollard – who got the start Sunday night the same with a healthy Ezekiel Elliott on the roster – as he tallied for 91 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

CeeDee Lamb also made the difference in the passing game. Not only did he find the end zone and lead the team into reception, but as Dallas continued to put him in motion, he also freed up other players to make impact plays. A good example of this came on Michael Gallup’s first touchdown on the day of the second quarter. Lamb waved a left, which forced Stephon Gilmore – who was originally covering for Gallup – to stay on the outside. Gallup worked in midfield and eventually joined Prescott who was rolling to the right for the score.

Why the Colts lost

Indianapolis seemed to give the Cowboys their best punch, but it just wasn’t strong enough to make a lasting impact. They took advantage of a few short fields at first and built a slim lead early, but the offensive line began to allow the Dallas front to go home late in the first half. After taking a 10-7 lead, Matt Ryan was sacked on consecutive possessions on third down and forced Indy to put the ball away. Then they were held to just one field goal, despite the defense knocking out Prescott and immediately putting the offense in the red zone. Ryan also threw a pick with a minute left before halftime, which gave Dallas plenty of time to make another touchdown run.

Those four first-half possessions after their opening touchdown were Indy’s time to plan their flag into the ground and put Dallas on upset alert, but they only managed to produce three runs in that streak. With the talent gap as wide as it is between these two teams, the Colts had to play perfectly and take advantage of these opportunities when they are there for the picking.

Of course, the second-half collapse that featured four straight turnovers will put any team in a coffin. It also continued a rough trend for Indianapolis in the fourth quarter. Heading into Week 13, the Colts had a -19 point differential in the fourth quarter of their last two games. Being outscored 33-0 in the last quarter won’t exactly help those numbers.


While the second half onslaught will draw attention, Dallas began to pull away just before halftime. The defense held the Colts to the basket, despite the offense giving them the ball in the red zone following an interception by Dak Prescott. On the next defensive possession, Malik Hooker knocked out Matt Ryan and fired a rushing touchdown that gave the Cowboys eight points before the break. This kept the Colts at arm’s length and was able to hold the lead even when Indy scored on a 90-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Of course, things went off the rails after that. Dallas extended the lead after the offense ran 75 yards down the field to come up from nine and the defense recorded four straight turnovers to win the game, including a scoop and a 38-yard score by Hooker.

Game of the game

Dak Prescott’s CeeDee Lamb 20-yard catch-and-run was one of the most impressive individual efforts of this game. The Cowboys fired a crosser on third-and-9 and looked downed well short of the first scorer. However, when Rodney McLeod Jr. wrapped him up and Lamb never hit the ground, he fell to Colts safety. Lamb realized he wasn’t down and played one-on-one to run to the end zone for the score and give Dallas their first lead of the night. Lamb finished with a team-best five catches for 71 yards and that score.

And after

From there, Dallas will hang out at AT&T Stadium and await the Houston Texans for a Week 14 showdown on Sunday. As for the Colts, they’ll be goodbye in Week 14 before hitting the road to take on the Vikings in Minnesota in Week 15 to begin the final leg of the 2022 regular season.

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