The Dallas Cowboys got back in the winning column Sunday night, defeating the red-hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a score of 26-20.
The Cowboys already had a playoff spot heading into this one, but after a tough loss last week to the Giants, their rookie phenoms returned to stardom to get the one step closer to the #1 seed in the NFC, and a first round bye.
Their rookie stars, who have gotten them to 11-2, struggled against the New York Football Giants last Sunday night, in the bitter cold of Metlife Stadium, but this week, was complete opposite. Dak Prescott had a near perfect performance, completing 32 of 36 passes for 279 yards, and even running in a touchdown when it was all said and done. The second part of the dynamic rookie-duo, perhaps the best we have ever seen, Ezekiel Elliott ran for 159 yards and a touchdown on only 23 carries. The duo seemed to revitalize a stagnant Cowboys offense on Sunday Night, against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that had won 5 straight, with the best overall defense during that span.
On top of Rookie of the Year, Ezekiel Elliott is also making a very strong case for the league MVP, and Sunday did nothing short off add to that resume. Elliott has now tallied up 1,551 rushing yards this year on 310 carries. I may be in Pre-Calculus, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Elliott is averaging just over 5.0 yards per carry, separating him from any other running back in the league.
Not only is Elliott good at running the ball, but he also pulls out some pretty nifty celebrations once he finds the promise land.
— NFL (@NFL) December 19, 2016
Throughout all my years of watching Dallas Cowboys football, it’s safe to say I have never seen a celebration quite like this one. While jumping into the infamous Salvation Army kettle may have cost the Cowboys a penalty, it served justice for the Salvation Army. That 14 seconds of TV-time was worth nearly $200,000 for the company, a rise they typically don’t receive in under 1-minute.
Postgame, Elliott promised to pay any fine the NFL would induce on him, and even pay the same amount to the Salvation Army. Turns out, the NFL will not fine Elliott for the celebration, but Elliott has still promised to give $21,000 to the company.
“I mean it’s just sitting there right in the end zone, you know. It’s the perfect celebration,” Elliott said after the game. “They’re one of our biggest partners, so I had to show them a little bit of love.”
While Elliott and the Cowboys are happy that they won’t be paying the hefty fine that some would say is unnecessary, that ticked off some other NFL players.
“Well, he shouldn’t have done it. I thought it was creative, but he shouldn’t have done it,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “You know that’s how the league is going to rule on those things.”
While Garrett was disappointed in Elliott, he saw an opportunity to call out the NFL’s policy on celebrations and took it. Garrett drew parallels between Elliott’s celebration and the Lambeau Leap, and after all, he isn’t wrong.
“You have to understand what’s legal and what’s not legal. You can jump into the stands in Green Bay, but you can’t jump into a Salvation Army bucket in Dallas. You’ve got to be careful about snow angels. All of these different things that we do. So we have to be more mindful of that. I’ve got to coach that better.”
That's funny there's no fine for that. I could only imagine if I was the one to do it. Just bein honest .
— Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3) December 19, 2016
Beckham went on to tweet that this was not a shot taken towards the Cowboys rookie, but instead to the League’s policy.
At the end of the day, the league needs to figure out their outlandish policy on fining players for celebrations. In my opinion, if the players want to celebrate after scoring, let them, as long as it’s not taunting the other team. This is what they risk their lives for, what they work their butts off for. Let. Them. Celebrate.
As said above, the Cowboys narrowly defeated the Buccaneers by a score of 26-20, and will now face off against the Lions on Monday Night Football. There is a chance that the Cowboys will already have the #1 seed locked up by then, with some help of the Eagles. With a Giants loss on Thursday Night Football, the Cowboys will have the #1 seed in the NFC and win the NFC East.
Be sure to follow @CowboysGameday_ on Twitter for all the Cowboys updates and news.
-Connor Hall (@518SportsChall)