Remember when we told you to stop talking about Tony Romo? Remember when we said to stop worrying about the Cowboys offense?
The Dallas Cowboys notched their 12th win of the season, beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-20 on Sunday night, thanks to big days from Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott.
And defensive end David Irving.
Elliott carried the ball 23 times for 159 yards and a touchdown. Prescott completed 32-of-36 passes, for 279 yards, and ran three times for 22 yards and a touchdown.
"I thought fight was all over the field tonight," head coach Jason Garrett said of his team's performance. "I just thought we battled, scratched, clawed throughout and certainly did enough to win the game."
The Cowboys jumped out to a 17-3 lead, as their offense jolted back to life and showed their 11-game win streak form. Elliott ran for a touchdown to cap a five-play, 14-yard touchdown drive and give Dallas a 7-3 lead.
Then he jumped in the Salvation Army kettle behind the end zone, and set social media on fire.
“I’m going to match whatever they fine me and donate it to the Salvation Army,” Elliott said of the celebration, and any possible fine the NFL may throw at him for the celebration.
"He was actually talking about that pregame, should he do it or will they fine me'," Prescott said. "I didn’t really give much input on it, just thought it would be funny. I didn’t know he was actually going to go down and come back up slow. I think it was worth it.
“I enjoyed it, 100 percent. I had a good laugh at him coming up slowly.”
Later in the second quarter, Prescott waltzed into the end zone on a QB draw, calmly walking through the parted red sea created by a brilliant play call and the Cowboys bruising offensive line, and Dallas had a 17-3 lead.
That play ended a 10-play, 64-yard drive that featured a strong dose of Prescott easily sifting his way through the Tampa defense, on his way to a 15-of-18, 134-yard start to the game. Prescott completed five of six passes on the drive for 47 yards, and added a 15-yard scramble up the left sideline before his two-yard draw creased the end zone.
No one was talking about Tony Romo by that point.
"It was an important week," Garret said. "One of the words that we talked about right from the outset of this week was 'respond'. How are we going to respond? Our guys did a great job responding with our work during this week to prepare for our ballgame and we came out and did a good job early on in the ballgame to get a lead."
“The way he [Dak] handles himself is amazing,” wide receiver Dez Bryant said of his quarterback. "We’ve got to stick together. We’ve got to just focus on ourselves and keep on pushing. We’re not paying attention to the noise."
David Irving had one of his best games of the season, recording a pair of sacks and hitting Jameis Winston’s arm forcing a pass high that was intercepted by Jeff Heath. Irving essentially took over the fourth quarter for Dallas, keeping Tampa Bay from finishing the comeback.
"I just did what I practiced," Irving said. "We rushed better as a whole defensive unit. We were leaving some gaps open here and there and were indecisive on rushes. I guess we just got more comfortable and started playing better.”
Bryant summed up Irving's day thusly: “The guy’s phenomenal. The guy is the truth.”