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The Cowboys score offensive and defensive TDs, then tackle a safety versus the Rams

The Cowboys score offensive and defensive TDs, then tackle a safety versus the Rams

Todd ArcherESPN staff writerOctober 29, 2023 at 01:48 PM ET2 min read

ARLINGTON, Texas – Just 16 minutes and 21 seconds into Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, the Dallas Cowboys had points on offense, defense and special teams.

One was expected: tight end Jake Ferguson. One should start to be predictable: cornerback Daron Bland. The third was a bit surprising: a blocked punt by defensive end Sam Williams that went through the end zone.

And to think the Cowboys had an almost disastrous start, with two Prescott sacks on the first drive only being saved by a Rams penalty. It ended with Prescott’s perfect pass down the seam to Ferguson.

The Cowboys didn’t waste time in the red zone, which was an uncomfortable place for them (nine touchdowns on 23 drives), as Ferguson gained an advantage over linebacker Olakunle Fatukase and Prescott put the ball away from defensive back Jordan Fuller to give it away. Ferguson’s chance to grab the jump.

In some ways, it looked like a throw Prescott had made several times to Ferguson’s predecessor, Dalton Schultz. The touchdown was only the second on the Cowboys’ opening drive this season. The previous was in their Week 2 win over the New York Jets.

Bland extended the Cowboys’ lead to 17-3 with a 30-yard pick six from Matthew Stafford on a throw to receiver Cooper Kupp. Bland became the first Cowboy in team history to record three interception touchdowns in a season, having done so in the season opener against the New York Giants and Week 4 against the New England Patriots.

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His last two came while filling in for injured Pro Bowler Trevon Diggs, who suffered a knee injury in practice before his third game. Bland is one of the most players selected in a single season by Eric Allen (1993), Jim Kearney (1972) and Ken Houston (1971), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Stafford is tied with Dan Marino for the second-most snaps in NFL history, trailing only Brett Favre (30).

Three plays later, Williams forced his way by Michael Hocht to block Ethan Evans’ punt through the end zone for a 19-3 lead.

On the ensuing punt, KaVontae Turpin had a 63-yard punt return that set up Dak Prescott’s touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb.