The Dallas Cowboys are 10-1 and riding high atop the NFC and the entire NFL after defeating Washington, 31-26, on Thanksgiving. You don't get to 10-1 without making some opponents hate the very thought of playing against you along the way, and that's apparently exactly what the Cowboys have done this year. Just ask Washington safety Donte Whitner.
"They're very frustrating. You have a lot of quarterbacks in the National Football League that take chances with the football and [you] get the opportunity for interceptions," Whitner said, per the Dallas Morning News. "To put the ball on the ground when you get to them, when you sack them. This quarterback doesn't do that. ... That's why he's playing so well. He understands situations, he's not trying to turn the football over, and he's taking this opportunity and running with it."
Defensive end Chris Baker echoed those thoughts.
"[Dak Prescott] showed a lot of poise, made the plays that he was supposed to make whether it was using his feet or making that perfect throw in the corner," Baker said. "He did what he had to do to win the game. That's why their record is the way they are. They can run with Dak, they can pass with him, give it to [Ezekiel Elliott]. They're 10-1 for a reason."
Record aside, one can see why it would be very frustrating for a defense to play against these Cowboys. Prescott does not give very many opportunities for turnovers. In 11 games, he's been intercepted twice and lost three fumbles. He's completing 68 percent of his passes for 8.3 yards per attempt. When it gets to third down and you think you have a chance to take the ball away from Dallas, Dak is 62 of 93 for 796 yards, with 47 of those completions resulting in first downs, four resulting in touchdowns and just one being picked.
And, as Baker alluded to, Prescott may not even be the best rookie on the offense. Elliott is leading the NFL in carries, rushing yards, yards from scrimmage, and total touchdowns. Among the 28 running backs with at least 100 carries this season, he ranks fourth in yards per carry. Among the 32 running backs with at least 20 catches this season, he ranks second in yards per reception. He hasn't run for less than 92 yards since Week 2, when he ran for 83. He's 12 for 17 picking up first downs on third- or fourth-and-short, and he has seven second-half rushing touchdowns.
The Cowboys have the rare offense that is both efficient (No. 1 in DVOA) and explosive (third in big-play percentage) and because of that, it just seems like they always have the ball. (They do lead the NFL in time of possession at nearly 34 minutes a game.) When you can't take the ball away from them and you can't easily stop them from throwing or running, it's easy to see why teams like Washington could grow frustrated. Kirk Cousins led his team to three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter of the Thanksgiving game alone, and it just didn't matter. Dallas had two touchdown drives of its own and then just ran out the clock.