Cooper Rush wasn’t flashy. He didn’t have a big arm or quick feet. He definitely didn’t post eye-popping numbers on that stat sheet. But Rush saved the Dallas Cowboys 2022 season.
Rush left a bad taste in Cowboys fans’ mouths with his last start in a Week 6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He completed only 47% of his passes for 181 yards and three interceptions.
But fans shouldn’t let that cloud their view of the backup QB. Without Rush’s solid play over the five-week stretch Dak Prescott was out with an injury, the Cowboys would be in a far worse spot going into the Week 9 bye.
The Cowboys unsung hero
Rush went 4-1 in Prescott’s absence. But before his first game, it seemed more realistic for the Cowboys to go 1-4 during that span.
Rush averaged 16 completions and 191 passing yards per game in his starts. He threw three interceptions in his final game against the Eagles, but posted no turnovers in the four games prior.
The key to Rush’s success was knowing his limitations and avoiding mistakes. Had turned the ball over more, he likely wouldn’t hold an .800 win percentage as a starter this season.
Rush also got help from another player Cowboys fans had low expectations for going into the year.
Noah Brown deserves praise
Noah Brown was a seventh round selection by Dallas in the 2017 NFL Draft. In his previous four seasons with the team, he accumulated only 64 receptions for 425 yards and no touchdowns.
But he’s left his mark on the 2022 Cowboys. Brown is on pace to breeze past his career stats in this season alone. He’s already tallied 39 catches for 339 yards and a touchdown.
His biggest performance came in a Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals when he caught all five of his targets for 91 yards and a score.
CeeDee Lamb had a slow start to the season, catching only two of his 11 targets for 29 yards in a Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was largely due to the extra attention the Bucs’ defense gave to Lamb because Michael Gallup didn’t play. Lamb was the only real receiving threat Dallas had.
But Brown’s emergence opened things up for Lamb and his numbers have consistently grown now that defenses have another receiver to worry about.
Rush has been relegated back to the bench now that Prescott is healthy. Brown will likely see a diminished role in the offense since Gallup has returned. Plus, veteran WR James Washington is due to make his season debut in the coming weeks after suffering a foot injury in preseason.
But Dallas Cowboys fans shouldn’t forget what Rush and Brown did to elevate the team after Prescott went down. Without each of them having career-years, there’s no way the Cowboys would hold a 6-2 record right now.