That face last night. That's the face of "oh crap," and now Dak is running to microphones insisting his thumb is healing lightning fast. He knows he need to head this off now while he believes he still has the chance.
But it's too late. Ship done sailed.
Jerry is getting that bounce in his step, not just from the wins, but from all the positive hubbub about his team so suddenly. Jerry has always been about the here-and-now and the buzz, and right now the league is aflutter with Cooper and the Cowboys. Jerry is blushing with giddiness.
Dak notices. And he's concerned. He was on the other side of this equation not so many years ago.
Cooper Rush is not the future of Dallas Cowboys football, nor is he actually setting the league on fire. However, he is showing that he knows how to play the position with poise and limited skill when tasked to do so, as a good backup quarterback should. The Cowboys quite obviously have a very good backup QB, and we didn't even really know it until now.
Therein lies the sudden problem. Dak knows the starter here is equally as limited, but without the poise and willingness to get the ball out quickly to intermediate routes with anticipatory throws. Dak takes so many unnecessary sacks that Rush does not, and his scatter-gun arm shrivels up and hides when it's time to take the shot to often.
What really caught my eye last night, and I'm sure Dak's, were two throws from Rush when he reached back and put some mustard on the ball. One to Noah Brown over the middle, and one to CeeDee on the crucial 4th down. I didn't know he had that ability, but he ripped those throws on a line.
After Barkley scored and put the Giants up, Rush settled the offense and led them to 17 points in the next three possessions. That's good stuff when it mattered most in that game, which could have been a 34-10 whooping if the Cowboys would have just gotten out of their own way at times.
The other thing you see is a sudden confidence amidst the poise with Rush. He now knows he's long for this league one way or the other. He's got Chase Daniel money coming his way now, and the team is responding to him. Yet another observation Dak has made as well, no doubt.
As I stated last week, there's a hornet's nest awaiting Dak coming out of this injury, and he'd better be ready to be a very different quarterback when it gets here. He got booed out of the stadium in Week 1, and the natives are not pining for him to return. A bad beginning is going to bring the fan base down on him worse than this run of injuries he's had.
Worse yet, what eyes will be looking back at him in the huddle? "Glad you're back," or "where's Cooper?" What will those eyes be saying?
Dak is at the precipice of proving himself once and for all, or losing his place here forever. This is it, and his face last night looked like he knew it.