Rookie Cowboys duo have 'America's Team' riding high

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The Dallas Cowboys have taken the NFL by storm this season thanks to better-than-expected performances from two rookies who have quickly become the faces of 'America's Team' and given a jolt to sagging TV ratings.

Quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott have been a welcome revelation for a franchise that won three Super Bowl titles during a dominant stretch in the 1990s but have only made the playoffs five times in the last 16 seasons.

The pair have also helped bring some relief to the NFL, which has been in the unusual position of suffering a 14 percent drop in television ratings across all games this season.

The dynamic Dallas duo have led the Cowboys (8-1) to first place with an eight-game win streak, the latest coming in Sunday's thriller against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers that was the highest-rated NFL telecast of the 2016 campaign.

Prescott, a fourth-round pick whose incredible start has many experts believing long-time Cowboys' starter Tony Romo has lost his role, has not let the pressure of the toughest job in American sports faze him one bit.

"He's evolving and actually performing at a level that is very inordinate, eight wins is inordinate for our team," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said of Prescott's poise following Sunday's come-from-behind win in a hostile Pittsburgh environment.

As for Elliott, the Cowboys' fourth overall draft pick was expected to immediately productive given his talent and the team's dominant offensive line but few thought he would be unstoppable.

"I expected it out of myself. I'm a guy with high expectations," said Elliott. "I was put in a perfect situation. I'm surrounded with a lot of great players, and they make me better."

Elliott scored two of his three touchdowns in the final two minutes of Sunday's 35-30 win, the latest standout performance in a season in which he leads the NFL in rushing and has made a strong case for Most Valuable Player honors.

The performances of Prescott and Elliott already have fans of the Cowboys - who earlier this year topped Forbes' list of the world's most valuable sports teams - thinking about the glory days of the 1990s.

While anything can happen over the final seven games of the regular season and in the unpredictable playoffs, the current edition of the Cowboys appears to be the best since the franchise won its last Super Bowl in 1996.

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The best photos from NFL Week 10
CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 13: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers emerges from the tunnel before their game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Bank of America Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 13: Tight end Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings scores a second quarter touchdown against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 13, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys free safety Byron Jones (31) and Brandon Carr (39) during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, left, strips the ball from Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown during the second half an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, in Baltimore. The Ravens recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, left, throws under pressure from San Diego Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget during the second half of an NFL football game in San Diego, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) scores a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Nov 13, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise (22) is up ended by New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Seattle Seahawks won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright (13) scores after a reception before being hit out of bounds by Green Bay Packers defensive back Micah Hyde (33) during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Nov 13, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (19) celebrates after a touchdown during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Nissan Stadium. The Titans won 47-25. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers free safety Tre Boston (33) intercepts a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Chris Conte #23 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates with teammates in the end zone after returning an interception 20 yards for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the first quarter of the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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