The Cowboys took down the Lions 35-19 on Sunday, and there was plenty of good play from a lot of different areas on the team. Plenty of deserving players for the Game Ball of the Week. Jon Kitna, we love what you're doing. Dez Bryant, u da man! Miles Austin, all he does (now) is score touchdowns. Jason Garrett, whatever you're doing, keep doing it.
Instead, let's give it to the obvious guy, and expand it to some not-so-obvious areas of play. Bryan McCann has made two unbelievably huge plays in two weeks. In the Lions game, his 97-yard punt return touchdown displayed not only great athleticism, but an excellent understanding of the rules of the game, and quick thinking resulting in correct decisions put into action. This could also describe his 101-yard interception return against the Giants. But last week, we had to give the Game Ball to Jason Garrett. This week, it goes to McCann.
More below, including video...
McCann's punt return for touchdown also lets us highlight an area of the Cowboys that has actually been producing all year. The Cowboys punt return and punt coverage teams, along with punter Mat McBriar, are tops in the league. And with Bryan McCann on board, the kick return team is likely to see a big jump.
With McCann's 97-yard addition to the stats, the Cowboys punt return team is #1 in the league. They average 19.9 yards per return, topping the Titans who average 17.1 yards. Even if you took McCann's return out, they would still be third in the league at 14.42 yards. Their three touchdowns also lead the league.
Mat McBriar and the punt coverage unit lead the league in net yards per punt. The Cowboys average 42.4 yards per punt, the best net average in the NFL. They haven't surrendered a touchdown on a punt return, nor have they had a punt blocked.
At kick return, we haven't been great, but that's mainly because we haven't had Bryan McCann on the field. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah was doing an okay job for a rookie, but there's a big difference between his returns and McCann's (acknowledging that the sample size is small for McCann).
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah had 25 kick returns and averaged 21.7 yards with a long of 41 yards. Bryan McCann has eight returns and averages 26.9 yards with a long of 38 yards, and one stumble from breaking one all the way. If McCann had over 20 returns at his current average, he would rank 6th in the league in that category.
So Game Ball to Bryan McCann for his heady punt return, and an "atta boy" to Mat McBriar and the Cowboys punt units, and coach Joe DeCamillis.
Enjoy some McCann video.