After a brief stint in the loss column, the Dallas Cowboys got back on the right side of the ledger with a 28-17 win over Arizona. After a sluggish first 25 or so minutes, the Cowboys finally got on the board just before half time. From there, the offense began to show flashes of the brilliance that they played with last season. Dak Prescott hurt the defense with his legs and threw a pair of incredible dimes to Brice Butler, Ezekiel Elliott broke off a 30-yard run and finally found the end zone, and Dez bullied his way into the end zone against seemingly the entire defense.
But really, how great was DeMarcus Lawrence?
The 2014 second-round selection has been on a tear in the early parts of the season. In fact, he was last week’s lone bright spot in the defeat against the Broncos. The Boise State product has been playing at his highest level through the first three games of his contract season. He dominated the Giants’ offensive line, he blew right by the Denver Broncos, and he lived in the Arizona Cardinals’ backfield all evening long.
He showed up on the stat sheet, he jumped off the television, and he completely dominated the offensive line from the opening snap. Whether the Cardinals dropped back to pass or ran the football, Tank was there to blow the play up before it even got a chance to get going. He even nearly recorded a sack and an interception on the same play in the fourth quarter.
DeMarcus Lawrence knocked Jared Veldheer four yards backwards and then nearly picked the pass he forced off— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) September 26, 2017
This is a DeMarcus Lawrence showcase.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 26, 2017
Lawrence was a force to be reckoned with on Monday night. His explosion off the edge, his relentless effort, and his determination to get into the backfield was no match for the Cardinals. It was the last thing a struggling offensive line wanted to deal with.
Lawrence recorded four total tackles, four solo tackles, brought down a ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage on three occasions, and officially sacked the quarterback three times. Carson Palmer will be having nightmares, because Lawrence was in his face practically all game long as Tank recorded six quarterback hits according to ESPN.
Our own Tom Ryle said it best:
The defense finally started making some stops, aided by a fairly blatant holding call on Demarcus Lawrence (who was the clear MVP on defense, with three sacks and multiple other splash plays and QB hits).
Just take a look at these tweets:
Demarcus Lawrence continues to ball pic.twitter.com/08lTJRFrdx— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) September 26, 2017
DeMarcus Lawrence just manhandling the OG #DALvsAZ pic.twitter.com/8jcH0R3Ndf— ✭Cowboys News✭ (@DemBoyz_News) September 26, 2017
#Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence is playing like a man about to enter free agency. To keep him around, Dallas might need to tag him.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) September 26, 2017
DeMarcus Lawrence goes cross chop to semi-hump. Sheds the OL as the QB steps up. Sack! #Cowboys— DLineVids (@DLineVids) September 26, 2017
Make it 6.5 sacks this season for @TankLawrence... The most in the NFL. Heck of a story. @NBCDFW— Pat Doney (@PatDoneyNBC5) September 26, 2017
DeMarcus Lawrence became the third player in NFL history to have more than one sack in the first three games.— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) September 26, 2017
What a night for DeMarcus Lawrence! The Cardinals will be thanking their lucky stars that they don’t have to line up against number 90 anytime soon. It’s been a tremendous start for Tank thus far; here’s hoping he is able to continue playing with this effort and consistently while staying healthy. He’s been a huge player for America’s Team.
Also, shoutout to Dak Prescott! After a less-than-ideal showing in Mile High, the second-year quarterback made some eye-popping plays on the national stage. He burned the defense with his feet on read options, was efficient with the football all evening long, and was absolutely deadly on bootleg throws.
Take a look at his first score:
.@DAK FLIPS INTO THE END ZONE!— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2017
TD @DallasCowboys! #DallasCowboys #DALvsAZ pic.twitter.com/26r2OD28eb
Then his first beauty to Brice Butler:
Incredible arm strength.@Dak throws a dart DEEP to @Brice_Butler in the end zone! #DallasCowboys #DALvsAZ pic.twitter.com/bgnxXBsqaT— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2017
wait hold on dak prescott really just threw a football 50 yards off his back foot while on the run— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) September 26, 2017
And then his second dime:
He was ruled down before the TD...— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2017
But this @Dak to @Brice_Butler connection is #DALvsAZ pic.twitter.com/gjgy1NRqUu
He did not put up the gaudiest of numbers, but his playmaking ability was put on display over and over in front of a national audience on ESPN. After having a so-so performance in week one and a mediocre outing in week two, Dak showed why he was the 2016 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
I can’t wait to see what’s next for our budding star.
Who do you think deserves this week’s game ball, BTB?