There may be some stuff to clean up but anytime you win by more than a touchdown, that’s a good performance in the NFL. The Cowboys may have started slow but they finished strong and beat a strong Cardinals’ defense in their house. It was the exact antidote for what happened in week two. This game was fun to watch but who had the most fun? Also, who didn’t seem to be having fun? Let’s look at the risers and fallers after week three:
Three straight weeks. Lawrence has dominated his competition for the first three games and has continuously made this list. On Monday, "Tank" was every bit of that nickname he was first given at Boise State. Lawrence had three sacks and six quarterback hits. To say that he was “on fire” is the understatement of the year. Lawrence will get tougher competition this week against the Rams but let’s re-live the beat down he gave Carson Palmer.
Lawrence leads with 6.5 sacks on the season and he may get credit for another half-sack when the film is reviewed. Jerry Jones may be on his way to finding that “War Daddy”.
On the Cardinals first touchdown, Heath was in position but turned late and allowed for that ball to be complete. He’s also not tackling as well as he has on special teams. He got banged up in this game and Kavon Frazier came in for him. Heath, as a starter, has been struggling.
Shall we talk about Jeff Heath?— Laurie Horesh (@LaurieHoresh) September 26, 2017
That throw was never there if he maintains centre field responsibility.
Jeff Heath is literally the greatest of all time but maybe he's not— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) September 26, 2017
Jeff Heath is deserving of some time to get it right but he was battered by the Broncos and he didn’t look that great against the Cardinals either. Sooner or later, the talent of Xavier Woods (who’s playing nickel corner right now) will shine through. Come to think of it, Frazier may actually be a better tackler, too. Heath has been playing snaps on defense and special teams. He’s a valued member of the roster, it’s time to play like the Heath we saw torture Aaron Rodgers.
Lewis had his first interception in week two and this week he played a lot due to injuries to Nolan Carroll and Chidobe Awuzie. He did not disappoint either and spent some time covering J.J. Nelson, the Cardinals leading receiver. Now, the Cowboys allowed Larry Fitzgerald to go off but their former leading receiver, Nelson, had no such luck:
Jourdan Lewis has ball skills. pic.twitter.com/REgDhUg80o— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) September 26, 2017
Sticky coverage is an understatement but on another play, Nelson was likely the first target but Palmer went elsewhere with the ball:
Jourdan Lewis is pretty good when he's allowed to do play his style.— JustWinBaby (@Future_NFL_GM) September 26, 2017
Press Man Coverage. My pre draft comparison for his was Xavier Rhodes. pic.twitter.com/kpoayL8MX4
The Cowboys are dealing with attrition in the secondary and some struggles will happen but you have to be proud of the young man. He’s got definite ball skills and will only get better.
For what it’s worth, Ezekiel Elliott did have a rushing touchdown but the offense struggled to run block. Elliott wasn’t seeing every hole but he was also getting hit in the backfield and had to make things happen for himself. Jason Witten really struggled to block in this game and that’s now two weeks in a row for him. The Cardinals’ defense deserves credit for being quick to plug up the holes. Elliott carried the ball 22 times for 80 yards and a score. This line is known for keeping it 100!
As the game wore on, they got much better but better is not good enough. This is a team that predicates itself by being able to establish the run against all kinds of fronts. Teams are always going to sell out to stop the run and force Dak Prescott to beat them. They have to be persistent in their rushing attack because that’s what sets up everything else for them. Again, they got better in this game once Dak added his legs to the arsenal but the hope is that these offensive linemen and tight ends will improve. When the Cowboys were at their best in 2016 was out of 12 personnel, so far, they’ve been struggling to make that grouping successful.
His statistics may not be as impressive as the 300-yard passing night that Carson Palmer had but 13 of 18 for 183 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions is perfect for this offense. It was the Return of the Dak on Monday night. Dak to the Future Part II, The Dak Attack or whatever other play on his name you want to include. Dak Prescott was the man that made everything possible in this victory.
This is the Dak Prescott I remember pic.twitter.com/OmiYUgxqNA— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) September 26, 2017
Then of course there was this amazing pass to Brice Butler, or better yet, the first amazing pass to Butler.
Dak Prescott with a grown man throw. Ridiculous.— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) September 26, 2017
However, the most telling play that embodies Jason Garrett’s definition of special player was the play that got the night started.
Dak Prescott earning that C on his jersey tonight. Wow. pic.twitter.com/w0jq4chqyQ— Mike Ortiz Jr. (@OrtizDYST) September 26, 2017
Dak Prescott got it done in a big way on Monday night and all you can say is there goes the man! Take a bow, sir.
Nolan Carroll and Charles Tapper
Tapper has a sack but he was made inactive this week in favor of Taco Charlton. Carroll is a struggling player who hasn’t been what they hoped for. The fact that Jourdan Lewis is playing so well, it may spell the bench or release for Carroll at some point. Tapper is a player that has speed but with Damontre’ Moore back and David Irving on the way, what does that mean for him?
The Cowboys will be making some decisions very soon.
Honorable Mentions for Stock Up:
Chris Jones- The Puntisher routinely kept the Cardinals pinned down and it was huge reason they stayed in this game.
Brice Butler- Two catches, 90 yards, a touchdown. Make the most of your limited opportunities.
Dez Bryant & Travis Frederick- That touchdown was impressive. Bryant bulldozed the secondary but Fredbeard got him in.