On the same day that Dez Bryant (wearing 88 for the Ravens) recorded his first catch since the 2017 season, CeeDee Lamb was doing his part to continue the trend of Cowboys receivers absolutely balling out in the 88 jersey. Lamb had yet another big game, helping Andy Dalton’s return from injury en route to a big upset win over the Vikings.
With Trevon Diggs’ year done due to injury and Tyler Biadasz temporarily moved to the injured reserve, Lamb was the only rookie whose impact was really felt in this game, although he was not the only one to see some action.
CeeDee Lamb, WR
If you solely looked at Lamb’s stat line, you wouldn’t be overly impressed. He finished with 34 yards on four catches with a touchdown; he also added 12 yards on two rushes and 48 yards on three punt returns. Still, if you add up all those yards, that’s 94 yards of positive production, but it was also the fashion in which he accumulated those yards. Take, for example, his acrobatic touchdown catch:
Dalton threw the out route a little deeper than Lamb ended up going, but the receiver was able to locate the ball in time and then get into position to make the wild catch, twisting his body in mid air as he secured the ball.
Later in the game, after Tony Pollard’s big touchdown run, the Cowboys decided to go for two in order to make it a three-point game. Kellen Moore dialed up a really fun play-call that had Dalton hand it off to Ezekiel Elliott out of the shotgun as Lamb circled around the back on pre-snap motion. Zeke ended up pitching the ball to Lamb on a designed option run, setting up Lamb for the easy score for two points.
There were also the two rushes, both of which picked up six yards. The second such rush was especially critical, as it came on fourth and one on the Vikings’ 30-yard line. He easily picked it up, and then some, to extend the drive. Three plays later, Lamb busted out his wild touchdown catch, made possible by his own fourth-down run.
Lamb’s three punt returns were also big. His first return went for 18 yards, but got an extra ten tacked on due to a block above the waist by the Vikings that was tacked on to the return. Lamb’s second punt return picked up ten yards as well. But it was his third and final return, which he took back for 20 yards, that set up the Cowboys up near midfield on what ended up being the game-winning touchdown drive. If not for Lamb’s return, Dallas has to go 81 yards to score, but Lamb cut it down to just 61 yards.
It wasn’t necessarily a big receiving day for the rookie, but it was a good all-around day where Lamb showed how versatile he is. To put it simply, this guy is a playmaker. Whether he’s catching passes, running the ball, or fielding punts, Lamb is capable of propelling his team towards a victory. That was on full display Sunday.
Trevon Diggs, CB
As mentioned, Diggs’ season is likely over, as the cornerback went on the injured reserve after breaking his foot against the Steelers.
Neville Gallimore, DT
Neville Gallimore had a huge game last time out, making plays all over against the Steelers. He didn’t have a repeat performance against Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean Gallimore didn’t still play well. He only recorded one tackle, but Gallimore continued to be a strong presence in the middle of the defensive line.
Dalvin Cook may have crossed the 100-yard mark in this game and scored a touchdown, but he only averaged 4.3 yards per carry in the game. That’s a solid number for Cook, but considering what other running backs have posted against this Dallas defense, that’s a low figure. Gallimore’s growth as a run defender played a part in that, though Antwaun Woods was more active. It was another game of continued growth for the rookie tackle, who’s really looking promising as an anchor in the middle of this defensive line.
Reggie Robinson II, DB
For a moment, some Cowboys fans (myself included) thought Reggie Robinson made it into a game, but that turned out to be recently-added cornerback Rashard Robinson. The other Robinson, the one that Dallas drafted in the fourth round this year, was once again inactive.
Tyler Biadasz, C
Tyler Biadasz hurt himself in pre-game warmups prior to the Steelers game, and the injury ended up being serious enough to put him on the injured reserve, keeping the impressive rookie out for at least three weeks.
Bradlee Anae, EDGE
Once again, Bradlee Anae was on the inactive list. It’s frustrating to those who want to see the former Utah stud play more, but with the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence, Aldon Smith, and Randy Gregory coming off the edge, it’s hard to justify any meaningful snaps for Anae regardless of whether he’s active or not.
Ben DiNucci, QB
Ben DiNucci was inactive, and for good reason. Dalton was the starter, and Garrett Gilbert’s surprisingly good performance against Pittsburgh solidified his role as the primary backup.
Terence Steele, OT
For the first time all year, Terence Steele did not start at right tackle. That’s because McCarthy and Joe Philbin moved Zack Martin to right tackle, which paid off incredibly well for the Cowboys’ pass protection. Steele still got snaps on special teams, and even came in for one offensive snap when Connor McGovern had to leave the field. But it seems like the days of Steele starting for this Cowboys team are over. That’s good, because while this experience will help Steele grow, it does him no good to keep getting beat like a drum at this point.
Francis Bernard, LB
Francis Bernard has carved out a nice role for himself on special teams, and that continued on Sunday for the rookie linebacker out of Utah. No defensive snaps for him, as expected, but Bernard continues to find ways to contribute for this team. That’s a positive sign for the undrafted rookie.
Sean McKeon, TE
The role for third-string tight end Sean McKeon did not change one bit, as he came onto the field for goal line jumbo packages and played on special teams. With Dalton Schultz continuing to play well as the starter and Blake Bell functioning within his role as the backup, there’s no reason to expect more from McKeon.
Rico Dowdle, RB
Rico Dowdle has gotten a couple moments in the spotlight, unexpectedly, this year but he didn’t add to it on Sunday. Another game exclusively spent on special teams, Dowdle is quietly helping this team improve.
Ron’Dell Carter, DL
The Cowboys got to bring back Ron’Dell Carter after the Colts poached him from their practice squad earlier this year, but the undrafted rookie lineman was not active against the Vikings.