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Cowboys game ball: One clear winner, but some very good honorable mentions

The Cowboys got multiple quality performances on Sunday, but one stood out.

Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The Cowboys shocked most everyone when they came away with a 31-28 win over the Vikings on Sunday. For that to happen, they were going to need some outstanding performances from different parts of their roster, and they got it. In our weekly game ball segment, we’ll be giving the prize to one player, but really have to include some honorable mentions that were almost as important.

As for the winner of the game ball, we have to go with safety Donovan Wilson. You can make the argument that other players had more significant contributions throughout the total ball game, but no one had a bigger instant impact that Wilson. He is personally responsible for two Vikings turnovers and he also set a physical tone in the game for the Cowboys defense.

Wilson was delivering punishing tackles on the day, and the two turnovers were emblematic of that, especially the one involving Dalvin Cook. His first turnover led to the Cowboys first touchdown when he stole the ball from Kirk Cousins on a blitz.

Although that wasn’t his most dramatic play on the day, it certainly set the tone as the Cowboys turned it into a touchdown.

It was his crushing hit, though, on Dalvin Cook that really got everybody’s attention.

He wasn’t just a one two-trick pony either, he ended up with nine tackles on the day. He still needs to tighten up his coverage techniques, but as a tackler/blitzer, he is excelling.

Now let’s move on to some of the honorable mentions. In this category we’ll actually do a couple of combos in addition to an individual mention.

Zack Martin/Connor McGovern

First the caveat, the Vikings pass rush is not the most formidable in the league, but you have to like what the Cowboys offensive line did on Sunday. Moving Zack Martin to right tackle and inserting Connor McGovern in at right guard really paid off. Not only did Andy Dalton have plenty of time in the pocket, the Cowboys running game finally got untracked and put on a worthy performance.

This was a move many have been asking for, and after dismissing it as “fantasy football”, Mike McCarthy finally relented. The Washington Football Team has a much better front seven for the Cowboys to deal with, so we’ll see how they do on Thursday, but they were clearly better on Sunday than they have been for a while.

Ezekiel Elliott/CeeDee Lamb

We have already discussed the good days that these two pieces of the Cowboys offense had on Sunday here. Our own David Howman broke down the day CeeDee Lamb had on Sunday by noting his unbelievable touchdown, his key fourth-down pickup on a run, his crucial punt returns, and his two-point conversion.

The two players were big time on Sunday, and let’s give a little nod to Amari Cooper and his six catches for 81 yards, including the key fourth-down conversion on the game-winning drive.

Leighton Vander Esch

Finally, some appreciation for a key component on the defense. LVE had one his finest games in a while. He, along with Donovan Wilson, set a physical tone for the defense by punishing Dalvin Cook when he ran the ball. LVE had 12 tackles in the game and was part of the run defense that didn’t necessarily stop, but at least contained, Cook.

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