The Dallas Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. It was a victory for the good guys on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium as the Cowboys destroyed their bitter rivals. Dallas dropped 37 points on Philly, for the second time in a row as far as their matchups in the building, and got the necessary help that they needed from the Carolina Panthers to stay alive in the NFC East.
Lately we have been doing nothing but winners when it comes to postgame discussion. In the spirit of optimism we are going to continue that trend today. Let’s begin.
Winner: Randy Gregory
Alex Smith will rightfully win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year (hopefully this is the only thing that he wins between now and NFL Honors), but if not for his extraordinary story Randy Gregory would certainly be a contender.
The fact that Gregory is even playing for the Cowboys at this point merits consideration to be a winner, but he has played rather well and been part of the defense’s uptick over the last few weeks. Gregory finished with three forced fumbles, a sack and a half, and an impressive pass deflection.
It is exciting to think about what Gregory can look in 2021 like with a full offseason working with the team.
Winner: Ezekiel Elliott
The last week was an interesting one regarding Ezekiel Elliott and the conversations about running backs mattering. Tony Pollard played well against the San Francisco 49ers in Zeke’s absence, and many were pondering whether Zeke was the true issue.
It is fair to question Elliott’s abilities as a top running back this season. There is a lot of data to suggest that his game has regressed, but he handled all of that talk over the last seven days and channeled it with fortitude.
Zeke ran for 105 yards against the Eagles (a season high, his previous was 103 in Minnesota) and averaged 5.53 yards per carry. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is fixed, it simply means that Zeke was awesome, the offensive line held, and things worked out properly.
Also Elliott should have potentially had a touchdown. We’ll never know what would have happened, but many thought he was in when the Cowboys ultimately settled for a field goal to make it 14-13.
Winner: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb
Before the season started we all had dreams of this wide receiver trio putting together respective 1,000-yard seasons. That is still mathematically within reach if next week is an offensive showing for the ages, but we’ll take what happened on Sunday as a nice consolation prize.
Both Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup eclipsed 120 yards receiving on the day. The former surpassed 1,000 yards on the season (he has never had less than quadruple digits in a full season with the Cowboys) and what’s more is that the rookie went off as well.
Altogether this trio combined for 13 receptions, 307 receiving yards, 19 rushing yards, and 4 total touchdowns. Win, win, win.
Winner: Andy Dalton
Somebody had to throw all of these passes to the wide receivers mentioned, and Andy Dalton did a fine job on Sunday afternoon turning in what was easily his best performance as a member of the Cowboys.
Overall Dalton is 4-4 as the Cowboys starter and has led the team to victory four times in their last six outings. He is in many ways what you expect your backup quarterback to be, someone who is capable of winning and doing a fine job with everything working around him.
Winner: DeMarcus Lawrence
While Rand Gregory stole the show as far as pass rushers are concerned, Tank Lawrence continues to show up and impress. He is by far the best player on the defensive side of the ball and was arguably as responsible for one of the forced fumbles as Randy Gregory was.
Lawrence is without question the best defensive player on the Cowboys. We spend so much time talking about how they need to improve that side of the ball, but we should enjoy his greatness while he is in the middle of his prime.
We longed for a star at defensive end. The Cowboys have one.
Winner: Mike McCarthy
There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about Mike McCarthy. For what it’s worth, though, there are also legitimate reasons to be impressed.
We’re talking about in context here to be clear. Nobody is trying to say that McCarthy is in the running for Coach of the Year, but his team has buckled down and won some games in the month of December and that is no easy task.
The Cowboys have admittedly faced some sub-par competition over their recent stretch, but you can only play who’s in front of you and all of those cliches. McCarthy’s group has faced a number of challenges this season and he has found a way to rally them. That is noteworthy.
Those that defended Jason Garrett as the Cowboys head coach until the very end always noted how his teams never quit on him. Well consider that McCarthy’s team, down about as much as you can be, chose to dig in and fight instead of quitting when they had every reason to.
Winner: Dalton Schultz
It was a bit of a quiet day for Schultz against the Eagles, but he has been the team’s most stable and consistent tight end since Jason Witten in 2016. That deserves an atta-boy.
Considering what this team will look like with Schultz and Blake Jarwin both in the fold is a fun exercise. But that’s a thought for a different day. Playoffs are on the mind!
Winner: Anthony Brown
This is certainly steering a bit into the optimism surrounding the Cowboys right now as Anthony Brown had some not-so-glamorous moments against the Eagles, but he recorded an interception and that is worth celebrating.
In fact, Brown has recorded interceptions in consecutive games for the Cowboys. The bar is admittedly a bit low here in that something like this is now spectacular, but turnovers will always be given love and admiration, especially if they effectively ice a game like AB’s did.
Winner: Connor Williams
The lone point of consistency for the Cowboys along the offensive line all season has been Connor Williams. He had a moment where it looked like even he might fall victim to this season’s woes, but he returned and all was normal relatively speaking once again.
It is so interesting how a year ago Williams was the lowest-quality starter along the offensive line and at present moment he’s the highest. Football is that finicky and sometimes things change fast. Kudos to Connor for helping the group stabilize over the last month.
Obviously there have been those who wanted to see the Dallas Cowboys tank and earn the highest possible pick for the NFL Draft. With six wins to the team’s name at this point their chances of one of the premium selections are gone, but they are a group that is seemingly galvanized by the efforts that they are putting forth. There is value in that.
When this season is all said and done, however it ends, the Dallas Cowboys will have played every single game mathematically alive and in contention for their division. A lot of this obviously has to do with the division’s quality, but that is notable.
We are all rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles to help make this dream materialize next week. Whether that happens has nothing to do with who the Dallas Cowboys are as they have shown us in recent memory.
They are a team that will fight to the very end and give it their last shot. Is that not all that we can ask for?