December has turned into a really good month for the Cowboys, and it may have peaked on Sunday with a 20-point blowout win over the rival Eagles that, combined with a loss for the Washington Football Team, kept the Cowboys in the playoff hunt entering the final week of the regular season.
Once again, the Cowboys got some big performances from their rookies in this game. Trevon Diggs, in particular, continued his trend of making big plays against Philadelphia, while CeeDee Lamb did what we all expect him to do at this point.
CeeDee Lamb, WR
Perhaps we’re starting to undervalue this rookie wide receiver because of how consistently he makes wow plays, but CeeDee Lamb just continues to play at an extremely high level. Against Philly on Sunday, he had a slow start with just two catches for 13 yards, but came out red-hot in the second half with a big 52-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter.
That ended up being Lamb’s last catch of the day, but it was a big one that helped the Cowboys achieve what Mike McCarthy calls the double-double - scoring right before and right after halftime - which played a huge role in widening the Cowboys’ lead. Lamb also received one carry on a jet sweep, which he naturally took 19 yards for a touchdown in garbage time.
Lamb also continued to return punts alongside Cedrick Wilson. His first punt return was stopped immediately as he caught it, but the second one saw Lamb make several Eagles players miss, resulting in a six-yard gain. This was probably one of Lamb’s less exciting games, and that’s saying something considering he finished with three catches for 65 yards and a touchdown, plus a touchdown on the ground. The Cowboys definitely have something special in their newest 88.
Trevon Diggs, CB
Trevon Diggs made his unexpected return to the field last week after suffering a broken foot in Week 9 against the Steelers, although he was on a snap count. This week, though, the rookie from Alabama was back in the starting lineup and played every single defensive snap, and it couldn’t have come against a better opponent.
Of course, the last time the Cowboys played the Eagles saw Diggs record his first career interception, and then get another one later in that same game. So naturally he managed to get yet another pick on Sunday, but this time against Jalen Hurts, late in the game.
For the rest of the game, Diggs had just one tackle and one pass batted down, but he showed his playmaking abilities on the interception while continuing to display toughness and commitment to the team by being able to return and play this much after a broken foot.
Neville Gallimore, DT
Last week, Neville Gallimore had his best game as a pro by far. While this week wasn’t quite as good, Gallimore continued to show that he’s grown into a legitimate defensive tackle throughout his rookie year. With Antwaun Woods out with an injury, Gallimore became the top guy in the middle. On the defense’s first two drives, it looked like things were ramping up for a long day, as the Eagles ran all over Gallimore and the rest of the defensive line.
But Gallimore, and the rest of the defense, settled in after that. While the defensive tackle only had two tackles on the day, he was a force in the middle, frequently forcing the Eagles running backs to redirect at the line of scrimmage. One of Gallimore’s two tackles was in the backfield for a one-yard loss, while the other was a shared sack on Hurts with Randy Gregory. Gallimore also recorded a hit on Hurts later in the game, proving his value both as a pass rusher and a run stopper.
Reggie Robinson III, DB
It’s been a real whirlwind for Reggie Robinson since finding himself on the active roster after weeks of being inactive. It seems the rookie from Tulsa has quickly found favor with special teams coordinator John Fassel, as Robinson led all Cowboys in special teams snaps on Sunday.
He also came incredibly close to making a huge play by knocking the ball loose on a kick return. CJ Goodwin fell on the ball, but the replay showed he was very clearly out of bounds before touching the ball. That’s not on Robinson, though, who made a heads-up play with the forced fumble. He still didn’t take the field on defense, but Robinson’s rapid ascension to special teams ace has been very promising.
Tyler Biadasz, C
Tyler Biadasz has been relegated to a special teams role on field goals and extra points, with the coaching staff seemingly not wanting to mess with their starting lineup after getting some good performances lately. That continued on Sunday, although Biadasz did come in for one offensive snap when Connor McGovern left for a minor injury. But that was the only glimpse Cowboys fans got of their rookie center.
Bradlee Anae, EDGE
With the way these Cowboys starting edge players have played, it’s obvious that any snaps Bradlee Anae would see if he was active are on special teams, and since Dorance Armstrong made a big play on special teams last week with a forced fumble, that was enough to keep him active. That, of course, meant Anae was inactive yet again.
Ben DiNucci, QB
Remember when Ben DiNucci was forced to start against the Eagles? That didn’t happen this time, and it was clearly for the best. Andy Dalton has been slinging it, and Garrett Gilbert is still his primary backup, meaning an inactive status for the Nooch.
Terence Steele, OT
Terence Steele had yet another game where he showed that he’s significantly better than he was in the first portion of the season. By no means was Steele perfect, or even enough to make fans forget that they’re playing with an undrafted rookie fourth-string tackle, but the consistent growth over the last few weeks has to be incredibly promising to Dallas, as well as a huge indicator of just how good offensive line coach Joe Philbin has been.
Francis Bernard, LB
Much like Robinson, Francis Bernard has managed to carve out a role as a core special teamer in his rookie year. Once again, Bernard was among the leaders in special teams snaps on Sunday, flying all over the field on kickoffs and punts. He’s become an invaluable special teams player while providing valuable depth at linebacker.
Sean McKeon, TE
Sean McKeon continued his regular role of coming in on goal line jumbo packages, getting seven offensive snaps against the Eagles exclusively as a blocking tight end.
Rico Dowdle, RB
Rico Dowdle did find his way onto the field for one offensive snap this week, although he was back to mostly playing on special teams, with 18 snaps there, after getting four carries last week as the second-string running back.
Ron’Dell Carter, DL
With Antwaun Woods injured this week, Ron’Dell Carter ended up on the active roster and played 13 defensive snaps, coming on exclusively in pass rushing situations. The lion’s share of defensive tackle snaps went to Gallimore, Justin Hamilton, and Eli Ankou, but Carter got some playing time in.
Sewo Olonilua, FB
Make that consecutive weeks now that Sewo Olonilua has been active on Sunday. He appeared on ten special teams snaps, but that was it for the rookie fullback.