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Cowboys news: Dallas gets high marks after beating undefeated Carolina

Happy (victory) Monday!

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Week 4 grades: Cowboys get an ‘A-’ for beating undefeated Panthers, Titans get a ‘D’ for stunning loss - John Breech, CBSSports.com

Folks were impressed with Dallas’ performance.

Last year, the Cowboys fielded one of the worst defenses in football, but that now seems like an eternity ago thanks to Dan Quinn, who has completely revamped the unit. Under Quinn’s leadership, the Cowboys have quietly become one of the better defenses in football and their improvement was on full display against the Panthers.

The Panthers tried to throw the ball early and often, but that plan blew up in their face thanks to an unexpectedly impressive Cowboys pass rush that had Sam Darnold running for his life for the better part of four quarters. The Cowboys recorded five sacks in the game, marking the first time since 2019 that they’ve hit that number. The pass rush was led by Randy Gregory, who was playing in just his second game this season due to COVID-19 issues.

Even when the Cowboys weren’t sacking Darnold, they were still giving him fits as they hurried him more than 10 times. That pressure caused Darnold to rush several throws, including two in the second half that led to two different interceptions by Trevon Diggs. You can see his second one below.

Game Notes: Dak’s Balance, New Fullback & More - Dallas Cowboys Staff, DallasCowboys.com

Some thoughts from the official team website.

Sort of an incongruous stat line for Dak Prescott Sunday against Carolina: He tied a personal-best with four touchdown passes for just the fifth time in his career, but only needed 188 yards to do it.

That’s because the Cowboys dominated in the run game, piling up the highest rushing total since 2019 (245 yards).

“I didn’t realize I didn’t even break 200,” Prescott said. “But that’s kind of the strength of this offense, getting the ball in these guys’ hands and you see what they can do afterwards. … That’s what you’re looking for when you want to be the best offense, when you want to be balanced, is you’re going to do whatever it takes to win.”

Cowboys vs. Panthers: The good, the bad, and the ugly from Week 4 - Brian Martin, Bloggingtheboys.com

An evaluation of the game from BTB.

THE UGLY - Questionable coaching decisions

There were several head-scratching coaching decisions made by Mike McCarthy during the game against the Panthers on Sunday.

From declining the personal foul penalty to the decision to give Trevon Diggs “player management” time to rest on the sideline with about 10 minutes to play in the game, McCarthy will have a lot of explaining to do. His tendency to play cautious/complacent not only against the Panthers, but so far this season are making some of these games a lot closer than they should be. It’s time for him to learn to go for the jugular to make a point with a clear and decisive victory.

Cowboys’ Trevon Diggs sets all-time franchise record in electric showing vs. Panthers - Patrik Walker, CBS Sports

There’s no such thing as too much love for Diggs.

But as blazing as a start as Diggs is having, he still believes he’s leaving something on the field.

“No,” he said when asked if he was pleased with his performance thus far. “I expect more from myself. I just have to keep fighting, keep working and keep pushing. ... I feel like I still have work to do.”

It’s now the fourth week in a row that’s seen Diggs mostly travel with the opposing team’s top wide receiver — from perennial Pro Bowl receivers Mike Evans and Keenan Allen to rookie first-round pick DeVonta Smith and now D.J. Moore, respectively. All he’s done in the process is what no one before him has ever done in the history of one of the most storied franchises in the entire NFL, and his trajectory toward potentially being an All-Pro himself continues to streak across the football skies.

A Great Cowboys season is brewing — if Mike McCarthy doesn’t goof or gamble it away, Kevin Sherrington, Dallas Morning News

McCarthy could be the difference between good, and great.

And yet here were the Cowboys — with a minute-and-a-half left and the Panthers only a touchdown and two-point conversion away from sending the game into overtime — needing a draw-it-up-in-the-dirt kind of play to put the game away.

If you were feeling a little anxious watching the Cowboys fritter away a 22-point lead with starters chilling on the sideline, a queasiness abated only when Dak handed off to Zeke Elliott, who then pitched to Tony Pollard for the first down, you should have been sitting next to the owner.

“Probably a little early to take some of your key guys out there near the end,” Jerry Jones said afterward, undercutting a head coach yet again. “I understand some of them were limited and they had reasons for being out, but, boy, they just, you couldn’t cut the head off.

“They kept coming.”

Cowboys Tight End Position Means Production in Dallas - Tim Hamm, Sports Illustrated

Tight end is certainly a deep position for the ‘Boys right now.

The 2021 season saw the return of Jarwin combined with Schultz once again, and the return of offensive production at the tight end position.

In Sunday’s win over the then 3-0 Carolina Panthers, a game with potential playoff implications, both Jarwin and Schultz combined for seven catches, 76 yards, and two touchdowns on 11 targets from Prescott.

In the first two games of 2021, against the Buccaneers and Chargers, the Jarwin-Schultz combination accounted for 14 catches on 15 targets for 120 yards.

Against the Eagles in Week 3, Schultz was the team’s leading receiver with six catches on seven targets for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Jarwin contributed two catches for 14 yards on two targets.

Said Jarwin: “We go off each other’s energy. …. It’s fun to watch the other guy out there. When Dalton is out there, I’m excited to see him have all the success.”

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