Sunday’s game against the Broncos would be best to just be forgotten, as hardly anything went the Cowboys way. After the game, Micah Parsons echoed a sentiment that a lot of Cowboys fans undoubtedly related to:
Long day...@MicahhParsons11 just wants to get home to his puppy. pic.twitter.com/E4pa5hKwuQ— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) November 8, 2021
But it really was Parsons’ day, at least on an individual level. The rookie put up one of his best performances of the year against Denver, and offered a rare bright spot on a day when nothing felt good for Dallas. In fact, several rookies had a few moments in the spotlight Sunday, for better or worse.
Micah Parsons, LB
By most accounts, Micah Parsons played the best game of his young career last week against the Vikings. He may have just topped it a week later. Dan Quinn used Parsons as a pass rusher a bit more this week, which led to a drop in his snap share. Still, Parsons played on 86% of defensive snaps Sunday.
What he did with those snaps were incredible, too. His 10 tackles were second on the team and he led the team in solo tackles. Parsons also recorded 2.5 sacks on the day, his first game with multiple sacks. In the process, Parsons hit a milestone that put him in some very good company. Unfortunately, the effort came in a horrible loss.
With that sack, Micah Parsons has 3.5 sacks on the season, joining DeMarcus Ware, Victor Butler and Anthony Spencer as the only Cowboys linebackers to record at least 3.0 sacks in a rookie season.— Dallas Cowboys Public Relations (@DallasCowboysPR) November 7, 2021
Kelvin Joseph, CB
After making his NFL debut on special teams last week, Kelvin Joseph saw his first impactful action this week. When Cedrick Wilson muffed a punt, Joseph miraculously scooped it up and even gained seven yards out of it. The play could have been even bigger had the Cowboys offense done anything with the ensuing drive, but that doesn’t change the positive play for Joseph.
Osa Odighizuwa, iDL
Osa Odighizuwa made a few big splash plays early on in the game, both in run support and as a pass rusher. His 49 snaps were the most of any Cowboys interior defensive lineman Sunday, and after Dallas’ first two defensive possessions he was looking like a dominant and disruptive force.
It didn’t last throughout the game, however. Odighizuwa wasn’t the sole reason why the Cowboys run defense got gashed - in fact, poor edge-setting was the biggest culprit - but he didn’t hold up his end of the bargain either. All told, Odighizuwa had two tackles on the day, with one being for a loss. He flashed the potential that has Quinn so excited about him, but Odighizuwa needs to sustain that kind of play for longer to become a legitimate difference maker. More important in the short-term: this defense needs Brent Urban back.
Chauncey Golston, EDGE
Chauncey Golston saw a big decrease in his snaps last week with the return of Dorance Armstrong, and that trend continued Sunday as he saw just 38% of the defensive snaps. He did get more time than Armstrong, but his usage has basically been cut in half from what the rookie had been seeing.
As such, it was a quiet day for Golston, with just one tackle being registered. He’s flashed some skills in both pass rushing and run stopping packages, so the decline in playing time seems odd. With DeMarcus Lawrence nearing a return, it’ll be interesting to see how much more Golston’s snap shares go down.
Nahshon Wright, CB
Nahshon Wright has quickly become one of the most valuable special teamers on this Cowboys squad, and that was reflected by his 21 special teams snaps once again being the second-most on Sunday.
Unfortunately for the rookie, everyone remembers just one of those snaps. Wright tried to grab the ball after a brilliantly executed punt block early in the third quarter, but he couldn’t secure it. That led to everyone learning one of the most bizarre rules in the book, all at Wright’s expense. It was a huge learning moment for the rookie.
CB Nahshon Wright on punt block sequence: “First, it was a great play by Malik. Malik got through and blocked the punt. The ball was coming my way, and I’m at the line of scrimmage. I know I shouldn’t have touched it, but I was trying to scoop and score and make a play.”— Brianna Dix (@DixBrianna) November 8, 2021
Jabril Cox, LB
Jabril Cox is on the injured reserve with a torn ACL.
Josh Ball, OT
Josh Ball is eligible to be reactivated from the injured reserve, but it doesn’t seem likely to happen this season.
Simi Fehoko, WR
Simi Fehoko was inactive again this week.
Quinton Bohanna, iDL
After seeing a decrease in usage last week, Quinton Bohanna got back to his usual workload on Sunday with his 24 snaps equaling 31% of the defensive snaps. He made the most out of those opportunities, tallying two tackles and providing a solid presence in the middle against the run.
Bohanna wasn’t the problem against Denver, but the natural limitations of a run-stuffing nose tackle like him also prevented Bohanna from being the solution. Again, Brent Urban is being missed on this defensive line right now.
Israel Mukuamu, S
Israel Mukuamu was inactive again this week.
Matt Farniok, OG
Matt Farniok was a surprise inactive last week after establishing a role blocking for Greg Zuerlein’s field goal and extra point attempts. This week, he was back on the active roster, but didn’t see any action due to Zuerlein not attempting a single kick.