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Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints: 5 winners, 4 honorable mentions, and 3 losers

Defense wins championships.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have officially made it through the most hectic part of their schedule and as part of the spoils of their victory they now have the weekend off. Thursday night’s win against the New Orleans Saints was hardly glamorous, but a win is a win as it is often said. We all would have signed up for an 8-4 record through 12 games, and while context is valuable, it is also fair to expect more from a team that we know is capable of it.

We discussed everything that happened on Thursday night in New Orleans on our Dallas Cowboys Postgame Show on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you get access to all of our shows. Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.

Normally a win after two straight losses would be filled with good vibes all around and perhaps would mandate a winners-only edition of the conversation that we are about to have; however, Thursday night was rather unique.

Let’s talk winners, and losers, and honorable mentions.

Winner: Michael Gallup

Offensively it wasn’t a great night for the Cowboys on Thursday, but Michael Gallup did have one of the sweetest touchdowns you’ll ever see.

It is strange to remember, but Michael Gallup has still sort of been finding his in-season rhythm due to how much time he missed. Clearly he is back to the player that we have seen for a few years now.

Winner: Tony Pollard

We will have this discussion another day, but the most explosive running back on the Cowboys broke off a 58-yard touchdown that really opened up a lead in a game that they wound up winning. Tony Pollard’s speed is just different.

The Cowboys are fortunate to have two backs that they can call upon, and they would be wise to consider resting one for the stretch part of the regular season until healthy again. Pollard is more than capable of handling things as he displayed on Thursday night.

Winner: Micah Parsons

What can we say about Micah Parsons that we already haven’t? He is easily going to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, and as many have said, he is also in contention for Defensive Player of the Year.

The last month and change have seen a lot of star players not exactly show up for the Cowboys. Whatever the case, wherever the game, whatever the circumstances, Parsons always shows up.

Winner: Jayron Kearse

There is no doubt that Jayron Kearse has been the most impactful free agent addition to the Cowboys this year, right?

Kearse has been an important leader for the Cowboys in 2021 and has had some great moments over the last few weeks, including this amazing interception.

That is some seriously impressive focus and control!

Winner: Carlos Watkins

If you have a pick-six you are going to make the winners section. I don’t make the rules.

What an awesome moment.

Honorable Mention: Dan Quinn

As noted, the Cowboys dealt with a rather chaotic week in playing on Thanksgiving, playing on back-to-back Thursdays, having an outbreak within their organization, and playing without their head coach. That’s a lot and doesn’t even cover it all. Dallas needed a stabilizing presence at the top in Mike McCarthy’s absence and Dan Quinn did more than provide that. All credit in the world to him for being what the team needed him to be.

Honorable Mention: DeMarcus Lawrence

It was incredible to see DeMarcus Lawrence (winner of our game ball this week) back along the Dallas Cowboys defensive line and man alive did he make an impact.

Detractors will continue to harp on sack numbers and things of the sort, but you cannot deny that Lawrence makes a huge impact. He elevates the floor of this defense which is something that always helps.

Honorable Mention: Jourdan Lewis

It seems like Jourdan Lewis always has a notable game against the New Orleans Saints. He won’t have anything big in the box score this week, but he did a lot of dirty work that went a long way towards helping the overall defensive cause.

Honorable Mention: Trevon Diggs

Nine interceptions on the season! Nine!

Let’s get to double digits next week.

Loser: Kellen Moore

This will be a talking point in the week to come, but Kellen Moore looks like the exact opposite version of the play-caller that we saw earlier this season. Remember when his whole mantra was to “aggressively attack what defenses give them”? Where has that been? Where is any kind of aggression at all?

For whatever reason that none of us can understand, Moore has given us a watered-down version of offense over the last month, and that is what is concerning. We are no longer talking about a one-off thing, we are at a point where week-to-week Moore is trying to run straight up the middle and in no way out-scheming opposing defenses. It is troublesome to say the least.

Loser: Leighton Vander Esch

The Cowboys signaled that the end of Vander Esch’s time was near back in the offseason when they did not pick up his fifth-year option, and what’s more is that they showed a willingness to move on from sentimental connections by releasing Jaylon Smith. The writing has been on the wall here for a long time.

But with Jabril Cox being lost for the season the Cowboys have had to rely a bit on Leighton Vander Esch, which is just not going well. Defensively the team played well in New Orleans in an overall sense, but Vander Esch was picked on and exposed. He is arguably the weakest player on the field when he’s out there.

Loser: The Offensive Line

We are so far removed from this team having even a nice offensive line that it is depressing. Who are these guys?

We spent all week talking about how we were finally going to have Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins all playing together (for the first time since 2019 mind you). Things were flat in the offensive line department from the jump and have been for a month now.

Dak Prescott did not make the losers list this week but if you want to throw him in go ahead, no issues here. There are many times where he seemingly does not actually have any time to operate and it is hard to understand given the supposed stability of those charged with blocking for him.

Things are broken. The long week should hopefully provide time to fix them.

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