This week on the Blogging The Boys podcast network (subscribe on Apple devices right here or on Spotify right here) we are ranking the top moments in certain players’ Cowboys careers so far. On Thursday’s edition of Ryled Up with @RDubThree and @TomRyleBTB, we took a look at a player who took over for one of the many injured starters last season, and was very, very good. Dalton Schultz has had a brief career with only three seasons under his belt, and did not make much of an impact in 2018 and 2019. But when Blake Jarwin went down in the first game of the 2020 season, Schultz proved he was a fully capable starter. He was perhaps more than just that, and is expected to be a strong contender to retain the starting job in training camp. All of his top moments come from last year as a result. Everything else that afflicted Dallas last season led to him being somewhat overlooked, but this is a way to correct that.
In the order they happened last season, here are the five plays where he most stood out, plus one honorable mention.
1. Week 2 vs the Atlanta Falcons.
At the 10:51 mark of the first quarter, Dak Prescott completed a 1st-and-ten pass from his own 13 to Schultz, who turned it into a 15-yard gain and another first down. This was a big one because the first target to Schultz had gone incomplete, but Prescott would seek to get the ball to Schultz nine more times, and he caught all of them for 88 yards. While it was marred by him having a fumble in a game where there were a depressing four in all, it was still a vey impressive game overall. It was the start of building trust and chemistry between the two, and that will hopefully carry over into this season.
The Falcons gave up too much cushion, but credit Dalton Schultz with great footwork, sitting down in his spot, and being exactly where Dak Prescott expected him to be. This is what a chain-moving tight looks like. pic.twitter.com/0YT9rMaP71— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) September 22, 2020
2. Week 2 vs the Atlanta Falcons.
This was a huge game for Schultz as mentioned above, but no catch he made was bigger than his last one. In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were trailing by 15 points, and trying to mount a desperate comeback to avoid an 0-2 start. At the 4:57 mark, Prescott found Schultz for a ten-yard TD, his first of the season. It would be the spark that led to the now-famous watermelon kick in one of the wildest finishes of the year.
3. Week 4 vs the Cleveland Browns.
Once again, Dallas was trying to come back in the fourth to avoid another loss. Although the run defense would fail badly and the team would sink to 1-3, Schultz again provided a spark. With 6:31 left, and the team trailing 41-22, Prescott found his tight end over the middle for a 26-yard score. It was over the middle on a pass that was supposed to be a Jarwin specialty, and Schultz caught it between two defenders at the four, took a hit, and muscled his way into the end zone.
4. Week 11 at the Minnesota Vikings
Dallas was at the nadir of a horrible season, sitting at a miserable 2-7. Andy Dalton had struggled through a concussion and was still looking to get things going. Once again, the Cowboys were down in the fourth quarter, but this time by a much more manageable score of 28-24. With the game on the line, Dalton led the team to a first down at the Minnesota four, but they were able to only get to the two on the next two plays. Then he found Schultz over the middle for a three point lead that would hold up and fan hope of winning the overall dumpster fire that was the NFC East. As a bonus, Schultz shouted an emphatic “LFG” that was picked up by the on field mic, which shows his competitive fire.
Andy Dalton to Dalton Schultz.— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) November 23, 2020
Cowboys 31, Vikings 28. Vikings ball, now with 1:30 to play
5. Week 15 vs San Francisco 49ers.
With the game tied 17 all in the third quarter, the Cowboys mounted a drive and were at the 49ers’ 13. On first down, Dalton found Schultz at the nine. The tight end then did an excellent job of avoiding Richard Sherman, got to the first down marker where two defenders met him, and just bullied his way into the end zone. Dallas would never trail again in a game where they built up a big lead in the fourth and held off the opponent. It kept those division hopes alive, but as we know they would be dashed in the final game of the season.
Honorable mention: Week 4 against the Browns.
This was a play that stood out because of the athletic ability that Schultz displayed. With the line of scrimmage at the Dallas 37, Schultz worked to the sideline, then went up for the ball and toe-tapped for a 14-yard reception. It showed how he is a complete receiver.
Oh, and he can contribute when the ball is not in his hands as well.
Noah Brown and Dalton Schultz blocking in space is a coaches dream pic.twitter.com/cIMJpacBYN— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) December 28, 2020
Schultz is hardly the biggest star wearing the Star, but he proved in one season that he can be a vital part of the offensive machine, even with so many stars not available. Schultz is fighting two battles this season. One is with Blake Jarwin for the majority of the tight end snaps and targets. There other battle is securing a new contract as he is in the final year of his rookie contract.
Hopefully he can continue on his upward trajectory and add many more plays for consideration in 2021, and possibly beyond.