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Cowboys game ball: Dallas defense is starting to assert itself with young guys leading the way

The Cowboys offense is as advertised, but the defense is starting to show itself.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys pummeled their NFC East rival, the Philadelphia Eagles, on Monday night. The final score of 41-21 actually seems a lot closer than that the actual game itself felt, and that’s saying something with a 20-point win. The Cowboys appeared to be firmly in control of the game from the get-go. They scored on their first drive, and despite some mistakes and an errant call from the referees that negated a touchdown, they never gave much life to the Eagles.

The fact that the Cowboys offense put up a 40-burger isn’t exactly shocking news. With Dak Prescott back in action, and a fairly healthy unit on that side of the ball, it was expected that they would shine. And they have. It’s the Cowboys defense that is surprising in the early part of the season. They aren’t air tight, but they make plays. They now have eight turnovers to their credit on the young season. They also finally got a pass rush going from someone besides Micah Parsons.

So let’s take a look at some players who had good games, and the one who earned the overall game ball.

On offense, the wealth was spread around. Dak Prescott was very efficient, throwing three touchdowns on just 238 yards passing. He didn’t need to do everything because like last week, the Cowboys had a powerful run game going. Ezekiel Elliott finished with 95 yards on 17 carries (5.6 avg.) and Tony Pollard chipped in 60 yards on 11 carries (5.5 avg.).

The biggest star on the offensive side of the ball was Dalton Schultz. He finished with 80 yards on six catches and had two touchdowns. It appears that Schultz is cementing the TE1 position. For his efforts, he gets the offensive game ball this week.

On defense, we’re seeing the emergence of some of the younger players. Micah Parsons filled in at defensive end again this game and made his presence known. He tipped one pass, collected half a sack, caused a holding penalty and had four tackles, a couple of times running down the elusive Jalen Hurts. Osa Odighizuwa had four tackles and one-and-a-half sacks and just missed a couple more. He was a presence all evening and appears to be an emerging force at defensive tackle. Once Neville Gallimore gets back, the Cowboys will have an interior that can do damage.

But we’re reserving the defensive game ball and overall winner of the prize for Trevon Diggs. He has become a lockdown corner for the Cowboys that can make plays on the ball. For the third game in a row he had an interception, and this one turned into a pick six. It came at a crucial time as the Cowboys led 20-7 but the Eagels had the ball to start the second half. If the Eagles score on that drive, it’s 20-14 and we have a game. Instead, Diggs picked off a pass, raced 59-yards for a touchdown and put the Cowboys comfortably ahead. He also had three passes defensed on the evening and is turning into a star in the secondary. He allows the Cowboys to help with the rest of their coverage because Diggs can cover the opposition’s best receiver one-one-one. He is a difference-maker.

The Cowboys young defense is starting to impress with Dan Quinn getting the most out of them. Players like Jayron Kearse and Randy Gregory also turned in good games and even Anthony Brown got an interception. If they keep it up and get Gallimore and DeMarcus Lawrence back, things could get very interesting for this team.