The Cowboys rebounded from their crushing loss to the Packers last week by utterly demolishing the 8-1 Vikings (who are now 8-2). The game got out of hand so quickly that players who normally don’t see much of the field got some action. And for the rookie class, that meant everyone who was active got in on the fun.
OL Tyler Smith
Tyler Smith had another on-brand game for him, which is to say he held up well in run blocking but was uneven in pass protection. While Dak Prescott wasn’t sacked all day and was only hit once, Smith did get beat bad by Za’Darius Smith on a play that should’ve been a sack were it not for an incredible escape act from Prescott.
The bigger story, though, is that the Cowboys slid Smith to left guard late in the game and inserted Jason Peters at left tackle. The move kind of tipped everyone off to what the team plans to do once Tyron Smith returns from his injury. The rookie Smith ended up looking very sturdy at guard, though it’s tough to really evaluate his play given how Dallas was almost exclusively running the ball at that point in the game. Still, it was good to see Smith get some live game action at guard, since a move back to that position seems likely in the next few weeks.
EDGE Sam Williams
At a certain point, it felt like Sam Williams was destined to join in on the sack party and become the sixth different player to bring down the quarterback on the day. That ended up not happening, but it wasn’t for lack of effort.
Williams played on 47% of the defensive snaps, easily a career high for him, and finished the day with three total tackles. Two of those tackles went for a loss, as Williams was a menace against the run late in the game. He also got pressure several times, and logged a hit on the quarterback for his troubles.
WR Jalen Tolbert
The Cowboys were winning by so much in the fourth quarter that we even got a Jalen Tolbert sighting. More than that, Tolbert caught a pass for eight yards. It was his first target since Tolbert made his NFL debut in Week 3 against the Giants.
TE Jake Ferguson
Jake Ferguson continues to be a very quiet yet key cog in this offense. He played on 36 snaps, exactly half of the offensive snaps, and caught two passes for 15 yards. As has been the case all year, Ferguson also did more than his fair share of work in the run blocking game too, and was part of a dominant day on the ground for these Cowboys.
OT Matt Waletzko
Matt Waletzko is on the injured reserve.
CB DaRon Bland
DaRon Bland recovered nicely from his rough go a week ago. Playing the vast majority of the game, Bland had his share of challenges covering Adam Thielen, but the rookie played much better than he did against the Packers. He gave up a few catches but Bland returned to the solid play we’ve come to expect from him since taking over for the injured Jourdan Lewis.
LB Damone Clark
With Anthony Barr remaining sidelined for this game, and Micah Parsons returning to a predominant edge rushing role, Damone Clark was given plenty of opportunities to make big plays in this game and he responded well. Clark finished with three tackles on the day and seemed to always be around the ball.
It’s still wise to exercise patience with Clark given his ongoing recovery from spinal fusion surgery, and Barr will likely sideline the rookie once he’s healthy again, but it’s hard not to be impressed by what Clark has shown thus far.
LB Devin Harper
Devin Harper is on the injured reserve.
TE Peyton Hendershot
Like his fellow rookie tight end, Peyton Hendershot did a lot of the dirty work in run blocking in this game. He only played on 25 snaps, with most of them coming in run blocking, but Hendershot did catch one pass late in the game when Cooper Rush came in. Unfortunately, Hendershot lost a yard on the reception, but that shouldn’t detract from his solid play all around.
S Markquese Bell
Markquese Bell was inactive for this game.
RB Malik Davis
Malik Davis was relegated back to RB3 duties with Ezekiel Elliott returning from injury, but that didn’t stop him from getting some action on offense. Since the Cowboys jumped out to such a large lead, Davis ended up seeing 13 snaps on offense - the same amount as Tolbert - and he turned seven carries into 13 yards. Davis also caught two of his three targets for 22 yards.
Here’s hoping the Cowboys get another big win over the Giants to afford Davis even more time to shine.