Ten spots in the power rankings aren’t enough when an NFL team plays like the Dallas Cowboys did against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. From the offense to defense and special teams, each player took the Green Bay loss to heart and went out with something to prove. That was a true definition of a “team win.”
They certainly proved to be in the conversation with the NFC’s best, and among the best in the NFL. If the Cowboys play like that for the rest of the season, you can start to dream of a Super Bowl.
Here are the top ten players from Dallas’ win over Minnesota.
10. CeeDee Lamb, WR
This spot could have gone to numerous guys. Michael Gallup, DeMarcus Lawrence, Damone Clark, and Anthony Brown—but it goes to Lamb. In a week where Lamb was criticized for his lack of communication with Prescott, he showed he can be counted on. He caught all five of his targets for 45 yards.
Marc Sessler on the Around the NFL Podcast said Lamb’s arms were already 1.1 yards out of bounds when he caught the ball, which is the most for a reception like that in the NFL for three years. Lamb now has two highlight-reel catches in Minnesota. Maybe it’s something in the air.
9. Sam Williams, DE
Week after week, Sam Williams becomes a more mature player. He’s not committing stupid penalties, and he is using more tools from his toolbox. In the fourth quarter, Williams showed his skills as a run defender. He had two tackles for loss, where he just beat the lineman to the inside and knifed through to tackle Alexander Mattison.
Williams has been known this season for his pass rush ability, but by putting his run defense on film, Dan Quinn will see that and should earn him more snaps. For a team that struggled to defend the run a week ago.
8. Dorance Armstrong, DE
Dorance Armstrong had his second multi-sack game of the season and was much better in run defense on the edge. It’s impressive to see how much he’s improved from one year to the next, and he is second on the team with seven sacks. He plays with a lot of power. Armstrong must be eating his Wheaties every Sunday.
Overall, he continues to prove why the front office gave him the extension in the offseason.
7. Jayron Kearse, S
The last time the Cowboys played T.J. Hockenson, when he was on the Detroit Lions, he had a really good game. The Dallas defense allowed four catches for 48 yards in Hockenson’s direction. It was a different story, with Kearse and Wilson rotating against him. They gave up just five catches for 34 yards, but most came when the game was out of reach.
It was a vintage Kearse game similar to what we saw from him last season, where he was used all over the field and a leader on defense. He also had a great sack and a key pass breakup in the endzone. Kearse also got to do the Skol clap against his former team, which automatically puts him on the list.
6. Zack Martin & Tyler Biadasz, RG/C
The birthday boys played a great game and protected Prescott. The entire line allowed just one quarterback hit, but these two, in particular, have shown time and time again how great they are working together.
Terence Steele deserves his recognition as a run blocker, but that was Zack Martin at his best, and Tyler Biadasz keeps showing his growth as an NFL center, never allowing a sack this season, and hasn’t allowed a quarterback hit since Week 5.
5. Brett Maher, K
Brett Maher has been the definition of “prove it” this season. Maher had to prove himself as the starting kicker in training camp, had to prove to fans he was different than his first go around with the Cowboys, and had to prove not once, but twice, he could make a 60-yard field goal before half-time, no problem.
Maher holds the NFL record for most successful kicks over 60 yards with four, but Cowboys fans will always count five with the one that never counted. He was 8 for 8 on the day, including extra points, and tied for third in the NFL with 83 points.
4. Tony Pollard, RB
Tony Pollard has shown in back-to-back starts how dynamic of a running back he is. He decided on Sunday to put it on tape that he’s also a dynamic pass catcher. Pollard had six catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Not to mention averaging five yards a carry with 80 yards as well. 703 yards on the season.
Pollard is quickly becoming a top priority to sign a long-term deal with, the Cowboys offense would be lost without him.
3. Trevon Diggs, CB
People will probably have Trevon Diggs lower on their lists, but look at what he did on Sunday. He traveled with not only the Vikings No. 1 receiver but probably the best receiver in the NFL and shut him down.
Justin Jefferson caught just three passes for 33 yards, Diggs giving up two for 19 yards. According to Marcus Mosher on Twitter, Diggs has allowed just 29 yards in his last two games and 108 yards in his previous five games, now flirting with being No. 1 at his position himself.
2. Dak Prescott, QB
Dak Prescott is truly Bak. His performance against Minnesota was reminiscent of 2016 when Jason Garrett wanted to keep things simple for him and rely on the run game and defense to get the job done. Prescott finished completing 22 of 25 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns.
Dak’s accuracy was on par with his best ever. Multiple times he didn’t force anything but went through his progressions to the check-down. One of those progressions ended up Pollard’s first touchdown. When the pressure is off, Prescott is among the best.
1. Micah Parsons, DE/LB
I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a gazelle in the savanna of Africa. Not only must it be terrifying to run away from lions all day, but one that’s pissed off must be even scarier. Micah Parsons won the game for the Cowboys 1:52 into the game. That is the exact moment he caused the strip-sack fumble on Kirk Cousins.
Parsons had a game similar to his Bengals performance, where he was better than all 21 players on the field, and it became the Parsons show. He finished with two sacks and should have been four if he didn’t let Cousins go and got to Nick Mullens quicker in garbage time. The only complaint is that he should have never gone back in the game after the score was out of reach. He got banged up again going into a short week, so there needs to be better decision-making on Mike McCarthy’s part.