As the saying goes, to whom much is given, much is expected. When CeeDee Lamb was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and subsequently given the number 88, Lamb was expected to live up to the standard of the greats that came before him. Pearson. Irvin. Bryant.
Lamb was supposed to carry the mantle as the next great 88. While he has been pretty good, there have been miscues in some minor spots that have kept him from reaching his full potential. The mental mistakes of drops and not being at the proper depth on routes have been cited this season.
However, on Thanksgiving, Lamb was stellar. Clad in the throwback 88, he played a game that would make the franchise legends of the past nod in agreement. That’s why Lamb takes this week’s game ball.
He understood the assignment
The Giants were a depleted team coming into the game Thursday and were without their top two cornerbacks Adoree Jackson and Fabian Moreau. That Darnay Holmes and undrafted corner Nick McCloud were tasked with defending CeeDee Lamb was an issue for New York.
The Giants are known to send pressure at among the highest rates in the NFL and this would leave Lamb several times in one-on-one coverage. On completed passes where Holmes and McCloud were targeted in coverage, Lamb recorded four receptions for 75 yards.
Lamb’s routes on Thursday were excellent. Many times he was able to create separation from the Giants with an assortment of head fakes and sudden changes of direction. When there wasn’t separation, Lamb made amazing catches that were contested.
Lamb’s catch on the sideline as he was being interfered with by Holmes was a thing of beauty. That one-handed catch and pinning the ball on his shoulder were shades of Dez Bryant in Detroit from back in 2013. Plus, the catch by Lamb that ultimately ruled an incompletion was absolutely ridiculous.
When asked why he attempted so many one-handed catches, Lamb said “To be honest, I was getting held all night. They kept holding one arm and I understood that.”
After his six catches for 106 yards, Lamb is on pace to set a career-high of 1,324 yards with 98 receptions. Currently, Lamb has the second-most receiving yards in the NFC heading into this weekend’s games, ahead of the likes of Terry McLaurin, A.J. Brown, and Mike Evans. It’s even more impressive that Lamb has compiled these numbers and had this type of season playing without Dak Prescott for five games.
The only thing left now for Lamb is consistency. If Lamb can continue to produce the way that he’s done and minimize mistakes, it makes the Cowboys even more troublesome for opposing defenses. Once again playing alongside Prescott, Lamb is turning a corner and hopefully continues to blossom as the next great 88. For that, we can all be thankful.