Losing games like this so late in the season, with so much on the line, is always a tough pill to swallow. After having a firm grip on the game while on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Dallas Cowboys suffered an excruciating overtime loss. Injuries in the secondary seemed to have caught up with them.
Meanwhile, turnovers that have been so problematic, catch up with the Cowboys at the worst possible time. Disappointing to say the least. However, if there’s anyone who didn’t disappoint, it was CeeDee Lamb who takes this week’s game ball.
Give him the ball and get out of his way
In many ways, CeeDee Lamb can be the total package as a wide receiver. He can play in a variety of different places in the formation, he’s tough enough to fearlessly go across the middle, and he can track the ball in the air very well. In Jacksonville, it was another trait that stood out. The ability to make plays after the catch.
Two plays demonstrate his playmaking after the catch. The first was in the third quarter. Facing a 3rd and 8, Lamb ran a crossing pattern about five yards beyond the first down marker. Lamb then plants his foot in the turf, changes direction, and runs upfield the other way for an additional 25 yards.
Then later in the second half, Lamb shows off his extra gear of speed. On the first play after a Jaguars touchdown, Dak Prescott threw a short curl to Lamb in the slot five yards from the line of scrimmage. Lamb made the catch, evaded the first tackler, and darted down the field for an extra 20 yards.
A lonely island
Greg Olsen alluded to it on the broadcast, but for whatever reason Jacksonville opted to isolate CeeDee Lamb in one on one coverage and he made them pay. Some of that can be attributed to Lamb’s unpredictability to line up anywhere, but Lamb exploited the matchup he was given. Often Lamb was matched up with corner Tre Herndon and Lamb took advantage of it.
On the first drive of the game, Prescott connected with Lamb for 19 yards on a corner route. Herndon was in a position to make a play on the ball, but Lamb wanted it more and worked through the defender to make the catch. Lamb again got one over on Herndon after he made a diving catch on a dig route going across the field. There was simply no answer for Lamb.
Strength in numbers?
Lamb’s big day against Jacksonville resulted in seven catches for 126 yards. Sunday was Lamb’s third one-hundred-yard receiving game of the season and the eighth of his career. He’s now eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season and for the second time in his career. With each passing week, Lamb is proving that he can be depended on as the top receiving threat in Dallas. Except, there’s one caveat.
If Lamb doesn’t step up to become ‘him’, then who does? The increased growth of Lamb has come with unintended consequences. It’s no mystery that the Cowboys have been looking for ways to fill a void in the passing threats. Michael Gallup still hasn’t returned to form since his ACL injury and though usually dependable, Noah Brown is being overexerted a bit.
Additionally, his drop that led to the game-deciding interception returned for a touchdown, is hard to digest. Well, see if some helping hands can divert the attention away from Lamb as he continues to cement himself as ‘him’.