The Dallas Cowboys dropped a 50-brisket on the Indianapolis Colts, winning at home for the sixth time this season 54-19. Now after scrolling through this list, you’ll see that Dak Prescott couldn’t make the cut.
That is nothing against the way Prescott played. It means he didn’t have to be “Atlas” for Dallas to win the game. No. 4 was able to rest his shoulders and rely on the team’s defense and run game to put away Matt Ryan’s Colts.
Here are the top ten players, minus Prescott, from the Cowboys’ ninth win of the season.
10. Damone Clark, LB
In back-to-back weeks, Damone Clark had a great forced fumble. The one on Sunday opened the door for Malik Hooker to score a touchdown against his former team.
Clark is becoming a better linebacker with the reps he gets, even with a healthy Anthony Barr in the lineup. His speed and instincts keep showing up, primarily when covering quick running backs out of the backfield like Jonathan Taylor. It’ll be interesting to see how the Cowboys use him against Miles Sanders in a few weeks.
9. Jayron Kearse, S
Jayron Kearse is back to the potential All-Pro play he had in 2021. With weeks removed from his knee injury, you can see how he feels more comfortable running around.
Kearse mentioned how the three-headed monster for the Cowboys is the best safety combination in the NFL, and it’s hard to argue against that when watching Sunday’s game. Kearse finished the game with seven solo tackles, two tackles for loss, and one pass deflection.
8. Ezekiel Elliott, RB
Ezekiel Elliott would make it on this list just for his excellent post-touchdown celebration in the Salvation Army Kettle. It doesn’t hurt that he also had a great game running the football too.
Elliott’s recent play reaffirms why the Cowboys decided to rest him after the Detroit game. Against a tough Colts defensive line, Elliott rushed for 77 yards on 17 carries and his one touchdown. His best performance this season has been maintaining his character about Pollard cutting into his carries. The team is better when both backs are successful.
7. Johnathan Hankins, DT
A big reason why Jonathan Taylor was limited to under 100 yards rushing was the effort of Johnathan Hankins. More than once against the Colts, he got a big push into their backfield.
The addition of Hankins can sometimes be forgotten about, given the un-sexy nature of his position. Before the trade deadline, the fanbase asked for more help on the offensive side of the ball, and with no result. However, Hankins looks more comfortable in a scheme he’s been in for a few weeks, and that will mean something in the playoffs.
6. Malik Hooker, S
Malik Hooker surely had this game circled on his calendar before the season started. If he was going to be healthy for the game, he would be determined to make an impact. Boy, did he ever.
Not only did Hooker have a momentum-turning interception, but he had a fumble recovery that went for a touchdown and ultimately put the game away. It was great to see Hooker have that moment against the team that drafted him. After having a quiet few weeks, this may give him the confidence to keep elevating his play on the field.
We discussed this list and more on the latest episode of The Writer’s Block on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
5. Michael Gallup, WR
Michael Gallup has put together his best two games of the season against the Giants and the Colts. He showed better chemistry with Prescott on his first touchdown as No. 4 was rolling out to the right looking for an open receiver. Gallup ran with his quarterback and was fearless, running through Indianapolis defenders to score.
The stats won’t show a great game, but any fan watching can see Gallup is returning to his old self. The more confident he gets, the better his play becomes.
4. CeeDee Lamb, WR
When the offense struggled to get going on their opening few drives, CeeDee Lamb continued to be the spark the team needed. Lamb looked like the player that Dallas drafted coming out of Oklahoma. He was so much better than his five receptions for 71 yards.
It was the most he’s ever been moved in motion before the snap, and that helped confuse the defense and create more opportunities for Lamb. Not to mention he is now just 72 yards away from back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
3. Tony Pollard, RB
After getting the start over Elliott, Tony Pollard showed the burst and speed we’ve been seeing all season. He was averaging almost eight yards a carry. That’s pretty ridiculous.
Pollard carried the ball 12 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns. His second one of the night was impressive and helped him put his name in the Cowboys record books. Pollard now has five touchdowns of 30+ yards this season, the most in a season by a Dallas running back in franchise history.
2. Donovan Wilson, S
The thumper of the Cowboys’ three-headed monster takes the top spot for the safeties. Wilson must have noticed Leighton Vander Esch took over the lead in team tackles, so he decided to have himself a night.
Wilson finished with ten tackles, one tackle for loss, and one sack that put the momentum back in the Cowboys’ favor when it happened. According to Pro Football Focus, Wilson was also the fourth-best graded run defender of the week. He continues to be playing at a Pro Bowl level and should be given the honor.
1. DaRon Bland, CB
DaRon Bland is not the cornerback many would expect at No. 1. However, on Sunday night, he played like the Cowboys’ best corner.
With Anthony Brown going down for the year along with Jourdan Lewis, the Cowboys’ secondary has more questions than the receiver room. The sudden steady play of Bland has eased those worries tremendously. He had two interceptions on the night and has three on the season. According to PFF, Bland was the highest-graded defensive player of the week at 94.3, playing a minimum of 50 percent of the snaps.