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5 stars from the Cowboys 20-17 win over the Bengals

Micah Parsons is among the standout performers in a big win for the Cowboys.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

After a thrilling last-second win versus the Cincinnati Bengals, the good vibes are a welcome change from the doom and gloom of last week. The debate shows and talks in the Monday break room will revolve around Cooper Rush, who got our game ball and deservedly so. However, we should also spotlight the players that came through on Sunday for a much-needed win.

Honorable mention: Donovan Wilson lowers the boom

This is a six-pointed star this week because Donovan Wilson must be recognized for his play Sunday afternoon. When it was reported that veteran safety Jayron Kearse would miss some action after a knee injury, there was a concern as to who would fill the role. Donovan Wilson took on the challenge as if it was Joe Mixon down in the box.

Wilson has always been a big hitter and lived up to that reputation against the Bengals. Wilson’s eight total tackles were a team-high. In his fourth year, he has the experience to fill the void left by Kearse. Wilson, who has a spotty injury history himself, needs to stay healthy for the Cowboys’ run defense to continue playing as well as it did Sunday.

Can he kick it? Yes, he can.

Although he may not have the best history with fans of the team, Brett Maher deserves credit for how he has looked in his second stint with the club. It’s just two games, but Brett Maher has been perfect. Literally, perfect.

So far this season has made all of his kicks; field goals and extra points. He’s also supported the Cowboys’ kickoff coverage with eight touchbacks. Without question, the early highlight of his 2022 campaign was his 50-yard game-winning kick as time expired to help the Cowboys avoid an 0-2 record. Without quarterback Dak Prescott, expect the Cowboys to be in a lot of close games. If Maher can continue his accurate ways and make kicks from distance, it could be a great equalizer.

Kellen Moore gets back to basics

Depending on who you ask, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore may have been public enemy number one in the aftermath of last week’s loss versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Head coach Mike McCarthy pulled no punches, in hinting that Moore has got to be smarter in his play-calling. Unsuccessful trick plays aside, the crux of the criticisms surrounding Kellen Moore Kellen has been going away from the run too early.

Moore got the memo this week and he read it loud and clear. In their first nine offensive possessions, the Dallas Cowboys ran the ball to open the drive on six of those possessions. Furthermore, on those same six possessions, they ran the ball on second down after running the ball on first; doubling down on the commitment to running the football.

Moore’s deliberate approach, which by the way, only resulted in three negative runs on 26 total attempts, making sure the Cowboys were in a manageable distance on third down. As stated before, Cooper Rush will take center stage as the star of the show. However, Kellen Moore was very good at doing his job backstage.

The lion is always hungry

At this point, Cowboys Nation and the NFL media as a whole should be running out of superlatives to describe Micah Parsons. He is a premier talent rushing the passer. Picking up where he left off, Parsons was back at it racking up two more sacks for the season. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was made uncomfortable for much of the game and Micah Parsons was the primary cause.

Entering the game, there was a focus on the matchup between Parsons and former Dallas Cowboy La’el Collins. Parsons made his old teammate look lost on several occasions and in some cases caused Collins to jump out of his stance early resulting in a false start penalty.

Noah Brown’s big day

Noah Brown has always been a player that doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves. Used primarily as a special teams player and a blocker in the running game, we have yet to see the best from Noah Brown, until the Cincinnati game. Brown recorded five receptions for 91 yards and one touchdown reception.

With Michael Gallup still recovering and ruled out on Friday of the past week, and rookie wide receiver Jalen Tolbert still not ready to play, the Cowboys needed Noah Brown to have the breakout game that he did on Sunday. Even if the Cowboys get healthy at wide receiver, look for Brown to have a more prominent role in the offense.

CeeDee Lamb bounces back

Much like Kellen Moore, Ceedee Lamb was in the news last week for all the wrong reasons, with Jerry Jones giving his opinion on what CeeDee Lamb must to do become a number one receiver. Whether the owner’s comments were fair or not, Lamb needed to respond as the focal of the passing game, and he did by hauling in seven of his eleven targets for 75 yards. Cooper Rush and Lamb exhibited a good chemistry on the field and that should only improve over the next few games.

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