Survive and advance. That is the name of the game for the Dallas Cowboys and the remaining teams that will square off this weekend. With only eight teams left in the playoffs, every game and play only gets bigger and more important as the road to the Lombardi Trophy gets closer and harder. A huge shoutout is in order for this entire Cowboys team as they answered the call on Monday night. Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn were able to make outstanding calls and put their players in the best position to succeed all night long, and Dak Prescott was able to rise to the occasion and put together his best, most important performance of his career to date.
More is needed, and all last week did was confirm what we thought this team was made of and capable of doing all along. The next challenge is to find out if they have what it takes to do it again. The San Francisco 49ers are an outstanding football team that can beat you in a multitude of ways, and if the Cowboys are going to come out victorious it will take another outstanding performance from the few named earlier. Plus, maybe an underrated star.
Divisional Round Underrated Star
One of the most outstanding moves Dan Quinn deployed on Monday night was the usage of second-year defensive back Israel Mukuamu. He had been a guy who carved out a role for himself as the team’s fourth safety who would come in and spell the other veteran guys in front of him, as well as being one of the core special teams guys. On Monday night that all changed. In a move that Quinn had not shown to the outside world until then, he had Mukuamu playing slot cornerback, being the third cornerback deployed for the evening.
Young man a damn player no question @IsraelMukuamu 6’4 getting busy in that slot— Jayron Kearse (@Jayronkearse8) January 17, 2023
It was a move that virtually no one outside of that building knew was coming and it ended up being an outstanding chess move by Quinn. Mukuamu not only stepped in, he stepped up and looked like a piece to this Cowboys defense that they have been missing all along. He was physical all night as he used his 6’4” frame to frustrate wide receivers. He used his athletic ability to not only stay with some high level receivers, but was able to frustrate the group as a whole. The idea to give Mukuamu a chance at cornerback isn’t crazy given his background as a cornerback in college at South Carolina, but it was never formally discussed in the media and had left many of us in the dark about the plan of attack.
The Cowboys will need another quality performance from Mukuamu on Sunday night as they face another high-level receiving corps. If he is able to step in again and bring stability to a unit that has been a concern as of late due to injury, it could go a very long way for this Cowboys team in their pursuit of a Super Bowl title.