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Cowboys game ball: CeeDee Lamb paces the Dallas passing game against the 49ers

The Cowboys lost playmaker Tony Pollard, so they turned to CeeDee Lamb who had a big game.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Just like that, it’s over. An exciting season is now finished and the Dallas Cowboys will be once again spectators for the remainder of the postseason. The Cowboys failed to win the turnover battle and Dak Prescott’s two interceptions led to points as the Cowboys lost 19-12 to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs. The defense was stout for most of the afternoon but couldn’t make a few more stops late in the game.

There’s no denying it, expectations were high and many in Cowboys Nation were confident this team would advance in the postseason. Nevertheless, as we close the book on the 2022 season, let’s take moment to acknowledge the performance of CeeDee Lamb, who takes this week’s game ball after catching 10 passes for 117 yards.

For as vaunted as the 49ers’ defense is, the best way to attack them was in the secondary and on the perimeter of their defense. Lamb understood the assignment and provided Prescott with a safety valve underneath and was fighting to pick up tough yards throughout the game.

If you want to know what type of hard-nosed, determined player CeeDee Lamb is, watch his play to pick up a crucial fourth-down conversion. The Cowboys were on the move in the 49ers’ red zone and are facing a 4th and 1. The Cowboys were already unsure about their kicker Brett Maher given his struggles and decided to be aggressive. Prescott gave the ball to Lamb on the jet sweep, Lamb spun away from the hard-hitting Talanoa Hufanga behind the line of scrimmage and picked up a critical first down. The Cowboys would score two plays later to take an early 6-3 lead.

Lamb’s ability to exploit mismatches in the slot and attack the middle of the field makes him of one the game’s best in that department. Unfortunately, that wasn’t available to the Cowboys based on the 49ers’ pass rush and having to get the ball out quickly. Lamb and the offense made that work in their favor. Lamb caught several quick screen passes that he was able to pick up yards after the catch and does his best to keep his offense on the field.

He also had one, big deep shot.

In hindsight, the Cowboys should have probably attacked the 49ers’ defense outside the numbers a bit more and Lamb’s big 44-yard catch is an example of why. Lamb lined up out wide across Deommodore Lenoir. Lamb runs a simple go route down the field and Prescott gives him a chance to make a play on it. The pass was a bit underthrown but Lamb was able to twist his way back to the ball despite being interfered with by Lenoir, making the catch for a big gain. A big play at a big-time moment.

Giving Lamb the game ball for this week is bittersweet for two big reasons. One, Lamb is the player most deserving of this distinction, which unfortunately comes in a devastating playoff loss. Two, Lamb has thrived as the centerpiece of the passing attack, but that usage and production one would argue is out of necessity. As the Cowboys go into the offseason, they must take a long, hard look at whether the supporting cast of weapons they have need retooling. Another conversation for another day in the not-so-distant future. However, the arrow for Lamb is pointing up and the sky’s the limit.

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