The Dallas Cowboys needed a win on Monday night to carry positive momentum into their bye week, and they got just that. For the majority of the game, it was not pretty, consisting of many pre-snap penalties and ones that would extend drives.
However, like every coach says after a game, a win is a win in the NFL, and you don’t take it for granted. With their backs against the wall all week, the Cowboys proved to embody the words “Carpe Omnia.”
Each week, the top six players from the game will be ranked.
Depending on how the Cowboys perform, there could be the same names or six different ones every week. It won’t be based on just the best players on the roster. This way, it gives players who might not be household names the ability to shine a light on their impact for the week.
Here are the top six players from Week 6.
6. Brandon Aubrey, K
Things are starting to look historic for Brandon Aubrey. It feels like forever ago when Aubrey missed his first extra point against the New York Giants. Since then, the Cowboys rookie kicker has been perfect in every field goal attempt and PAT.
Entering Week 7, Aubrey sits tied for fourth with 60 points scored this year. The person he’s tied with—Los Angeles Rams kicker Brett Maher. What a world.
His go-ahead field goal against the Chargers, Aubrey’s second of the night, was dead center from 39 yards out. He might not be on Dan Bailey’s level yet, but Aubrey is on his way if he keeps up this performance.
5. Brandin Cooks, WR
FINALLY! Brandin Cooks was able to get involved in the offense and score his first touchdown as a Cowboy. If Dallas went into the bye week without a touchdown going in Cooks’ direction, it could have been a long two weeks for the offense.
Now that Cooks has gotten over that hurdle, McCarthy can’t let up on the gas pedal and make sure he continues to get the ball. The Archer was targeted four times and had four receptions for 36 yards.
The touchdown was incredible, but the most important catch of the night for Cooks came on third down on the Cowboys’ final drive in the fourth quarter. With 3:30 left in the game, Dak Prescott found Cooks for an 11-yard reception that helped run the clock down.
If the pass goes incomplete, Dallas has to attempt a much longer field goal, and it leaves Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense with two timeouts, the two-minute warning, and over three minutes on the clock to tie the game.
4. DeMarcus Lawrence, DE
With running back Austin Ekeler coming back, there was significant concern about whether or not the Cowboys’ defense could stop the run. They put an absolute stop to any notion of that possibility, primarily because of the play from DeMarcus Lawrence.
Brian Baldinger of NFL Network has a great breakdown of a play where Lawrence spins out of a block against an outside toss and still hustles to make the play.
.@dallascowboys @TankLawrence defeats this “crack block” and tgen makes the play….you know…the way you are trained to do it. Technique + Effort = ++ on this play #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/qOIjo8vfiz— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) October 17, 2023
Lawrence has just two sacks on the season but is Pro Football Focus’ second highest-graded defender among all defensive ends (91.9). Tank also has a 91.8 grade for run defense, first among edge players.
Somehow, the ten-year vet has turned back the clock to become the best version of himself.
3. Micah Parsons, DE/LB
Troy Aikman needs to call Cowboys games more often. On the broadcast, when he started calling for Micah Parsons to make a play on the Chargers’ final drive, the Lion got his first sack of the night at the most critical part of the game.
Parsons led the team with eight pressures and was tied for second most in the NFL for Week 6. Cowboys reporter Patrik Walker describes pressures as a stat that affects the psychology of a quarterback, and I couldn’t agree more.
Parsons didn’t have a three-sack night, but his consistent pressure forced Justin Herbert to make some bad throws and speed up his clock in the pocket. Even on the game’s final play, Parsons helped Osa Odighizuwa put pressure on Herbert, who threw off his back foot and made a bad mistake resulting in an interception.
Parsons is always in the minds of offensive coordinators and quarterbacks, making him the ultimate weapon on defense for Dallas, regardless of whether he gets sacks.
2. CeeDee Lamb, WR
One major storyline of the loss to the 49ers was that CeeDee Lamb was upset for not getting enough involvement on offense. Before Monday night, Lamb shared his frustrations with the media and was angry because he just wanted to help his team win.
Well, sir, stay as angry as you would like if it gets the same production as it did against the Chargers. Lamb had one of his best games this season, hauling in seven receptions off seven targets for 117 yards.
Whenever Prescott needed a first down, he was looking in Lamb’s direction, and rightfully so. All seven of his catches were for first downs. The offense has had its bright spots, but they need to keep Lamb as the focal point of their passing game—he’s too important not to.
1. Dak Prescott, QB
Dak Prescott was the best player on offense all night. He completed 21 of 30 pass attempts for 272 yards and two touchdowns. He added an extra 40 yards rushing and another touchdown for good measure.
The offensive line struggled with Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, and Tuli Tuipulotu, so Prescott had to play off-script most of the game. The rushing touchdown was a perfectly read run-option, but his best play of the night came on Tony Pollard’s 60-yard reception, where Prescott scrambled out of the pocket, extended the play, and completed the easy throw which allowed Pollard to do the rest.
There were plays he held the ball for too long trying to play hero ball, but when it mattered, Prescott elevated his team to a win. He and McCarthy are still trying to figure out the offense, but there were more positives than negatives to signal things are heading in the right direction.