The Dallas Cowboys will go into Thanksgiving with a 7-3 record after smoking the Carolina Panthers 33-10. It’s the third straight season the Cowboys have started their first 10 games with a 7-3 record and they are on course to make their third-straight playoff appearance, something they haven’t done since the mid-’90s when they made the playoffs six consecutive seasons, winning the Super Bowl in three of them.
This victory over the Panthers didn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but there were some things that happened that caught our attention. Here are ten thoughts on the Cowboys' crushing victory over the Panthers.
1. HANGING AROUND
The final score shows a convincing 23-point win. And to be quite honest, this game never really felt close. That said, would you believe this was a one-score game with under 30 seconds left in the first half and then again with under two minutes in the third quarter? The Cowboys eventually put the game away, but they allowed the Panthers to hang around early.
2. IT WAS OVER IN A HURRY
After the Panthers made it 17-10 late in the third quarter, the Cowboys answered back with an eight-play, 75-yard drive to go up 24-10, capped off by a 21-yard run by Tony Pollard. Then, on the first play of the Panthers' very next drive, DaRon Bland picked off Bryce Young and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. And just like that, the Cowboys were in full control, leading 30-10.
3. ANOTHER PICK-SIX FOR BLAND
It’s absolutely crazy what a season that DaRon Bland is having. The guy is an interception machine as he came away with his sixth pick of the year. And if he’s going to pick it, he might as well house it. When you think about how hard it once was for this Cowboys defense to create turnovers via interceptions, it’s so wild that this team could end up with the NFL interception leader in two of the past three seasons.
4. ANOTHER BLOWOUT
The Cowboys have now won seven games this season, and six of them have been by 20 points or more. When this Cowboys team wins, they win big. It’s hard remembering a season where the fourth quarter has been essentially meaningless. Last season, Cooper Rush was 4-1 as a starter, but this season, Rush is 5-1 as a backup. I think we prefer this version much better.
5. WHERE DID THE OFFENSE GO?
The Cowboys won convincingly, but it wasn’t the most impressive performance, especially from the offensive side of the ball. They finished the game with just 311 yards of offense after having 640 yards last week. Dak Prescott had less than 200 yards passing and no receiver reached 50 yards receiving. That’s quite a contrast considering they had three wide receivers with at least 70 yards last week, including two of them (CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks) with over 150 yards. It’s not like they are going to light teams up every week, but it is a little odd that the offense wasn’t a little more impressive against a Panthers’ defense that isn’t very good.
Contrary to reports from the FOX broadcast team, Micah Parsons did not drink rocket fuel at any point in this game. You wouldn’t know it though as was firing through the offensive line disrupting the Panthers passing game. Parsons finished the game with a career-high three sacks, and the Cowboys defense finished with seven sacks.
We talked about the Cowboys offense not lighting up the stat sheet, and one of the reasons is the flow of this game. The Cowboys defense allowed less than 200 total yards, including just 77 passing yards. That’s dominance. Sure, the offense wasn’t flying down the field, but that’s because they didn’t have to. This marks the second-straight game the Cowboys' defense hasn’t allowed 80 yards receiving. That’s impressive.
7. PANTHERS RUNNING AWAY
In the wild, Panthers don’t typically engage in fights with Lions. That’s because they’re half their size and a lion’s bite has a force of up to 650 pounds per square inch according to the most recent data from Thomson Safaris. Instead of engaging, the Panthers looked for opportunities to run away and that’s exactly what the Panthers offense did to avoid being devoured by Parsons. Carolina was effective running the ball in the first half as they had 14 rushes for 85 yards (6.1 yards per carry). The game script forced the Panthers to abandon the run in the second half, but it does point to an area of concern sometimes for this Cowboys defense.
8. EXTRA CHANCES
Three times in the second quarter, the Cowboys were stopped short of the first down marker on third down, only to get more chances thanks to dumb penalties from the Panthers' defense. Xavier Woods was called for a horse-collar/facemask combo, Amare Barno was flagged for a late hit on Dak Prescott, and DeShawn Williams was hit with an unnecessary roughness penalty when he shoved KaVontae Turpin late. The Cowboys scored 10 points off of those extra chances.
9. EXTRA CHANCE BACK ATCHA
The Cowboys were in a giving mood as well when Sam Williams got flagged for running into the kicker that set up fourth down and short at midfield. Carolina went on to convert on fourth down and then again two other times to keep the drive going and make it a one-score game.
10. WE HAD A SCHOONMAKER SIGHTING
It’s been a quiet start for the Cowboys’ second-round pick this season. Entering this game, the rookie only had three catches for 14 yards. In this game, he had two catches for 23 yards, one of which was a touchdown. Hopefully, this marks the beginning of more involvement from the team’s young tight end.