The Dallas Cowboys let the Carolina Panthers hang around for the first three quarters, but they eventually pulled away and secured their seventh win of the season 33-10. It was a dominant defensive effort, and Micah Parsons, the Cowboys' best player on that side of the ball, was the spearhead.
After being blanked on the stat sheet a week ago against the New York Giants, Parsons amassed six tackles, his second-most in any game in 2023. However, when he brought down rookie quarterback Bryce Young in the fourth quarter, bringing him up to 2.5 sacks on the day (10 for the season), he accomplished something that's never been done in Dallas. Parsons became the first Cowboys defender with 10 or more sacks in each of his first three seasons.
Parsons is just the ninth player since 1982 to accomplish this and the first since Shawne Merriman (2005-2007) when he played for the old San Diego Chargers. Other notable players on the list are Hall of Famers Reggie White and Derrick Thomas, as well as Dwight Freeney and Jevon Kearse, truly elite company.
With seven games left in the 2023 season, Parsons is on pace to shatter the 13.5 sacks he racked up last season. Coming into Week 11, Parsons led the NFL in pass-rush win rate at 34%, and his 91.7 pass-rush grade was fourth. After recording four sacks in the season's first three games, Parsons had a two-game stretch where he didn't bring the quarterback down. However, he's racked up at least one in four of the last five games, totaling six.
Parsons has amassed 36.5 sacks in the first 43 games of his NFL career, and the fact that he has played over 700 snaps at linebacker makes it even more impressive. The former first-round pick can terrorize an offense coming off the edge or rushing up the middle, which makes him quite a dynamic weapon. There's more to defense than getting sacks, but it doesn't hurt that the Cowboys know that Parsons can completely wreck a game doing so at any given moment.