The Dallas Cowboys third loss of the season came from the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles. But ask yourself this— looking back at all three losses so far, isn’t this the best you felt about the Cowboys afterward?
Quarterback Dak Prescott continues to play at a Pro Bowl level for a third week. CeeDee Lamb is heading towards another All-Pro nomination, and their defense didn’t allow the Eagles’ offense to score in the fourth quarter.
Sure, things could be better in a few areas, like pass protection, the run game, and depth at cornerback, but what team isn’t struggling with something right now? The Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Seattle Seahawks lost by playing uncharacteristically to themselves.
Despite coming off a loss, there were six bright spots to come against the Eagles and performances that should be encouraging for the rest of the season.
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 9.
6. Brandon Aubrey, K
Any time anyone sets an NFL record, it should be recognized. Brandon Aubrey has made 19 straight field goal attempts to start his career, which breaks the original record of 18.
Notre Dame alum Brandon Aubrey set an NFL record by making 19 field goals in a row to begin his career with this 51-yarder.— Tyler Horka (@tbhorka) November 6, 2023
Aubrey played soccer in South Bend. Never kicked for the Fighting Irish football team. Now he’s one of the best kickers in the league.
Quite a story. pic.twitter.com/WanC2DjcDf
What’s more impressive is that it wasn’t a chip shot from 20 yards out. It was a 51-yard attempt, on the road against the Eagles and outdoors. The kick didn’t happen in the snow, but fans should feel confident that with the pressure of the record on the line, Aubrey delivered.
Sure, Aubrey kicked a ball out of bounds on a kickoff and almost missed a PAT, but breaking the record on a kick that gave the Cowboys the lead at the time should be recognized. A player like Osa Odighizuwa could have certainly been given the spot here, but remember where Dallas was at training camp with kicker and where they are now and you’ll see why Aubrey is more than deserving of this recognition.
5. Jake Ferguson, TE
Dalton Schultz, who? That’s not a slight to Schultz, but more for people who thought Ferguson couldn’t live up to being just as effective as the former Dallas tight end.
To make it clear, there weren’t many people saying that. That shows how many people believed Ferguson to be this good. I wanted the Cowboys to draft a tight end in the first round because I thought of the difference someone like Sam LaPorta or Dalton Kincaid could make in this offense. I’m happy they didn’t.
Over the past two weeks, Ferguson has 11 receptions, 138 yards, and two touchdowns. In the same span, Travis Kelce has nine receptions for 72 yards and zero touchdowns. I’m not saying he’s better than Kelce, but compare the two if you’d like.
Dak Prescott has averaged 4.0 fewer yards per attempt with Jake Ferguson off the field this season.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 6, 2023
Ferguson recorded career-highs in targets (8), receptions (6), and yards (84) when aligned in the slot in Week 9 vs the Eagles.#DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/utSBoxdFuh
According to Next Gen Stat, Dak Prescott is a better quarterback with Ferguson on the field. His completion percentage is almost 75 percent. Following the footsteps of security blanket tight ends before him, Ferguson has become that and then some.
4. Micah Parsons, DE
The Eagles’ offensive line ranks as a top-five unit in the NFL, and Parsons was still able to make an impact against some of the best players at their position.
Parsons once again led the team in pressures with six while recording 1.5 sacks. Looking at last season’s matchup in Philadelphia, Parsons struggled to set the edge against Jalen Hurts in the RPO game. He had his moments, but Parsons did a much better job containing the run and any threat of Hurts on the outside.
Lol what a freakshow... Pressure in like 1.9 seconds pic.twitter.com/fXe0UGkhwH— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 6, 2023
You can see in the video that Parsons had a night filled with getting to Hurts quickly. Parsons should have had a few more sacks, but the Eagles QB was reactive, getting rid of the ball quickly.
Against a beaten and tattered Giants offensive line, Parsons should be near the top of this list next week. He should find a lot of success at home against Big Blue.
3. Tyler Smith, LG
Outside of Dak Prescott having to evade the pressure of the Philly defensive front, Tyler Smith probably had the toughest matchup on the team against Jalen Carter. The first-round pick had a few wins, but Smith ultimately won the day.
Cowboys LG Tyler Smith allowed just 2 pressures over 24 matchups against Jalen Carter, including just 1 pressure over 13 one-on-one matchups.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 6, 2023
Smith has allowed a 3.3% pressure rate this season, lowest among left guards (min. 150 pass blocking snaps).#DALvsPHI | #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/mjlFVDMySw
This wasn’t the first time this season the second-year offensive lineman was a standout performer among the starting five. He also had a great game against the Arizona Cardinals and the New England Patriots, where he had the highest PFF grade among all guards in the NFL that week.
Prescott had one of his best outings of the season because the front of the pocket was clean and protected. Given the struggles on the right side of the line, the steadiness of Smith on the left side helped ease the minds of Prescott and Mike McCarthy.
He will draw another tough matchup against the Giants’ defensive front led by Dexter Lawrence this weekend. If there’s anyone who could handle pretty much anything a defense throws at him right now, it’s probably T-Sizzle.
2. CeeDee Lamb, WR
CeeDee Lamb is the first Cowboys receiver since Michael Irvin to have three games in a season with 150-plus yards and at least ten receptions. That ties a franchise record he could potentially break this weekend against the Giants.
Lamb cooked the Eagles, hauling in 11 receptions for 191 yards. For those of you who are better at math than me, you could figure out the average quickly. For those who aren’t math majors, I’ll tell you what it averages to. That’s over 17 yards a reception. That’s ridiculous!
Whenever the Cowboys needed to make a play, especially on a fourth down early in the game, Prescott looked in Lamb’s direction. He might not have recorded a touchdown, but he was the most influential player on the field regardless of team Sunday night.
Lamb now has two games in a row of going over 125 yards. If he can keep that up over the next five weeks, he’ll break the record set by A.J. Brown. What game would be the one to break the record? It would be the seventh game against the Eagles at home in front of Brown. How poetic would that be?
1. Dak Prescott, QB
There’s no one more deserving of the top spot than the quarterback himself. Sure, Lamb and Ferguson had great days as receivers, but Prescott put the ball in the exact place it needed to be each time.
The only mistakes he made were stepping out of bounds on the two-point conversion and the fourth-down throw to Jalen Tolbert instead of going to Lamb or Ferguson. But that would be it. Prescott played a near-perfect game against a ferocious pass rush that pressured him all day.
Dak Prescott was awesome today. pic.twitter.com/AZ4zZlUG2v— Robert Mays (@robertmays) November 6, 2023
Against Philadelphia, Prescott completed 22 of 44 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns. His ability to extend plays and work off-script kept the Cowboys going punch for punch with the best team in the NFC.
If Luke Schoonmaer goes one inch deeper into the end zone and the offensive line doesn't allow back-to-back sacks on the Cowboys' final drive, we’re talking about Prescott as having a top-three career performance.
He was far from being the reason Dallas lost, even though he would take on full responsibility instead of pointing fingers—the mark of a true leader.