The Cowboys served up a steaming hot plate of revenge on Sunday night, cruising to a 33-13 victory over the Eagles to move into first place in the NFC East. They didn’t get a lot of contributions from their rookie class in this one, but the one who made the biggest impact ended up making history in the process. Let’s break it down.
iDL Mazi Smith
Mazi Smith turned in a fairly normal type of game for himself, but it’s what comes next that is more interesting. Johnathan Hankins, the team’s top nose tackle, had to be carted off late in the game with an ankle injury. Early word suggests it’s not too serious, but there exists a high likelihood that Hankins will miss at least some time, which could push Smith into a larger role.
As for the game itself, Smith stuck to his regular role of spelling Hankins, playing on 13 defensive snaps for the night. With such a limited workload, Smith came away with nothing on the stat sheet, but he’s been growing in this role all season now. Could he be ready to fill in for Hankins on a short term basis? We’ll certainly find out.
TE Luke Schoonmaker
It was interesting to see how the Cowboys used Luke Schoonmaker this week after getting Peyton Hendershot back from the injured reserve. Hendershot started the year as the second tight end on the depth chart, but Schoonmaker has held down that role in Hendershot’s absence.
In this game, it looks like the Cowboys split the difference between the two. Schoonmaker had 19 offensive snaps to Hendershot’s 15, but neither was clearly ahead of the other in terms of usage. And for the first time since Week 6, Schoonmaker didn’t see a single target. It will be interesting to monitor the snap distribution between these two going forward.
LB DeMarvion Overshown
DeMarvion Overshown tore his ACL in the preseason and is on the injured reserve for the year.
EDGE Viliami Fehoko
Viliami Fehoko is on the injured reserve.
OL Asim Richards
Asim Richards was inactive for this game.
CB Eric Scott Jr.
Eric Scott Jr. was inactive for this game.
RB Deuce Vaughn
Deuce Vaughn was inactive for this game.
WR Jalen Brooks
Jalen Brooks was inactive for this game.
G T.J. Bass
T.J. Bass stuck to his regular role this week, only coming in to block for Brandon Aubrey’s seven kicks on the night.
FB Hunter Luepke
It was another normal workload for Hunter Luepke, who played on eight offensive snaps and 15 special teams snaps. The Cowboys have gotten into a routine of moving Luepke around the formation pre-snap to get him into the best blocking alignments for the play at hand.
On one of his eight offensive snaps in this game, Luepke actually aligned as the lone running back and went out to block on a jet sweep run. That kind of creativity is why this coaching staff likes Luepke so much, and his versatility could come into play more down the stretch.
K Brandon Aubrey
There were a few times in this game where it felt like Brandon Aubrey was about to see his field goal streak come to an end, but the rookie never even flirted with failure. His first attempt was from 60 yards, a career long for Aubrey, and the kick sailed through with plenty of room to spare. Aubrey later made a 59-yarder, earning him another piece of history.
Cowboys K Brandon Aubrey has hit a field goals tonight from 60 YDS and 59 YDS out— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 11, 2023
He's the first kicker in NFL history to hit 2 FGs from 59+ YDS out in the same game... pic.twitter.com/8xjjIv7SI1
Simply put, the man does not miss. He made all four of his field goals, improving to 30/30 on the year and setting yet another record in the process. He also connected on all three extra points. The Cowboys haven’t needed to settle for too many field goals this year, but it sure is nice knowing they have a guy with the range that Aubrey has.
Cowboys kicker Brandon Aubrey becomes the first player in NFL history to convert the first 30 field goals of his career. He has makes of 60, 59, 50 and 45 tonight. Nothing cheap about his unprecedent performance.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) December 11, 2023
LB Tyrus Wheat
Tyrus Wheat held the same role he’s been holding for a while now, with 15 special teams snaps and nothing else. It’s telling that Wheat remains on the roster even after Hendershot was brought back to the team, and it will be interesting to see which roster spot gets cleared for the impending return of Matt Waletzko as well.