After beating the New York Giants last week 40-0, and the New York Jets this week by a score of 30-10, the Dallas Cowboys are the Kings of New York. A dominant defense once again hassled the opposing quarterback and forced multiple turnovers. Meanwhile, the offense did what it needed to stay on schedule, play ahead of the opposition, and control the clock.
The Cowboys outgained the Jets in yards from scrimmage by a margin of 167 yards, and time of possession was in favor of the Cowboys, with Dallas possessing the ball for 42 minutes. Zach Wilson struggled to find consistency, resulting in another terrific performance by the Cowboys defense. Aside from their offensive troubles in the red zone, the Cowboys played near flawlessly in all phases. Their stars led the way, and they are our three stars of the game.
Honorable mention: Brandon Aubrey
The Cowboys did have difficulties in the red zone and struggled to punch it in the end zone. Thankfully, Brandon Aubrey capitalized where the offense couldn’t. Aubrey made all his field goal attempts, going a perfect five-for-five. His longest conversion came from 55 yards out and was beautiful. Aubrey split the uprights with a kick that might have been good from sixty yards. More importantly, he made all of his kicks with no doubt.
He accounted for 16 points by himself to outscore New York. He also ensured the special teams unit had a leisurely day on kickoff coverage. The New York Jets had zero kickoff return yards, as all eight of Aubrey’s kickoffs went into the end zone for a touchback. With each passing week, Aubrey gains more and more from the coaching staff, so their trust seems well-invested.
Dak Prescott’s numbers, while very good, aren’t a complete barometer of how good Prescott was against the Jets. The Jets are an excellent defense in their own right and made Josh Allen look silly last week. Prescott kept his cool against a Jets defensive front that provided some pressure. Prescott didn’t try to force the ball and put the offense at risk. He felt the rush, got the ball out of his hands quickly, and took what the Jets were willing to offer.
From the opening drive, Prescott was in command. Prescott completed his first thirteen passes for a new personal best. A prime example of his calm under pressure came on a 3rd and 14, where he scrambled to the right from the pocket, kept his eyes down the field, and delivered a strike to CeeDee Lamb for a first down. A big reason why the Cowboys were able to control the game the way they did was because of how Prescott played on the money downs. Prescott completed eight of his ten pass attempts on third down at one point. The most important statistic for Prescott is zero turnovers. Prescott is doing his part to play complementary football aided by a supreme defense on the other side of the ball.
Speaking of the defense, there aren’t words in the English language that describe entirely how impactful Micah Parsons is. His ability to play anywhere along the defensive front creates confusion for offenses and dismantles offensive line protections. Parsons had his choice of what matchup he wanted to exploit, and with his sheer athleticism, he was unblockable.
On one particular play, Parsons lined up over the Jets’ center and outclassed him with his elite speed agility, bending around the center’s reach, chasing Wilson out of the pocket, and forcing Wilson into making an ill-advised interception to Jayron Kearse. While playing on the edge, he made Duane Brown, a once premier offensive tackle, look silly on several occasions. Parsons would bend around and close in on Wilson with tremendous speed.
He was as impactful in stopping the run. In addition to his two sacks and numerous quarterback pressures, Parsons had three tackles for loss. The highlight of his day was forcing a fumble against Dalvin Cook. Parsons trailed the outside the run to Cook and ripped the ball from Cook. Parsons, playing with a tremendous football IQ, recovered the loose ball and shook Allen Lazard to the ground on his way to the end zone for what would have been a touchdown had he not been ruled down by contact. In a microcosm, that is what makes Parsons so special. He’s a relentless force and a lion that lives for the hunt.
As stated, the Cowboys’ offense could have been more effective. The Jets contained the Cowboys’ running game exceptionally well and held the Cowboys to a mere three yards per carry. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, the Jets front seven is really good, so Dallas had to rely on the passing game to sustain drives. Also, playing without Brandin Cooks, who was held out of Sunday’s game with a knee injury, the passing game needed CeeDee Lamb to be at his absolute best. He was that.
Few NFL receivers are as well-rounded as Lamb and have the ability to line up in several areas. The unpredictability of where Lamb would be on a given play made it difficult for the Jets to cover him. Lamb is among the elite class of route runners, but when he’s playing from the slot, he’s nearly unguardable and almost impossible to defend. Playing from the slot, Lamb made one tough catch after another in tightly contested areas and took many big hits to secure the catch.
On the day, Dak Prescott targeted Lamb thirteen times, with Lamb catching eleven of those passes for 143 yards. The second leading receiver for Dallas was Tony Pollard, with 36 yards. It was clear that Lamb would be the focal point of the Cowboys’ aerial attack and offensive game plan. There was simply nothing the Jets could do about it.