The Cowboys followed up their dominant performance in Week 1 with a similarly strong game, beating the Jets 30-10. The offense got a little more work than they did a week ago, but the defense remained elite. So which players stood out among the rest? Let’s take a look at some of the highest-graded players from the game, according to Pro Football Focus.
Dallas defense is just ridiculously good
It wasn’t a shutout, as the Jets got a field goal and a big touchdown on one broken play, but the defense continued to play lights out. Zach Wilson had nowhere to go with the football, and it’s no surprise to see the four highest-graded players from this game all come on the defensive side of the ball.
EDGE Micah Parsons - 94.4
What more can be said about Micah Parsons? He bullied the Jets time and time again, tallying six pressures, two sacks, and recovering a fumble he had just forced. Parsons is a force of nature and the Jets had no way to stop him.
NFL’s best defensive player, Micah Parsons pic.twitter.com/ytTVBhm7CF— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 17, 2023
EDGE DeMarcus Lawrence 94.4
DeMarcus Lawrence tying Micah Parsons’ player grade speaks to how good he was on Sunday. His very first play of the game was a huge run stuff, tackling Breece Hall for a loss of four. Lawrence tied Parsons for the team lead in pressures as well, though he failed to record a sack. Still, Lawrence’s game was yet another reminder of just how good he still is. And he saved what probably was a sure touchdown by tipping Zach Wilson’s pass to Garrett Wilson.
S Malik Hooker - 91.8
Malik Hooker can sometimes be a forgotten man in the backfield, as he plays the majority of his snaps as the deep safety. Against a quarterback like Zach Wilson, that means very few passes in the vicinity of Hooker. But when he did get a chance on Sunday, Hooker sprinted over to the intended target and made a pick interception.
DL Chauncey Golston - 85.4
Speaking of forgotten men, Chauncey Golston occasionally gets lost in the shuffle of a very talented defensive front. Even Dan Quinn didn’t use him that much, as Golston played on roughly a third of the defensive snaps Sunday, but he made the most of his work. Golston recorded a pressure and a run stop on the day and consistently plugged his gap in the run game, putting together a very productive day despite not playing the whole game.
Texas Coast offense makes light work of vaunted Jets defense
For how much talk there was about this Jets defense last week, after they flustered Josh Allen and the Bills and produced four takeaways, it was rather quiet on Sunday. Dak Prescott and the offense moved the ball at will, and the new Texas Coast offense is off to a very good start.
Note: rookie offensive lineman Asim Richards was technically the highest-graded offensive player with an 83.5 grade. However, given that Richards only played five offensive snaps, he’s not being included here due to sample size issues.
LT Tyron Smith - 79.3
Tyron Smith is officially back. Last week, he made his first start at left tackle since the 2021 season and looked great doing so. This week, he put up yet another great game: one pressure allowed, zero sacks, and reminding everyone how dominant of a run blocker he can be. Smith looked like his old self out there on Sunday.
WR CeeDee Lamb - 77.5
CeeDee Lamb had one of his best games as a pro on Sunday, catching 11 of his 13 targets for 143 yards, with 64 of those yards coming after the catch. He posted a ridiculous 3.76 yards per route run; for context, Tyreek Hill led all receivers last year with 3.20 yards per route run. The only thing that could’ve made Lamb’s day better was a touchdown, but he’ll have to wait at least another week.
TE Jake Ferguson - 75.2
Jake Ferguson was arguably the only Cowboy to not have a great game last week, as he had two drops on the day despite leading the team in targets. Well, he bounced back in a big way, catching three of his four passes and scoring a touchdown. The one incompletion that went his way was a pass in the back of the endzone that Dak Prescott just missed. All in all, a great performance for Ferguson, who once again did great work as a run blocker too.
RG Zack Martin - 71.1
The fact that this grade feels low for Zack Martin is a testament to just what we’ve come to expect from him. The future Hall of Famer had another great game on Sunday, routinely clearing the way in the run game and holding up well against the talented Quinnen Williams in pass protection. He did surrender a pressure, but just the one against a very tough Jets defensive line.
QB Dak Prescott - 70.4
Dak Prescott filled the box score up a little more than he did last week, but he once again didn’t really need to do too much. Prescott was getting the ball out quickly yet again, averaging 2.58 seconds per throw. He only had three attempts go more than 20 yards down the field, but Prescott hit on two of them for 45 total yards. It won’t rank among the best performances of his career, but Prescott had a good game and continues to look comfortable in this new offense.