The final week of the regular season has been an interesting one for the Dallas Cowboys in the two years prior to Sunday. Entering the matchup in 2021, both the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles were locked into their respective playoff positions (Dallas as the #3 seed, Philly as the #7) and had nothing to play for in terms of playoff improvement. The Cowboys chased a few records, got them and felt strong going into a postseason that they were bounced from right away.
Last year was similar to this one in that the Cowboys and Eagles had eyes on scoreboards with one needing the other to lose in order to open the door of opportunity. Like Philly failed to stumble then, the Cowboys also took care of business, albeit in much more firm and doubt-free fashion.
Sure, things were a little tense early against the Washington Commanders. But the Cowboys did not blink and before we could the scoreboard basically read “NFC East Champions, holders of the #2 seed” and focus shifted towards what wound up being the Green Bay Packers.
Ultimately Sunday was a clinic and our stock report reflects that.
Stock Up: Tony Pollard
As the game unfolded it seemed this was the best that Tony Pollard had looked and played all season. It certainly felt that way.
Sunday was only the third time in his entire career that Pollard averaged at least 4.1 YPC with a minimum of 17 carries (Arizona earlier this season, Green Bay last season). His touchdown capped off an impressive drive for him that made us all dream and wonder about a playoff run with this version of him in it.
Stock Up: Damone Clark
Things were a little tense early in this game for the Cowboys and particularly so because the Commanders were clearly letting it all go with nothing to play for. There were all sorts of trick plays and fourth-down attempts that looked like they could make us pull our hair out before game’s end.
It was on one fourth-down attempt in particular that Damone Clark had clearly had enough. He broke through, and while he did not make the final tackle himself, he created enough chaos and confusion to where he bought the cavalry time to get home and provide the needed stop.
The Cowboys run defense has obviously been a bit untrustworthy (being kind) as of late so if Clark can help stabilize things then all is well.
Stock Up: Jalen Tolbert
We know the big names as far as Dallas Cowboys pass-catchers are concerned, but sometimes you find yourself in a pinch and need someone else to make a play. Early in the game on Sunday that someone else was Jalen Tolbert.
So happy for Jalen Tolbert! pic.twitter.com/VOT0xuwLrS— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) January 7, 2024
We do not want to make a big deal out of one moment, but this was a moment where Dak Prescott needed to have a high level of trust in someone. That trust was placed in Jalen Tolbert and we are entering the point of the season where that kind of trust could play a critical role.
Stock Up: Jourdan Lewis
We agree that this is the best that Jourdan Lewis has ever played for the Cowboys, right? My goodness.
It isn’t just the fumble he caused or the interception against Detroit, that Lewis has been the nickel corner that this team needed after the domino effect of Trevon Diggs’ injury speaks to what a great player he is, especially returning from the injury that he had halfway through last season.
Stock Up: Donovan Wilson
Big players make big plays. Hello Donovan Wilson.
We will need more of those over the course of the next month.
Stock Up: CeeDee Lamb
CeeDee Lamb has taken up permanent residency in the Stock Report as well as atop basically every receiving mark in the NFL. He is so incredibly special.
At some point take a minute to reflect on the fact that we have just seen the greatest season that any Dallas Cowboys wide receiver has ever had. He is the most dangerous and reliable skill player that this team has had in a very long time and the margin might be wider than we even think based on just how great he is playing.
Stock Up: Dak Prescott
This is just my own personal and humble opinion... but this is a top 5 all-time touchdown for Dak Prescott’s career.
It has been said before that things seem to have clicked for Prescott above the shoulders in ways that happened far too late than we would have liked for his predecessor. Dak has the perfect marriage of mental prowess and physical ability to make special plays and when you add in talented players for him to get the ball to then things are exacerbated all the more.
We have seen elite football from Dak Prescott before but this is easily the closest to the sun that he has ever flown. That is what makes the playoffs being here so exciting.
Stock Up: Peyton Hendershot
You make the stock report if you block a punt.
I do not make the rules.
Stock Up: Brandin Cooks
We have given proper praise to CeeDee Lamb, but Brandin Cooks has had such a special and needed role on this team.
While Cooks did not reach 1,000 receiving yards in his first season with the Cowboys he did haul in eight touchdowns which is tied for the second-most of his career. It is Cooks’ first season with at least eight touchdowns since 2016 when he was a part of the New Orleans Saints.
Consider that even in a season where Lamb is having what we defined to be the best season that any Cowboys wide receiver has ever had, that there have still been many moments where someone else has had to make a proper play. Brandin Cooks, thankfully, is that someone else.
Stock Up: DaRon Bland
He led the NFL in interceptions - number nine came on Sunday - after being thrust into a role that he did not prepare for when Diggs went down. What a talent. What a find. What a story.