Two games against NFL teams from New York, or rather New Jersey, amounted to two wins for the Dallas Cowboys by a combined score of 70-10 – 40-0 against the Giants in week one and 30 -10 against the Jets. in Week 2. Dallas’ dominant start to two games makes it look rare, as only the third team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to score 70 points or more and allow just 10 points or fewer in of his first two matches of a season. . The other two teams are the 1970 Detroit Lions and the 2019 New England Patriots.
In Week 2, Cowboys two-time first-team All-Pro linebacker Micah Parsons and the Dallas defense played again, CeeDee Lamb stuffed the stat sheet, and the offense couldn’t finish in the red zone. Here’s a look at some of the biggest storylines from the Cowboys’ second win in two weeks and whether or not they’re overreactions.
The Cowboys look like the best team in the NFL
Overreaction or reality: Reality
Dallas leads the NFL in points scored (70), points allowed (10), point differential (+60), giveaways (zero), takeaways (seven), turnover margin (plus seven), total yards per game allowed (193.0), yards per play allowed (3.5), red zone touchdown percentage allowed (zero percent), sacks (10, tied with the commanders ), quarterback pressure rate (63.6%), and passer rating allowed (34.2).
Even though they faced two struggling teams, the Jets (offense) and the Giants (offense and defense), they did more than just beat them: they crushed them.
“It’s extremely fun,” Parsons said after the game Sunday. “When you play great, balanced football, special teams on offense and defense, it’s extremely fun. We have so much fun with this group. I think everyone knew this group would be special. You don’t realize how special yet, but we show it.
Cowboys Pro Bowl cornerback Trevon Diggs revealed that Dallas believes no other team in the league can actually beat them if they play a clean ball game.
“If we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot, no one can beat us,” Diggs said after the game Sunday.
Sure, there are 15 games left in the regular season, but based on the results so far, it’s hard to argue with Diggs.
Parsons is Defensive Player of the Year and deserves MVP consideration
Overreaction or reality: Reality
Parsons was a finalist for the 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season. This year he is coming for first place.
“When I talk about Defensive Player of the Year, I don’t think about the award,” Parsons said after the game Sunday. “I look at it and say, ‘I want to be the best player in the NFL.’ So whatever happens, I don’t think I’ll just call myself a defensive player. I think I’m a very valuable player.”
Parsons had what was perhaps his most dominant outing in the Cowboys’ 30-10 defensive deconstruction against the Jets. He finished with two sacks, six quarterback pressures, three tackles for loss, a forced fumble on Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook and a fumble recovery. Parsons also nearly came away with a touchdown on that play, but replay review revealed Jets guard Laken Tomlinson touching him as he recovered the ball on the AT&T Stadium turf.
“I’ve been telling the guys all year: alone in the back, grouped alongside you, whether it’s moving or whatever, how they try to represent it and make it look, you know, it’s always 70% Chances are it’s a crack pitch,’” Parsons says. “I immediately read the play and came over to see the play. He tried to find a way to get away from me. So I kind of caught the ball because he exposed. I thought where I catch one and I get up., do what I do and get in the end zone. So, you know, it’s kind of like that.
His explosion off the line of scrimmage (0.57 seconds per pass) against the Jets while rushing the passer ranked as the NFL’s fastest for a single game played since the start of the 2022 season, according to Next Gen Stats. Parsons leads the entire NFL so far this season with a 21.8% quarterback pressure rate among players who have rushed the passer at least 40 times.
“He’s special,” Cowboys cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and 12-year NFL veteran, said of Parsons’ postgame Sunday. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Through two games in 2023, Parsons’ 12 quarterback pressures are second in the league behind Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson’s 13, and his three sacks are tied for second in the NFL , behind only Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter’s four. . If he can maintain his hard play as both a run defender and passer while continuing to generate takeaways, Parsons will come away from this season with plenty of hardware. If he wins the MVP award, he would be the first defender to do so since Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker and New York Giants legend Lawrence Taylor.
Dallas’ red zone offense is broken
Overreaction or reality: Overreaction
The good news about Dallas’ red zone offense is that rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey is as reliable as they come. He was literally perfect on Sunday with 16 points – five baskets and an extra point. His five field goals are tied for the third-most in a single game in team history. Aubrey is the first Cowboys kicker with five field goals in a game since Dan Bailey made five in a 37-36 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 15 of the 2013 season.
The bad news is he had to spread four of those makes over two-thirds of the Cowboys’ six red zone drives on Sunday. Dallas’ 50% red zone touchdown rate this season through two games is tied for 21st in the NFL. However, this is no reason to panic in the future, for several reasons. The first is that Dallas was without No. 2 receiver Brandin Cooks on Sunday due to a knee injury, which allowed the Jets defense to focus on CeeDee Lamb, limiting quarterback Dak Prescott’s options near from the end zone. Second, head coach Mike McCarthy became more conservative in his playmaking decisions as the Cowboys’ lead continued to grow, which could limit touchdown opportunities. However, this allowed Dallas to continue playing turnover-free football for two weeks.
With a healthy lineup and in a closer game, the Cowboys will most certainly open up the red zone playbook.
Cowboys passing game will remain one-dimensional CeeDee Lamb Show in 2023
Overreaction or reality: Overreaction
Dallas Cowboys 2022 Second Team All-Pro Wide Receiver CeeDee Lamb is one of the best wideouts in the NFL. A year ago, without a clear No. 2 pass-catching option, he totaled a career-high 107 catches, 1,359 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. Those 107 catches were 50 more than the 57 of the closest Cowboy, tight end Dalton Schultz. This led Lamb to account for 30% of Dallas’ team’s receptions in 2022, the second-highest rate in the NFL behind the Miami Dolphins All-Pro. Tyreek Hill’s 32% rate.
Through two games in 2023, a rainy game (Week 1 vs. the Giants) and one in which new No. 2 receiver Brandin Cooks missed with a knee injury (Week 2 vs. the Jets), Lamb is at 15 catches and 220 yards in 2023. Eleven of his catches and 143 of his yards this season came on Sunday. His season totals make Lamb the only NFL player to account for more than half (55.3%) of his team’s receiving yards in 2023. Running back Tony Pollard’s 49 receiving yards are currently second highest total in Dallas.
That number certainly won’t last for 17 games, and it’s unlikely to hit the 30% mark in 2023 once Cooks returns and the Cowboys enter more competitive contests where throwing the football is necessary, because it will create more opportunities for others. However, Lamb will remain Dak Prescott’s first option.
“Eighty-eight is one of the best in the game, and he’s going to continue to improve and show it week in and week out,” Prescott said of Lamb after the game on Sunday.