ARLINGTON, Texas – This is what it was supposed to look like.
From the time the Cowboys drafted CeeDee Lamb with the No. 17 overall pick back in April, adding him to a roster that already featured two 1,000-yard receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, this was the idea – a three-headed monster capable of taking over a game.
Sunday, at the tail end of one of the strangest seasons in franchise history, that three-headed monster sprang to life.
"We talk about it every week – that's how it's really supposed to go," said Michael Gallup afterward. "The defense doesn't know who to double up, who to put their best corner on, because it really doesn't matter."
It really didn't matter. Behind a cool 377 passing yards from Andy Dalton, every member of the Cowboys' receiving corps had a day against a hapless Eagles secondary.
Often the forgotten man among the group, it was Gallup who stole the early attention on the strength of an explosive first half. The third-year wide out abused the Eagles for 121 yards and six catches, not to mention two touchdowns, in the first half alone.
It might have been a surprise performance for some – but not the elder statesman of the Cowboys' receiver corps, Amari Cooper.
"After my first catch of the game, which was just a little 10-yard in route, Coop literally ran up to me and he was like 'This is your game,'" Gallup said.
Asked about it later, Cooper chalked it up to intuition.
"I just felt it. I just felt it in the air," he said. "I just knew that this was the game that he was going to dominate."
Nobody thought to ask Cooper about the rest of the receivers, but they probably should have. Fittingly enough, Cooper finished with the exact same tally of 121 yards, breaking free at one point for a 69-yard catch and run that helped Dallas take control of the game in the third quarter.
"We're all just doing our thing and when our number's called we're able to make a play," Lamb said.
It might be best to save Lamb for last, because he had the fewest touches – but made the biggest fireworks. The rookie caught just three passes on the day, but the final one was a nifty wheel route that saw him dust his coverage for an 52-yard, uncontested touchdown.
He then put the game on ice in style when he winded his way 19 yards on an end around for the final, 37-17 scoreline.
"We all have the potential to go out there and dominate a game, and it just feels good when we're all able to do it in the same game, like I alluded to earlier in the season," Cooper said.
It's not necessarily anyone's fault that these performances have been hard to come by in 2020. The Cowboys have been ravaged by injuries at quarterback and along the offensive line – two position groups that wide receivers depend on to succeed.
Even still, it's remarkable what this trio has achieved despite those setbacks. Cooper's big day put him over 1,000 yards for the fifth time in his career, while Lamb now sits just 111 yards shy of Bob Hayes' mark of 1,003 – the franchise receiving record for a rookie.
Gallup joked that, after putting in so much work before halftime, it was fun to watch his teammates work toward those milestones.
"CeeDee and Amari Cooper are closer to 1,000 yards than I am, so I'm hoping they get all the catches they need to get to 1,000 yards," he said. "I love seeing that. Amari Cooper was streaking down the field, CeeDee was streaking down the field. It's just fun to watch."
That's the other aspect that makes this so fun. It's normal for football players to bond with their teammates, but there certainly does seem to be a chemistry among this group.
Asked about that, Cooper said he thinks it's simply a matter of appreciating each other's abilities – and wanting to share them with the world.
"I understand that those talents aren't easy to come by – everybody can't do those things," he said. "And the purpose of you having that talent in the NFL is to go out and show it on game day. And so when we see each other do our thing on game day, it's just us appreciating the talent."
Clearly, Sunday didn't show anything that wasn't already known. All three of these Cowboys' receivers have had amazing moments at various times this season. When Dak Prescott was still their quarterback, they even showed flashes of doing it together.
Given the ups, downs and turmoil of this season, it's understandable if that feels like a distant memory. That's also why, having seen them show it again here at the end of the year, it's understandable to be excited about their future.
It sure seems like they are.
"I think the more we just practice with each other and just kind of get accustomed to the offensive system that we're running here, I think we can go out there and do amazing things," Cooper said.