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Fine Timing For CeeDee Lamb's Finest Moment


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – CeeDee Lamb spoke succinctly for an entire team – and an entire fanbase, probably.

"Best feeling ever, honestly," he grinned from the postgame podium inside Gillette Stadium.

It's not an exaggeration. There really isn't a better feeling in sports than winning the game at the death, as Lamb did with a 35-yard catch and run to the Patriots' end zone in overtime on Sunday night, improving the Cowboys' record to 5-1 simply by reaching the ball over the goal line.

Of course, running around your living room or roaring in the stands pale in comparison to actually making that play, which Lamb said was his first walk-off touchdown since high school.

"I was expecting someone to pop up behind me, and then there was no one within three yards to my left – it was kind of behind me," Lamb said. "I turned around and I was kind of surprised. I just walked in."

Call it the photo finish to the best night of Lamb's young career.

Because it's not as if the second-year wide out popped out of nowhere to win the game. On a night when Dak Prescott spread the ball around to eight different receivers, Lamb led the Cowboys' roster with nine catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns – all of those being career highs.

And even with all of those impressive numbers hanging in the air, it probably doesn't do justice to Lamb's contributions to one of the wildest wins in recent memory. After all, before Lamb could win the game, he had to save it.

That happened with 31 seconds to play in regulation, with Dallas trailing, 29-26, and needing at least a field goal to stay alive. An untimely holding call backed the Cowboys up – not for the first time on the day. And if that wasn't enough, Connor Williams' frustration with the flag led to a personal foul that backed Dallas up into a 3rd-and-25 from its own 40-yard line.

From there, Prescott looked to Lamb – and got 24 of those yards back, putting Greg Zuerlein into position for a game-tying field goal from 49 yards out.

"It's an all-or-nothing type deal, understanding that we were behind," Lamb said. "We were down three at the time, and for Coach Kellen to actually call my number on that route. It was, like you said, a redemption moment for myself."

The redemption moment he's referring to goes back to the season opener. Fittingly, the route Lamb ran to pick up those 24 crucial yards was the same route from the Week 1 loss in Tampa, when Prescott's pass caromed off his hands and led to a Buccaneers interception.

It would've been a momentous catch either way, but to make the play on that same route made it all the more sweet.

"I touch the ball from now on, it's definitely coming down as a catch," he said. "That's how I look at it from this point on, just motivation. Speaking to my inner self, talking to myself throughout the play, understanding what's at stake and going to play the ball."

Sunday was one of those games where the final moments wipe out whatever memory we had of the early going. It's a testament to Lamb's heroics in this game that some of his finer moments seem to pale in comparison.

Lamb made one of the better touchdown catches of his career late in the third quarter, when he beat one-on-one coverage on a fade ball to the back of the end zone. He tip-toed just inside the backline – just as he did countless times during training camp – to give the Cowboys a 17-14 lead. And somehow, it feels like an afterthought.

"It was a big game for him," Prescott said. "We went to him a bunch tonight, he made some great plays and that's what he expect out of him."

It's a good point from Prescott that it's not as if this should come as a surprise. Lamb made plenty of plays during an impressive rookie season, and he put this team on notice during a scorching hot training camp. For that matter, this is hardly his first big night in 2021.

No, in this case, it felt merely like Lamb's turn to deliver. And with a classic game on the line, did he ever.

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