ARLINGTON, Texas – Of all the adjustments a rookie must make to the NFL, this one might be the hardest.
As Sunday's 49-38 loss to Cleveland wound down to its close, it was hard not to think about CeeDee Lamb's prior expectations. The Cowboys' first-round draft pick landed in Dallas from Oklahoma, where the Sooners racked up a 36-6 record during his time there.
So in the midst of this bizarre opening quarter to the 2020 season, Lamb has already experienced half as many defeats as he did during his entire college career.
"It's a tough pill to swallow," Lamb said. "The first three games that we've lost have all been on us. It's been tough on myself. I'm tough on myself. I'm never really satisfied."
That quote speaks volumes to Lamb's maturity, because it's not as if the rookie receiver is the Cowboys' problem.
Even despite all the hype surrounding his selection, it's probably fair to say Lamb is exceeding the expectations. On Sunday, he added to an already sterling start by hauling in five catches for 79 yards. Most importantly, he scored two touchdowns – the first scores of his professional career.
"Definitely a great feeling to get back into the end zone – yet again in Dallas," he said. "But for the first time in my NFL career, it's definitely a cherishable moment."
When Lamb caught his first one, there was plenty of reason to think the Cowboys were off to the start of a nice day at the office. Tearing upfield out of the slot, he split the Browns' safeties and was all by himself, waiting idly for Dak Prescott's 43-yard touchdown pass.
"The ball definitely felt like it was in the air for a long time, just looking at it," he said. "But when it came down, just make sure you bring it in."
It was the lone box waiting to be checked during this first month of the season. To date, Lamb has caught 21 passes for 309 yards – but he had been held out of the end zone prior to Sunday.
"He's continuing to grow, and he's going to continue to get better," Prescott said. "I've raved about CeeDee since training camp, so it's no surprise when he comes out and he has a game like he did."
The only problem is the result. Prescott said during his media session that he'd give all the stats back for a better record, and Lamb probably agrees. Like most everyone else on the roster, he said the Cowboys need to find a way to play better earlier in games.
But even if he's not used to losing, Lamb doesn't sound likely to let it get the best of him. For a guy who has only been in the league for a few months, the Cowboys' newest playmaker seems to have a solid understanding of how it works.
"Obviously we didn't get the job done. But man, it's a long season," he said. "A lot of people will say it, but it goes to 17 games and we're only at Game 4. Lot of things to turn around. We can only focus on the next opponent and take care of our division."
The Cowboys are back at AT&T Stadium next Sunday, October 11th to take on their rivals, the New York Giants. A limited number of tickets are on sale now. Get yours now before they sell out!
Details on all of the health and safety procedures you can expect at AT&T Stadium this season can be viewed at www.DallasCowboys.com/safestadium.