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Gamebreakers: Top Cowboys who shrunk the Giants


(Editor's note: The content provided is based on opinions and/or perspective of the editorial staff and not the Cowboys football staff or organization.)

ARLINGTON, TX — It was a bounce back game of monumental proportions for the Dallas Cowboys, who were looking to wash the sour taste from their mouths following narrow loss to their other divisional rival, the Philadelphia Eagles in the week prior.

The New York Giants were spiraling heading into Week 10 and, unfortunately for them, they ran right into a buzzsaw at AT&T Stadium. Dak Prescott was nearly unstoppable in the air and added some damage with his legs as well. Aiding his cause was Brandin Cooks and CeeDee Lamb, who combined for nearly 325 receiving yards and two touchdowns on the day.

It was a mauling of the Giants, and a list of Cowboys took center stage.

Dak Prescott, QB: Talk about wheeling AND dealing. Prescott was, yet again, making the opposing defense pay with a surgical showing in the air complemented by a timely attack with his legs. He overcame his one mistake in the first half, an interception to Cor'Dale Flott, by torching the Giants at every possible opportunity en route to a 28-0 lead … at halftime … with CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks helping him do the heavy lifting on Sunday against Big Blue. He finished with 404 passing yards (season-high) and five touchdowns to only one interception (138.3 rating).

Brandin Cooks, WR: Earlier in the week, Cooks told the media "it's coming", and the next question for the veteran wideout is, well, what are the winning Powerball numbers? He not only predicted his season-best game with insane accuracy, but it's also the fashion in which he delivered it that has to have opened a lot of eyes around the league. Cooks went off for 104 yards and a touchdown before the first two quarters were complete — announcing himself as a true weapon in the Texas Coast offense, finishing with the second-highest single game tally of his career (173 yards).

CeeDee Lamb, WR: Once again, Lamb has shown he is not a human being when he steps in-between the lines for the Cowboys. No, he didn't deliver his third consecutive career-best outing this time around, but he was absolutely one of the biggest impact-makers against the Giants, and one need look no further than his highlight one-handed grab or how he caught what was nearly a throwaway by Prescott toward the end of the second quarter (that drive ended in a TD to Cooks) to continue his consistently elite stretch of play; and that meant another 140+ yard game. Better still, having passed the 150-yard mark yet again, he set the franchise's all-time record for most 10-catch, 150-yard games in a single season. Yes indeed, this Lamb is rare.

Michael Gallup, WR: The last several targets to Gallup, over the past two outings, have been meaningful. He suffered a drop early against the Eagles but bounced back with two critical possession grabs that helped keep the Cowboys' offense going and, against the Giants, he put his explosiveness back at center stage. With the Cowboys having a chance to drive the nail deeper into the lid of the coffin, Prescott dropped back and threw a bullseye down the right sideline deep to Gallup, who had a defender draped on him, and it turned into one of the best catches on a day that was not lacking for any by Dallas.

Jake Ferguson, TE: It was a rough start for the tight ends, but Ferguson righted the ship fairly swiftly for Prescott and the Cowboys. He's become the definitive TE1 in Dallas and after a drop by Schoonmaker and one at his own expense, the second-year talent shook it off like a Taylor Swift record (sorry, Travis) and delivered one of the four touchdowns early on to demoralize the Giants. It wasn't his best game statistically, but it also didn't have to be.

Rico Dowdle, RB: Well, well, well … what do we have here? Is that the Cowboys' rushing attack I saw having its way with an opposing defense? Why yes, yes it was. After weeks of trying to establish the run, mostly unsuccessfully, Dowdle's explosiveness — along with Prescott's success in the passing attack — put the Giants on their heels and helped the Cowboys' offensive line create lanes for both running backs to succeed time and again. This is how Dallas expects the tandem to look going forward, having shown flashes of it in weeks prior before stringing it all together in Week 10.

Tony Pollard, RB: And it couldn't have been strung together without the assistance of Pollard, who did plenty of the heavy lifting against the Giants. Pollard and Dowdle combined for more than 100 yards rushing in the first half alone, nearly splitting the production down the middle, and there wasn't much the battered and beaten opposition could do about it. Pollard looked explosive in his own right, and that bodes very well going forward.

DeMarcus Lawrence, DE: Leaders are gonna lead, and that's exactly what Lawrence continues to do in his Cowboys' career. He made it a point of noting the defense needed to handle it's business against the undrafted rookie quarterback, and he made sure they did exactly that. Lawrence was stellar in both run defense and in disruptions on passing plays, his sack on DeVito at the top of the third quarter marking the second in as many plays (four to that point alone). It was a full Tank on Sunday.

Dante Fowler, DE: One of the aforementioned sacks were at the hands of Fowler and, more specifically, it was the one that directly preceded Lawrence's to open the second half. It wasn't the only time the former put his imprint on the game, nearly delivering a safety on the first offensive possession by the Giants as they tried to operate from the one-yard line. Fowler is a key reason the Cowboys' defensive line depth is arguably the best in the league.

Sam Williams, DE: It feels as if I'm mentioning Williams' name more and more as the weeks roll along, and I'm perfectly fine with that when considering why that is the case. The second-year pass rusher has come on insanely strong over the past three games, and that includes being named special teams captain in Week 9 after a blocked punt in Week 8. In Week 10, Williams was at it again, but this time for the defense, as he was in Philly also, taking down Tommy DeVito for a sack and being one of the leaders in tackles.

Mazi Smith, DL: Hello there, Mazi. It's been a season of learning for the rookie first-round pick, as he gets his NFL bearings behind Johnathan Hankins and Neville Gallimore. It's led some outside of the organization to question the pick, but those individuals were muted during the contest against the Giants. That's because, on two consecutive rushing attempts by All-Pro running back Saquon Barkley, Smith met him at the line of scrimmage to hold him to a one-yard gain and then punish him with a three-yard loss, respectively. It's a flash of what's likely to come for the former Wolverine.

Neville Gallimore + Dorance Armstrong: On an afternoon/evening that saw the Cowboys tee off on DeVito as if was never sunny in Philadelphia, Gallimore was present and accounted for both as a run stopper and as a pass rusher. His play helped to rattle DeVito early, while Armstrong helped to continue that pattern late, both adding sacks to their bottom line in Week 10. The goal entering the contest was to delete Barkley, get a large lead and force the rookie to be the hero. It worked to perfection, because DeVito was anything but Cinderella. The shoe didn't fit, but the sacks did.

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