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Hankins has best pass rush performance since 2014


ARLINGTON, TX — It's a day owned by DaRon Bland, who set the NFL all-time record for most pick-sixes in a single season, and rightfully so. That said, quiet as it might be kept, Johnathan Hankins had a fairly large (no pun intended, OK maybe a little pun intended) day himself, on a Thanksgiving that saw the Dallas Cowboys turn the Washington Commanders into their latest victim at AT&T Stadium.

Hankins delivered two sacks for the Cowboys on Thursday afternoon, and here's what's key to remember: he's a nose tackle who stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs roughly 320 pounds. 

Let that soak in for a minute.

"It feels amazing," said a smiling Hankins after the game. "It just goes to show you how much work I've put in, and I'm thankful." 

True to his position, though, he couldn't wait to get home and get to the holiday food, having used Sam Howell as a pre-meal snack in Arlington. 

"Today is Thanksgiving," he said. "And now I get a chance to actually eat so it's gonna be a good night," 

It's the first time Hankins has registered a multi-sack game in nearly nine years, for added perspective of just how dominant he was as a pass rusher on Thanksgiving and not simply a high-end run stopper who eats up double teams and clogs rushing lanes. 

The last time he racked up more than one sack was on December 14, 2014 against, guess who, the Washington Commanders — who went by a different name at the time. 

Maybe time really is a flat circle, after all.

Hankins' contributions helped lift the Cowboys to a 13-game win streak at home and their point differential to a mind-bending 205-60 which, in any context, is outright insanity.

"It's always huge to win at home, to defend at home, and it's all a part of the process," said Hankins. "Every game is important. Can't ever look past one game or one team."

If he continues to play as well as he has been in run defense and also begins contributing to the category of sacks, quarterback hits and pressures, it will take an already monstrous Cowboys' defensive line to new levels of bedlam.

They might have to start passing out straightjackets for home games, at this point.

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