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Micah Parsons Channels D-Ware, Sparks Defense


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — DeMarcus Ware's preseason pass-rush tips for Micah Parsons must have paid off.

They certainly haven't hurt.

Because the Cowboys rookie linebacker did his best D-Ware impression Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, tying the likely future Hall of Famer's 2005 franchise rookie record for sacks (8.0) in as part of a valiant defensive effort against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

"I thought we played great defense," Parsons said after the 19-9 loss dropped Dallas to 7-3 on the season. "That team can give you 45-50 (points) on any given day. To hold their offense under 20 points, we definitely did the job. It's good, but it's not good enough."

The Cowboys' offense produced single-digit points for the first time all season and either punted or turned the ball over on nine of 12 drives. It was uncharacteristic, to say the least, for the NFL's top-scoring offense that was playing without starting left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) and wide receiver Amari Cooper (Reserve/COVID-19 list).

Parsons and the defense did their best to keep them in the game.

He had two sacks on the ever-elusive Mahomes, including a strip-sack forced fumble late in the first half that gave the ball back to the Cowboys at the Kansas City 42-yard line.

Working off the left edge, Parsons beat offensive lineman Andrew Wylie to the outside and sacked Mahomes from behind, knocking the ball loose.

The All-Pro quarterback came away impressed.

"He's a special player," Mahomes said. "I mean, to be that good of a linebacker and be able to play defensive end, there's not a lot of guys like that in this league. He has a high motor. He chased me down on that sack, the strip sack, and the whole game he was in there the whole time battling and battling."

The Cowboys' offense couldn't cash in, though. Quarterback Dak Prescott's pass to the end zone was picked off by Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward with 15 seconds before halftime. It was a microcosm of the entire game.

Yet, Parsons' rookie sack milestone is remarkable for a couple reasons: There are still 10 games left in the season, and he hasn't even been a full-time pass rusher.

In fact, prior to Sunday, Parsons had only been a rusher-first in two of the Cowboys' first nine games — Weeks 2-3 against the Chargers and Eagles — and the switch from linebacker was mostly out of necessity. The Cowboys were playing without starting defensive ends Randy Gregory (Reserve/COVID-19) and DeMarcus Lawrence (foot) against the Chargers, and without Lawrence and key rotation end Dorance Armstrong (ankle) against Philly.

Lawrence (foot) and Gregory (calf strain) are currently both on IR, which prompted the coaching staff to move Parsons back to a rusher role.

Would the 12th overall draft pick prefer to chase quarterbacks full time?

"No, man. That just limits to what I can do, Parsons said. "When I need to play sideline-to-sideline linebacker, hawking receivers and you guys be like, 'Why would you move him to end?'

"I think Q (defensive coordinator Dan Quinn) and (linebackers) coach George (Edwards) and AD (defensive line coach Aden Durde) are doing a really good job of moving me around, letting me play to my strengths, knowing what games to play me at end and games to play me at linebacker. And I'm just happy they drafted me with a plan."

Parsons' plan: "get more and more hungry every week."

"Those are great milestones to reach, but there's so much out there that I've got to reach," he said.

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