INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The lion's always hungry, even if he's hurting.
Micah Parsons, the seemingly indestructible Dallas Cowboys All-Pro linebacker, showed moments of vulnerability in Sunday's 22-10 road win over the Los Angeles Rams. Bothered by groin tightness that occurred at some point in the first half, Parsons limped to the locker room at halftime and wasn't a full-time participant at the start of the third quarter, getting taped up and riding an exercise bike on the sideline to try to stay loose.
"There's nothing I wouldn't do to get out there on that field," he said.
The injury didn't keep him out long.
Parsons eventually rejoined the lineup and helped the defense complete their fifth straight dominant performance, holding quarterback Matthew Stafford and the defending Super Bowl champion Rams offense to a single touchdown to help the Cowboys improve to 4-1.
The ferocious Dallas pass rush sacked Stafford five times and hit him 11 more. Parsons broke a two-game sack drought with two sacks, both in the second half.
The first sack wrecked a promising Rams drive inside Cowboys territory trailing 19-10. The second was a sack/forced fumble recovered by rookie Sam Williams with 1:31 left, sealing the Cowboys' fourth straight win.
Parsons increased his team lead to six sacks on the season, giving him 19 career sacks so far -- the second-most through a player's first 21 games, trailing only the L.A. Chargers' Joey Bosa (21.0). Just as important, Parsons was credited with three quarterback hits that affected Stafford's throws. Constant pressure from the linebacker and edge spots continued to create opportunities for others.
The Cowboys defense is feeding off each other's energy, speed and effort -- "a beautiful thing," defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said.
"One thing we preach to each other is we work so hard throughout the week making sure we're locked in on our details," said Lawrence, who set the tone with a fumble recovery for a touchdown on the third play from scrimmage. "Now it's time to come out here and party. That's what we did today. We came out here and partied."
And, as usual, Parsons was right in the middle of it, once again showing he's one of the league's premier defenders. Sunday provided a showcase of top pass rushers: Parsons and Rams future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald.
"I think it's a battle. If you want to be the best rusher, there's only one best rusher in the league," Parsons said. "To me, it's a competition between me and him no matter what. Even with the respect, I want to potentially be the best player in this league. So, with Aaron taking the cake right now, I'm just pushing. I'm climbing."