ARLINGTON, Texas — When you look at the 2023 season so far for the Dallas Cowboys defense, you'll see pure domination in three games. In one game, you see what can now be called an aberration in Arizona in week three where the Cowboys gave up almost as many rushing yards (222) in four quarters as they have in all other contests (225).
Even though Micah Parsons was held out of the sack column for the first time this season, he was elated postgame in evaluating the ability to rebound that his defense showed against New England.
"It's all about the bounce back," Parsons said. "It's not about when they hit you in the face, it's about the adversity in coming back after. That's what chooses champions. Anyone can come in and win games, but facing adversity – when you look at a man in the face and say 'are we gonna get better?' It's what makes champions."
In the week leading up to Sunday, the preparation re-centered to a hyperfocus that Parsons took upon himself during the week, but he knew he wasn't alone in doing that on the defensive side.
"That was one thing about this team," he said. "There was nothing that anyone had to stand up and say. We all came in and said, 'That wasn't acceptable.' We all knew that wasn't us. We said we would come out here and dominate and that's what we did."
The dominance forced Bill Belichick to pull his starting quarterback, Mac Jones, in the third quarter after turning the ball over three times including two that ended up being defensive touchdowns. When the defense saw the white flag get waved, it was a clear feeling of joy.
"Any time you get a guy out of his rhythm and feel like he can't get going, it's always some right things going on," he said. "New England is a great team. I'm glad we were just able to bounce back and get this train rolling because we got a tough team next week."
Looking forward with the experience of the last seven days behind them, Parsons knows what this defense is capable of, not because of what they've shown when they performed to their standard, but because of how they responded when they didn't.
"The sky is the limit," Parsons said. "This shows that when we prepare and come into games with our energy with who we are, we can be a dominant football team. When we come out soft and underestimate guys and don't play to our standard, anything can happen. I know we have a great chance of winning football games if we play together."