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Mick Shots: By Gosh, Getting What They Deserved


FRISCO, Texas – With the Cowboys on to Seattle, and now worrying about the likes of Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf and K.J. Wright, can't resist from taking one more shot in the aftermath of Sunday's comeback victory over Atlanta.

Right at this widely-held notion that the Cowboys didn't deserve to win that game. That they got lucky. That they should be 0-2.

Excuse me! Did the Falcons deserve to win that game?

Why, Atlanta gave up 40 points.

They gave up 500 and 70 yards of total offense.

They allowed Dak Prescott to throw for 450 yards, one touchdown and run for three more.

The Falcons also had the benefit of three fumble recoveries that led to two touchdowns and a field goal, along with two more turnovers on downs by stopping Cowboys fake punts, leading to two more field goals. That's 23 of their 39 points.

Oh, and remember the Atlanta two-point conversion the Cowboys stopped when simply kicking the extra point with 5:58 left in the second quarter would have given the Falcons a 27-7 lead instead of 26-7? As it turns out, how smart was that?

No, the Cowboys evening their record at 1-1 wasn't a thing of beauty. But it sure was offensively spectacular.

Oh, and before moving on to more shots, evidently the NFL thought so, too, naming Dak the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. So cut the noise. Cowboys got just what they deserved.

  • Dang It: First the injury bug hit the offensive tackles. Now the cornerbacks. Not only has Anthony Brown been placed on injured reserve after injuring his ribs in practice late last week, now Mike McCarthy says starting left corner Chidobe Awuzie will be out "multiple weeks" with a hamstring strain. Appears he suffered the injury on the Falcons' re-kick of a field-goal attempt midway through the fourth quarter, a false start moving the ball back to the 14 for a 32-yard attempt. Awuzie came flying in from the Cowboys' far right, diving, and then doing a forward somersault when he landed, coming up grabbing his left hamstring. Now, what to do, what to do. Of course, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy isn't saying, but the team finished that last Atlanta possession (4:57 in the fourth) with Trevon Diggs playing left corner and Daryl Worley at right corner, Jordan Lewis in the slot and Darian Thompson and Xavier Woods at safety. Be interesting to see if 13th-year veteran Brandon Carr, signed to the 53-man roster on Sept. 15 from the practice squad and initially playing some safety, reverts back to his career-long cornerback spot and Worley, dabbling in some safety, back to corner. All meaning maybe some snaps for safety Donovan Wilson and for rookie Reggie Robinson to possibly be active.
  • And Then This: Unbeknownst to most, rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs did not practice on Wednesday, listed with a shoulder issue. Now, Diggs did finish the Game Sunday and was at the early portion of practice Wednesday. The rookie started against Atlanta at right corner, finished up at left corner after Awuzie went out and ended up playing all 75 snaps in the game. Sounds as though Diggs is expected to play on Sunday.
  • Special Teams Matter: We've heard all about Greg Zuerlein's "Watermelon Kick," having gone viral after the Cowboys recovered the all-important onside kick against the Falcons, the impetus for his eventual game-winning 46-yard field goal. But here is the genesis for placing the ball flat on the ground and slightly kicking the ball to spin as if a helicopter propeller. Began with the kickers just tinkering around on their own. Special teams coach John Fassel says Zuerlein probably worked on it about 50 times on his own, then twice a week for three weeks with the special teams unit. But if you can believe it, Sunday's attempt was his first of that variety in a game. All adding even more improbability to the recovery.
  • Masking Up: The NFL is serious about coaches wearing masks on the sideline. So serious that five of them have been fined $100,000 each and their teams another $250,000 for not properly wearing masks on the sidelines during Week 2. When McCarthy was asked what he thought about those coaches getting fined, he said, "It's a lot of money." As for himself having to wear a mask on the sideline during the games, McCarthy said he was a lot more comfortable the second game and is why he tries to wear his mask around The Star and during practice to get used to it as much as possible.
  • Testing Up: So far, so good with the NFL players being tested every day for COVID-19. This week's results? Why, 14,074 tests were administered to 2,438 players. Not one positive test. Remarkable.
  • Flag Flopping: Maybe these NFL players, especially the defensive backs, have been watching too much of the NBA or maybe the NHL, or probably soccer. But it's high time the NFL institutes a penalty for flopping. Veteran Rams corner Jalen Ramsey got away with one in Game 1, acting as if Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup pushed off on that 47-yard completion wiped out for offensive pass interference. Then in Game 2, Atlanta's corner Darqueze Dennard gave it his best acting shot when CeeDee Lamb broke away on a 24-yard catch on the Cowboys' final possession to get the ball to the Atlanta 30. Dennard, with minimal contact, actually went as far as to fall backwards all the way to the ground, leaving Lamb wide open. Then gets up and spreads his arms out wide, palms up, as if to say, hey, where's the flag. Should have been one. On him, 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. In hockey, that's two minutes in the sin bin.
  • Talkin' Hurst: Classy move after Sunday's game by Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst, running down Dak at the conclusion of that heartbreaking loss to give him a hug and say, while he had been mic-ed during the game, "Hey, got a lot of respect for what you came out and talked about. Me and my mom have a foundation about suicide prevention. Respect the hell out of you talking about it." Hurst referring to Dak not only talking about his bout of depression after his brother Jace committed suicide this spring, but also revealing he sought out professional help to get him through this dark period of his life.
  • Little Shots: Cowboys after two games nearly back to where they were at end of last year, the No. 2 ranked total offense and third in passing, where last year they finished first and second, respectively … And Ezekiel Elliott's 185 yards rushing rank third after two games … Uh, and guess who has the No. 1 passer rating in the NFL? You got it, Seattle's Russell Wilson with a two-game, unbelievable 140.0 on the strength of nine touchdowns passes, one interception and an 82.5 completion percentage, only nine incompletions on 63 attempts … Congrats to DeMarcus Lawrence and wife Sasha on the birth of their fourth child, the "personal matter" of why D-Law missed practice on Wednesday … And to steal T.O's phrase, Jackson State better get its popcorn ready after hiring Deion Sanders as its next head coach.

And the final word goes in honor of Gale Sayers, the Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back/return artist who passed away Wednesday at age 77. Having grown up in suburban Chicago, had the privilege of watching Sayers, the fourth pick in the 1965 NFL Draft, for his seven-year career shortened by knee injuries. He was absolutely the fastest, most elusive, long-ball hitting running back I've ever seen. No disrespect to Tony Dorsett, but that's how good he was. If you haven't done this already, do yourself a favor and watch his highlight videos, just how he ran right past defenders. A reason why, while in college at Kansas, he was nicknamed the "Kansas Comet." A true NFL treasure.