FRISCO, Texas — Going into the week ten matchup against the New York Giants, the noise around Brandin Cooks and his lack of production in the Dallas Cowboys offense up to that point had grown to a deafening noise.
Only 17 receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns in seven games had created a buzz in the fanbase and the media about what exactly he was capable of doing in the Cowboys offense.
"I'm just gonna keep trusting it," Cooks said leading into that week ten matchup. "That's just who I am. In my mind, it's about getting back to work and work harder. When it comes, it's gonna come. And I mean that, I really do."
And trusting it, he did. And come, it was.
Cooks exploded with nine receptions for 173 yards and one touchdown in one of the bigger games of his career against the Giants at AT&T Stadium that day, and since then, he has proved to be one of Dak Prescott's most reliable weapons in the Texas Coast offense.
In the eight games since Cooks took those questions about his production, he has put together 31 receptions for 453 yards and five touchdowns – proving his worth when the Cowboys sent a fifth and sixth-round draft pick to the Houston Texans to acquire his services over the offseason.
That has culminated here at the end of the regular season with back-to-back weeks that have seen Cooks help put together a late scoring drive for Dak Prescott and the offense to take the lead.
In Miami, it was a 3rd & Goal corner route that saw Cooks go in between two defenders, including perennial All-Pro Jalen Ramsey, and come down with one of his tougher catches of the season to help give Dallas a one-point advantage late – although the defense would squander that lead on Miami's final drive.
However, against Detroit, Cooks was able to lay claim on the game-winning drive when, with 10:25 to go and Dallas facing a 13-10 deficit, he went up and hauled in an over-the-shoulder grab along the sideline that had only a 34.3-percent completion probability, according to Next Gen Stats. He slapped two feet in the turf in bounds and kept the Dallas drive going. Had he not hauled it in, Dallas' drive would have stalled out once again, forcing another Bryan Anger punt.
Later in the drive, Cooks would finish the job with another corner route in the back of the end zone that saw him create just enough separation to haul in a perfectly placed ball from Dak Prescott to help give the lead back to Dallas…for good.
"That's who he's been from the time he's shown up," Prescott said postgame. "I would be remiss if I didn't give some credit to Brandin Cooks. That's who Brandin is, Mr. Consistent. He's consistent in his attitude each and every day, consistent in his work ethic, consistent in taking care of his body. All of that translates to him making plays on the field when the time is needed and making big time catches."
For every time Dak Prescott has had a dish to throw his way since that week ten rhetoric buzzed around The Star, Cooks has delivered five-star courses each time. In a season that has seen the offense grow into its own as time has gone on, it felt like it happened almost overnight with Cooks on that November afternoon.
But for him, it's just another example of his own attitude and his own belief that things would eventually find their way to him.
"As far as when no, I really can't tell you [when it happened], but I think just like I've always talked about – trusting the process," Cooks said. "When your number's called, showing up for your team and making the play, that's what it's all about. So anytime I get an opportunity, I just have to take advantage of it and be the best I can for my teammates."
As the Cowboys turn to their week 18 matchup with a chance to clinch at least two home playoff games and their first NFC East crown since 2021, they will do so with the confidence of having a solidified weapon not named CeeDee Lamb.
Even if a poor run game has made things difficult at times, and even if the offensive line continues to struggle with consistent health, one thing can be relied upon when the time arrives for a player to be needed – whether that be in Washington or at some point in the playoffs.
You turn to the ten-year veteran. The one who has made everyone around him better both off the field and on. Because when The Archer starts his cast, no one is getting in the way of his arrow's path.
"He's a guy that's far from satisfied."