Already, this season has been full of surprises, from Jesse Holley making a game-winning play, to Laurent Robinson coming off the street to be a solid contributor, and Sean Lee playing like a defensive MVP.
The single most eyebrow-raising play might have come with the start of the second-half against Detroit on Sunday, when 305 defensive end Sean Lissemore alerted fielded a bouncing kickoff by Jason Hanson and rolled 38 yards to set up the offense in position to take that 24-point lead. For a moment, it looked like the 305-pounder might even go all the way.
"I was trying," Lissemore said. "My main concern was just holding onto the ball."
As surprising as the return was to teammates, who excitedly jumped all over Lissemore as he came to the sideline, it actually isn't entirely apart from his unique skill set. Lissemore ran track in high school, clocking an 11.2-second 100-yard dash, albeit with a much smaller body frame.
That athleticism is what made him stand out to the team in the seventh round in 2010, and it's earning him playing time now. With Stephen Bowen departed for Washington and Igor Olshansky let go, Lissemore has gotten a chance to play more this year, and has taken advantage of it. His biggest game was Sunday, with starter Jason Hatcher sidelined by a calf injury.
"He certainly played well," Jason Garrett said. "I'll tell you what, I think the play he made on the kickoff return was an indication, a little bit, of what kind of football player he is. He just kind of took that opportunity and ran with it, literally and figuratively, and made a real positive play for us, but he also showed up on defense. He's a guy who's very versatile on the defensive line.
"So he's a guy who's showing up more. We've got a lot of good competition on the defensive line, and that's good. You want to have a lot of guys you can rotate through and stay fresh, and continue to stay after their opposing offensive line and also their quarterback."
Lissemore said he believes there were still a lot of things he could improve on from Sunday. It wasn't a bad performance, though, stepping into an unfamiliar spot as a pass-rusher because of Hatcher's injury.
"I try to do the best job that I can," Lissemore said. "I feel more comfortable in the base, in the run packages and stuff. That's what I've been doing more in the games in the past, but they needed me in that role, so I had to step up and do the best I could."