ARLINGTON, Texas - To upset the Cincinnati Bengals, the Dallas Cowboys were going to need a receiver or two to step up big and assist Cooper Rush in stepping on for an injured Dak Prescott. What they got on Sunday was a performance from Noah Brown that was nothing short of impressive - the football equivalent of building an ark to avoid the coming flood disguised as an 0-2 start to the season.
Brown built upon the momentum he established with Prescott in the eventual loss to the Buccaneers in Week 1 and has now become the most productive receiver on the Cowboys roster through the first two games: reeling in a combined 159 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets between two different quarterbacks.
"It feels extremely satisfying," said Brown following the upset on Sunday. "This organization put a lot of trust in me for a long time. To come out here on the big stage and make the big play - I was happy to be able to do that for my guys."
Brown racked up a 91-yard, one touchdown afternoon against the Bengals and, for reference, that amounted to 38.7% of Rush's pass production - including a clutch 12-yard reception on the final drive that helped set up Brett Maher for the game-winning 50-yard kick.
His chemistry with Rush is evident, and the Cowboys will continue to lean on it going forward.
"It's huge, and it's a testament to all the work we've put in that not a lot of people get to see from Coop and from me in the past, really," Brown said. "But the work showed today."
For his part, Rush couldn't offer enough praise for a receiver he signed onto the Cowboys roster with back in 2017.
"He's a baller," said Rush. "We've been together since we were rookies, and we're still around and he just keeps getting better year after year - earning that starting spot. You guys got to see tonight why [that is]. All he does is make tough catches.
"He's [always] in the right place at the right time. … He's a heckuva player."
Brown has ingratiated himself with Mike McCarthy's coaching staff much the way he did with Jason Garrett's, in large part due to his willingness to do the dirty work in addition to serving double duty as an offensive option.
"It's great, but I was out there doing the dirty work, too," Brown said. "I always take pride in that: take pride in getting open, take pride in blocking - whatever I gotta do."
But, to this point, it was injury that slowed his career early on followed by the presence of four-time Pro Bowl wideout Amari Cooper, a healthy Michael Gallup and star fourth-stringer Cedrick Wilson.
Nowadays, though, with Cooper traded, Wilson now in Miami by way of free agency and Gallup still working his way back to the field for the Cowboys, the onus is on Brown to be the veteran presence in a room filled with youth - including CeeDee Lamb - and he's showing he can be the Cool Hand Luke of the bunch.
"He's so competitive," said McCarthy. " … Just the offseason he had - the anticipation of the opportunity he was gonna have this year. You're seeing the payoff of it. Tough, tough football player both on offense and on special teams.
"I love the way he plays. How many receivers are you going to see who are [also] your personal punt protector? That's one tough dude."