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Spagnola: Putting 2 straight & No. 7 in back pocket


Charlotte, N.C. – Felt Just like Old Times.

The Cowboys for the Sixth Time Score Thirty-something Points.

They Held the Woeful Carolina Panthers to less than 200 Yards of Offense and the Fourth Time a Team to No More than 10 Points.

Daron "Pickpocket" Bland Intercepted His Sixth Pass in Just 10 Games This Season and Returned That Sucker 31 Yards for His Fourth Pick-six of the Year, Tying a Single-season Nfl Record, One He Says He Knew About and Told Himself After the Interception and Doing a Forward Roll with the Ball, "I Need to Go Get This."

Micah Parsons, After Getting Zeroed out the Previous Week on the Defensive Stat Sheet, Including No Sacks for Just the Third Time This Season, Exploded for 2.5 on Sunday Here at Bank of America Stadium, Six Tackles, Two TFLs and Three Qb Hits, a Real Pain in the Panthers Backside.

For the Fourth Consecutive Game, a Cowboys Tight End Scored a Touchdown, This Time Rookie Luke Schoonmaker.

And Most of All, Jimmy and Jerry Made Nice Before a National Fox Tv Audience Prior to the Game. Standing at the Interview-room Podium, They Joyfully Announced That the Cowboys' Former Head Coach and Recent pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee Will Be Going into the Team's Treasured Ring of Honor at Halftime of the Dec. 30 Game at at&T Stadium Against the Detroit Lions, a Ceremony Scheduled to Be Broadcast Live That Saturday Night.

Oh, and by the Way and Most Importantly, the Cowboys Picked up Their Second Straight Win and Seventh of the Season, Pulling Within 1.5 Games of the Nfl- and Nfc East-leading 8-1 Eagles.

Cowboys 33, Panthers 10.

Yep, a Workman-like Victory, Short of Drama Before a Heavily Infested Stadium of Cowboys Fans and Without Many Glaring Statistical Anecdotes This Time, with the Exception of This:

A Dub.

"I Feel like We Came Here to Do What We Needed to Do," Cowboys Head Coach Mike Mccarthy Said of This Season's Sixth Win by 20-plus Points, One Short of the 1968 Single-season Franchise Record. "It Was Important to Get the Seventh Win. … Overall, It Was a Healthy Victory for Us."

In More Ways than One, Since Really Didn't See Any Players Helped off the Field During Week 11 of the Season.

And You Know Me, Having Thrown down That Mandate to Hop on a Four-game Winning Streak Following the Loss to the Eagles and Head into the Dec. 10 Rematch with Philadelphia at No less than 9-3. Especially Knowing the 8-1 Eagles Are Playing the Chiefs Monday Night in Kansas City and Then Buffalo and San Francisco Before the Sunday Night Game Against the Cowboys.

If Anything on This Gorgeous Carolina Sunday, the Cowboys (7-3) Were Persistent in This One. Nothing Really Flashy. Dak Prescott's Streak of Three Consecutive Games Throwing for at Least 300 Yards, Three Touchdowns, and Qb Rating Above 100 Came to an End. and Mostly Because of the Panthers' Penchant for Blitzing and Playing Zone Coverage, at Times Looking like Cover 4, Making Sure Everything Stayed in Front of Them.

Same for Ceedee Lamb. His Streak of Three Consecutive Games with at Least 150 Yards Receiving Came to an End, Finishing with Six Receptions – One for a Touchdown – but for Only 38 Yards. the Panthers Constantly Doubled Him, a Safety Hovering Everywhere He Went, and If Not a Safety, a Linebacker Dropping Underneath. Still, Those Yards Pushed Him past the 1,000-Yard Mark This Season with Seven Games to Play.

The Cowboys Did Run for 107 Yards – That's Two Straight with 100 Yards – but Averaging Just 4.0 Yards a Carry, Right at Their Modest Season Average.

And No One Had a Play for More than Jake Ferguson's 24-Yard Reception, Although of Tony Pollard's 61 Yards Rushing, He Did Have a Long of 22 and a 21-Yard Touchdown Run, His Longest Td Run Since a 25-Yarder in the Opener Against the Giants and Just His Third of the Season.

Why, Even Rookie Kicker Brandon Aubrey's Two Field Goals Stretched His Nfl Record Streak of Consecutively Made Field Goals to Start a Career to 21, but His Streak of 29 Straight Made Extra Points Since Missing the First Attempt of His Career Came to an End When Missing His Fourth Try in the Game.

Even Defensively, While Harassing Rookie Quarterback Bryce Young into Submission with Those Seven Sacks, the Second Time This Season Having Recorded As Many As Seven (Game 1, Giants), the Cowboys Did Allow a Third Straight 100-Yard Rushing Game (110) with Panthers Runs of 15, 14, 14 and 13.

So Very Few Firsts or First-since Performances.

As Mccarthy Said, "Well, (Equipment Director) Mike Mccord Can Probably Use a Little Relief. He Was Running out of Footballs."

In Fact, the Game Was Nearly Anticlimactic After All the Pregame Theatrics with Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Announcing Jimmy Johnson Being Inducted into the Ring of Honor, Although Sure Was Tipped off with Jimmy Being Here at the Stadium Instead of on the Fox Pregame Show. Fox Was in Cahoots with the Cowboys, Videoing Their Every Move Along the Team's Sideline for Almost All of the 90 Minutes Before Kickoff.

And How Cool of It for Me, Jimmy Making Eye Contact in the Bench Area Before the Game, Then Breaking Away Momentarily to Shake My Hand and Saying, "Feels like We Need to Do a Radio Show," in Reference to His Days As Head Coach When I Monitored His Radio Show from the Ranch, Jimmy Sitting in a Closet Talking Back to the Krld-am Station While He Was Sipping a Few Heinekens.

In Fact, by Pure Mistake, I Ended up on the Elevator with the Jimmy and Jerry Entourage After Their Press Conference on the Way to the Press Box/Suite Level, and Jimmy Told the Story About How He Used to Do His Radio Show at the University of Miami on Location, but Decided That with the Cowboys on Their Way to That 1-15 Start and Then 7-9 the Second Year, It Was Probably Prudent to Stay a Little out of the Public Eye While Doing the Weekly Show in the Cozy Confines of the Ranch.

Told Him, "I'd Need to Get some Heinekens for the Show," and He Responded with, "Heinekens Lights Now," with a Great Big Smile.

But Seeing Jimmy and Jerry up at the Podium Together, with Huge Smiles and at Times Sort of Emotionally Throwing down Their Love for Each Other, Reminded Me of Them Standing on That Super Bowl-winning Podium Side-by-side, Celebrating Their Victories in 1992 and Repeating in 1993.

"Certainly, There Was a Little Awkwardness That Was Happening from Not Doing This That I Guess I Anticipated, but I Didn't Really Anticipate," Jones Said of Breaking Through What Had Appeared from Afar to Be a Cold War. "so I Wouldn't Have Wanted That to Linger Any Longer."

And Both Are Quite Aware of Being Stubborn That Spring of 1994 When Their Relationship As Owner-coach Broke Apart. but As We Know, Time Heals All.

"My Feelings for Jerry Have Never Changed," Johnson Said, the Two Teammates at the University of Arkansas Before Teaming up to Resurrect a Sinking Franchise in 1989 and in Four Seasons Returning the Cowboys to Their past Glory by Winning That Super Bowl Together in the 1992 Season. "I Love the Guy. He Is a Big, Big Part, Maybe the Biggest Part, for My Entire Career, and I'm Very Appreciative."

And How About This for a Little Irony, Bill Polian, the Former Buffalo Bills General Manager in 1992 When the Cowboys Won the First of Those Two Super Bowls Together, Was Here at the Game in the Press Box, the Retired Former Gm of the Panthers from 1995-97 Who Went on to Win a Super Bowl with the Colts As the Team President.

Not As Great an "Old" Remembrance for Him, Although His Panthers Did Eliminate the Cowboys in the Second Round of the 1996 Season Playoffs.

Enough Nostalgia.

For These 2023 Cowboys, Saying Last Week of Beating the Giants, Now 3-7 After Beating Washington on Sunday, That's What They Should Have Done. and That the Win Was Only Step 1 on Their Four-game Mission. Well, Beating the Panthers Is but Step 2, Doing What They Should Have Done Against Now 1-9 Carolina.

"Yeah, Got the Job Done," Dak Said. "to Say It Was Clean and to Say That We Did Exactly What We Wanted to Do, I Can't Say That."

But Again, Maybe the Best Part of the Win: Once Again the Cowboys Did Not Have to Play a Full Four Quarters After Bland's Pick-six with 13:48 Left in the Game, Giving the Cowboys a 30-20 Lead. with That, They Were Eventually Able to Sprinkle in some Backups and Cooper Rush for the Third Time in the past Four Games After the Lead Stretched to 33-10 Following a Fumble Recovery That Led to Aubrey's Second Field Goal.

Because As a Needless Reminder, the Cowboys Play Again in Three Days, Meeting Washington (4-7) Thanksgiving Afternoon at at&T Stadium, the Commanders Having Lost Four of Their Last Five, Including Two of Those to the Giants, Sunday's with Giants Rookie Quarterback Tommy Devito Throwing for 246 Yards and Three Touchdowns. Yeah, That Tommy Devito.

So Now on to No. 3 of Those Required Four Straight, and the Cowboys Know It, Too.

Because When Asking Demarcus Lawrence What This Victory Meant Sunday over Carolina, He Said, "on to the Next One."

And I Whole-heartily Second That Notion.

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