After a miraculous catch in Week 10, wide receiver Justin Jefferson entered Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys as one of the most hyped players in the NFL.
He’s earned it. The Minnesota Vikings wideout has been one of the best at his position since entering the league and his team has found ways to make him the go-to guy on offense.
However, Kirk Cousins wasn’t able to do that against the Cowboys as Jefferson finished the day with only five targets for 33 yards.
The reason? Cornerback Trevon Diggs.
One week after Aaron Rodgers torched seemingly every cornerback on the Cowboys’ roster not named Diggs, Dan Quinn had his top defensive back shadow Jefferson for most of the game.
This was the heavyweight main event many passing game lovers came to see. The results were the equivalent of a violent knockout.
Unnoficial estimations have the elite receiver at one catch and 15 yards versus Diggs specifically.
One of the best moments of the battle came when the Cowboys cornerback followed Jefferson to the slot and Cousins went deep on the slot fade.
Diggs didn’t allow separation. Maybe it was a little bit grabby, but the receiver also had a fully extended arm on the cornerback which probably was enough for the refs to swallow the whistle.
Justin Jefferson vs. Trevon Diggs 1 on 1 on slot fade pic.twitter.com/ZX55WbfQ89— Shawn (@syedschemes) November 20, 2022
Diggs is playing like one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. One year after getting 11 interceptions for the Cowboys, he’s looking more consistent in coverage.
And if Dallas decides he can shadow top receivers (why wouldn’t you after he’s done that to Jefferson, Terry McLaurin, and a few others?), the defense is only going to improve.
That includes the run defense. While the conversation has centered around the Cowboys not being able to stop the run, they’re actually Top 12 in DVOA and success rate.
But Quinn’s defense has a little bit of a personnel issue. To stop the run, he has to load the box. Consider these numbers on the Cowboys’ defense from Sports Info Solutions:
- Light Box: 24th in the NFL in success rate allowed.
- Stacked Box: 10th in the league in success rate allowed.
Being able to man up Diggs against whoever is the best guy tilts the math in the Cowboys’ favor. Sunday’s performance against Jefferson should have Dallas’ coaches excited about what they can do moving forward.
Featured image via Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports