The Dallas Cowboys played with dominance. No other way to phrase it.
A 31-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave them their first playoff win since 2018, their first road playoff win since 1992 and their first win versus QB Tom Brady ever.
It’s all smiles as the Cowboys take on the San Francisco in the playoffs. A the same team who took them out of the playoffs in 2021. Full circle.
QB Dak Prescott lead the way with as dominant a performance as we’ve ever seen from him. As well as all around games from across the board.
On offense and defense, despite a few players who didn’t perform to the same standard as the team.
However, there are a few notable exceptions on the field. Cowboys who played above expectation and continue to excel, or players who continue to disappoint or whose future’s are in flux.
As always, high-profile players who’ll factor in weekly such as Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons or Zack Martin are exempt from this list as they play at elite levels frequently. Or at least, are expected to.
This also includes the likes of safeties Jayron Kearse and Donovan Wilson, as well as TE Dalton Schultz and RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
- OL Tyler Smith – Having to go from left tackle to left guard and back to left tackle is a lot to ask from a rookie. However, Smith did it and showed as much dominance on the run as he did in pass protection.
- WR Michael Gallup – Playing by far his best game of the season. Five catches for 46 yards and a touchdown is great but what’s even better was the all-around play that we hadn’t seen from him this season.
IMO Last night was the 1st time this season Michael Gallup had his separation @ the LOS , jump ball ability & physicality all on display in the same game, consistently. #CowboyNation pic.twitter.com/FQKeqEWT3F— Shane Carter (@ShaneCarterTx) January 17, 2023
- DT Osa Odighizuwa – For the second year in a row, Odighizuwa was a dominant force rushing the passer from the interior. Even more surprising was how great he was against the run better he has all year.
- LB Leighton Vander Esch – The Cowboys missed this man, especially in the middle of the field. Returning with him is the ability to stop the run, but an added bonus was him pressuring the quarterback.
- DT Johnathan Hankins – See above.
- TE Jake Ferguson – His long catch was fun and indicative of his athleticism after the catch. His ability to act as a lead blocker on the edge in the run is a pleasant sign going into next week.
- DB Israel Mukuamu – Free safety. Box safety. Nickle cornerback. Mukuamu can do it all and had to. Following Jayron Kearse leaving the game, Mukuamu played as the extra safety and cornerback. Displaying excellent coverage skills.
- K Brett Maher – Kicking 1/5 extra points is never fun to see. The Dallas Cowboys still have faith in him after a career-best season, but it is something to monitor.
- DTs Quinton Bohanna and Neville Gallimore – Bohanna has shown he can play the run and Gallimore has shown he can rush the passer. However, with the increase in snaps from Chauncey Golston, Carlos Watkins and Hankins, these two might not see snaps for the post season.
- CB Xavier Rhodes – He was expected to become the ‘current’ CB3 for the Cowboys defense but didn’t have the same flow as when they ran with more safeties than corners, even with Mukuamu playing an in-between position. He’ll likely see snaps next week but not at the expense of their best 11 options.
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement of USA TODAY Sports