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With the Cowboys season at a close, let’s take a look back at every game played in AT&T Stadium in 2022 and the story surrounding them.
So it all ends, a season officially over. Was this the way we anticipated the season going after the opening the Dallas Cowboys had? No, that’s for sure. But it most definitely wasn’t the way we wanted it to conclude.
As the Cowboys ride off into the sunset on an otherwise depressing but entertaining season, let’s take a peek back at each home game on the Cowboys schedule and grade each one. For each game there’s also an MVP award for the best Cowboys player during that week.
Buccaneers 19-3 Cowboys (0-1)
Grade = D-
This game arrived with much anticipation and buildup after the Cowboys first-round draft selection, Tyler Smith, got an instant elevation to left tackle position after Tyron Smith injured himself the week before the game. The Cowboys’ anxieties were verified after reports spread that the eight-time Pro Bowler tore his hamstring and would be out until December. The game saw the first half play out a little nervously for both teams as each side amounted to nothing but field goals. Everyone expected wide receiver Dennis Houston to go for big gains after an eyebrow raising preseason, but all he caught was one pass for 18 yards. Then Cowboys fans had the misery of watching Tyler Smith get bullied backward by Shaquil Barrett, who ran into Dak Prescott while throwing, and breaking a bone in his hand. Before his injury emerged, Dak established no tempo in his game, was under 50% completion, had thrown an interception to Antione Winfield Jr., and threw zero touchdowns. This was an abhorrent start to the Cowboys season, one that some feared would occur. One player who had a lot of pregame attention was Micah Parsons and he delivered. Finishing the game on three tackles, five pressures and two sacks, Parsons got this defense fired up from day one.
MVP – Micah Parsons
Bengals 17-20 Cowboys (1-1)
Grade = B
Trepidation was the word of the week after the poor Week 1 performance. The Cowboys, after taking a beating and losing their starting quarterback and leading safety Jayron Kearse, now faced the previous seasons Super Bowl runner-up. With their backs against the wall the Cowboys blasted ahead and were leading 17-3 at halftime. With the Cowboys leaning back into their commanding lead, the Bengals offense, led by Joe Burrow, managed an enormous comeback to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Thanks to the long-range kicking skills of Brett Maher, he secured victory off a 50-yard field goal. Cooper Rush outplayed Burrow, which also had everyone asking the question why Dallas had stashed Noah Brown for so long after posting a game of five receptions of 91 yards, with one touchdown.
MVP- Noah Brown
Commanders 10-25 Cowboys (3-1)
Grade = A-
Another week without Dak and another week with people predicting Cooper Rush to flunk. Rush had a pretty outstanding game finishing 15/27 with 223 yards and two touchdowns. The defense played lights-out to preserve the game, keeping the score low and supporting the Cowboy’s offense to dominate the game. CeeDee Lamb drew close to a 100-yard game and Noah Brown continued to impress with another highly effective game. The offensive line was also starting to make waves as it was playing competently to keep Rush upright, even against a well-oiled Commanders defensive line. On the opposite side we got a lockdown game from Trevon Diggs. He allowed only six yards all game and caught an interception showing his brilliance as a dominant corner in the NFL.
MVP – Trevon Diggs
Lions 6-24 Cowboys (5-2)
Grade = B+
Dak is back! After going 4-1 as a starter, Cooper Rush placed hope in every Cowboys fans hearts. It was a monumental effort by the entire team to get to this stage and the mainstream media were talking how deep this Cowboy’s roster was and if they were contenders in the NFC. Talk pregame encircled Dak and if he was healthy enough to have played the week before at the Philadelphia Eagles game, but either way he was back. The Cowboys defense played one of its best games of the season and was in complete control. It was a turnover and sack frenzy for Jared Goff who could get nothing going except throwing interceptions and losing the ball with costly fumbles. A complete kill from the defense, mostly from Parsons who caused a fumble and sacked Goff twice, he really piled on the pressure. Both Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott had great days helping to control the game.
MVP – Micah Parsons (Leighton Vander Esch and Trevon Diggs earn honorable mentions)
Bears 29-49 Cowboys (6-2)
Grade = A-
It’s now a three-headed race in the NFC East with the New York Giants joining the march to stay as challengers. Tony Pollard had the game of his life and the offense showed how they could take control of a game. The offensive line fully impressed in this game allowing only six pressures and one sack all day. Thanks to those efforts, Dak only missed six passes all game, On the opposite side of the field, the Dallas defense was searching for ways to slow down Justin Fields, which included sending Jayron Kearse on a safety blitz to bring him down. The only problem now facing this Cowboys defense was talk post-game of the run-stopping ability of this team and why they played so poorly against the rush.
MVP – Tony Pollard
WEEK 12 (Thanksgiving)
Giants 20-28 Cowboys (8-3)
Grade = B+
It’s the second meeting of the season against division foe New York. It was a mixed bag for Dak, but certainly not one for CeeDee Lamb who dominated the game. Although he never got into the paint for a touchdown, he was instrumental in setting the plays up on the Cowboys scoring drives and went over 100 yards on the day. Zeke had himself a big day also averaging nearly six yards per carry. But is was the tight end group that stole the show, which included the two rookies who displayed their potential during the game. We all smile reminiscing about the touchdown celebrations the tight ends had in the red kettle. On defense, it was a pressure frenzy up front. DeMarcus Lawrence had a massive game on running plays as well as getting pressure on Daniel Jones, which helped pave way to both Micah Parsons and Dorance Armstrong earning sacks.
MVP – CeeDee Lamb
Colts 19-54 Cowboys (9-3)
Grade = A
If you get to start any sentence with the phrase “fifty burger”, then obviously that means it was a good day at the office. Well that sentence is only somewhat true because up until the fourth quarter this game had a few people biting their finger nails. In the final quarter, after a series of failings by the Colts in all phases of the game, the Cowboys set fire to the game by scoring 33 unanswered points (the second-most in a quarter in NFL history). The Cowboys entered the final quarter with only a two-point lead on the Colts, but the Indianapolis offensive line had major issues all game which led to Matt Ryan finding no rhythm to the game. DaRon Bland had a big game which placed his name firmly on the map by intercepting Ryan twice and allowing only nine yards while in coverage. This was Bland’s third career start after Jourdan Lewis went out injured weeks prior. Tyler Smith was playing well now at left tackle, after this game he had gone seven weeks allowing only one sack.
MVP – DaRon Bland
Texans 23-27 Cowboys (10-3)
Grade = C
The Governors Cup was at stake and the Cowboys encountered turbulence again. It was a game that was far from pretty against a struggling Houston Texans team, at one point it looked as though the visiting team could be triumphant. But riding a four-game winning streak, the Cowboys managed to eek this one out. Touchdowns from both running backs on the ground, with an added receiving touchdown for Pollard, enabled them to keep the game in the win column. Dalton Schultz came out for a major game and James Washington even managed to make an appearance in this game playing 11 snaps. Leighton Vander Esch decided he was playing with the force of two players as he went for 14 tackles during the game and added a tackle for loss. Talk on LVE’s run-stopping ability is now pivotal to helping the Cowboys run defense along with Johnathan Hankins. This will be Terence Steele’s final game of the season after tearing his ACL.
MVP- Leighton Vander Esch
Eagles 34-40 Cowboys (11-4)
Grade = B+
It’s revenge time on Christmas Eve! The Eagles had some decisions to make, primarily what to do at quarterback with Jalen Hurts injured. The Eagles wanted to end things at Dallas and get home field advantage by winning this game, but the Cowboys had other plans. CeeDee Lamb boat-raced the Eagles competition and had a day he will never forget. He managed to go over 120 yards with two touchdowns and a mind blowing 151.7 passer rating when targeted. Tyler Smith had one of the best performances among the offensive linemen.
MVP – CeeDee Lamb (and Santa)
Originally posted on Blogging The Boys