The Panthers tried to throw the ball early and often, but that plan blew up in their face thanks to an unexpectedly impressive Cowboys pass rush that had Sam Darnold running for his life for the better part of four quarters. The Cowboys recorded five sacks in the game, marking the first time since 2019 that they’ve hit that number. The pass rush was led by Randy Gregory, who was playing in just his second game this season due to COVID-19 issues.
Both of Diggs’ picks came during a dominating third quarter where the Cowboys outscored the Panthers 20-0. After trailing 14-13 at the half, the Cowboys went into the fourth quarter with a comfortable 33-14 lead.
The Cowboys also got a brilliant performance from their offense — Dak Prescott threw four touchdown passes and the rushing attack totaled more than 240 yards for just the sixth time this century — but we’re talking about the defense because no one saw this coming.
The interceptions by Diggs played a huge part in the dominating quarter as the Cowboys ended up turning the two picks into 10 points.
Last year, the Cowboys fielded one of the worst defenses in football, but that now seems like an eternity ago thanks to Dan Quinn, who has completely revamped the unit. Under Quinn’s leadership, the Cowboys have quietly become one of the better defenses in football and their improvement was on full display against the Panthers.
Even when the Cowboys weren’t sacking Darnold, they were still giving him fits as they hurried him more than 10 times. That pressure caused Darnold to rush several throws, including two in the second half that led to two different interceptions by Trevon Diggs. You can see his second one below.
With Prescott returning this season, everyone expected to the Cowboys to have a high-powered offense, but no one expected their defense to be this good, this fast. If the defense keeps playing at the level that it’s playing, the Cowboys might end up coasting to the NFC East title.
Alright, let’s get to the grades for every game from Week 4. If you’re looking for a deeper dive on the Bengals’ wild 24-21 win over the Jaguars that was played on Thursday, be sure to click here.
Dallas 36-28 over Carolina Panthers-Cowboys grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Indianapolis 27-17 over MiamiChicago 24-14 over DetroitBuffalo 40-0 over HoustonWashington 34-30 over AtlantaN.Y. Giants 27-21 over New Orleans (OT)N.Y. Jets 27-24 over Tennessee (OT)Kansas City 42-30 over Philadelphia Chargers-Chiefs grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cleveland 14-7 over Minnesota Browns-Vikings grades by Josh Edwards (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Baltimore 23-7 over Denver Ravens-Broncos grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cardinals-Rams grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.) Seattle 28-21 over San FranciscoArizona 37-20 over L.A. Rams