Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb a ‘top WR in this game, no question about it’, wins NFC Offensive Player of the Week

0
44

ARLINGTON, Texas — Many athletes across a wide range in sports can relate to being “locked in” or “in the zone.” In the NFL, there is no wide receiver who has been in a more unshakeable zone than Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.
He has over 100 receiving yards in each of his last four games, including setting and resetting his career high in receiving yards in two of the last three weeks. He totaled 117 yards on seven catches in a 20-17 Week 6 win at the Los Angeles Chargers, 158 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns on 12 catches against the Los Angeles Rams in a 43-20 Week 8 win, 191 receiving yards on 11 catches at the Philadelphia Eagles in a 28-23 Week 9 defeat, and 151 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown on 11 catches as well as a 14-yard wide receiver reverse rushing touchdown in the Cowboys’ 49-17 Week 10 home win against the New York Giants in Week 10.
That performance against New York on Sunday was more than enough to earn him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. The honor is Lamb’s first Player of the Week accolade in his career, and he is now the third Cowboys wide receiver in the last 10 seasons to earn the award, joining another No. 88 in Dez Bryant (Week 15, 2014) and former teammates Amari Cooper (Weeks 12 and 14, 2018).
His three-game stretch with 10 or more catches and 150 or more receiving yards makes him the first player in NFL history with those numbers in three games in a row. His 617 receiving yards since Week 6 are the most in the NFL, 127 more than the next closest player — Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (490 receiving yards) — and they are the most in a four-game span by any player in Cowboys history.
“Absolutely,” Lamb said postgame Sunday when asked if he is currently in the zone. “I’m one of one. I’m a top receiver in this game, and there’s no question about it. Competitors, see y’all again next week.”
CeeDee Lamb since Week 6: NFL rankings
NFL RANK Targets 51 T-6th Receptions 41 T-1st Team Target Pct 33.6% 4th Receiving Yards 617** 1st Receiving Touchdowns 3 T-3rd
* Played only four of a possible five games in span because of Week 7 bye
** Most in a four-game span in Cowboys history
His quarterback, Dak Prescott, refused to even refer to Lamb’s current heater as a streak. Prescott himself also rewrote some records on Sunday, becoming the first Cowboy with 300 or more passing yards (404) and three touchdowns (four) in three consecutive games. He also became the first Cowboy with 400 or more passing yards (404), four or more passing touchdowns (four) and one rushing touchdown (one) in a single game.
“I don’t even want to call it a streak because that’s who he is,” Prescott said postgame on Sunday. “It’s just what he’s beginning to do week in and week out…. I can tell you I’ve never been as confident or as free. [Or] as connected with other guys in the offense, play-calling and just this whole system and what we’re trying to get after as I am now. That’s credit to those guys. That’s credit to coach [Mike] McCarthy, [offensive coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer, [quarterback coach Scott] Tolzien and the rest of the offensive staff of just being able to communicate exactly what we’re trying to get. It feels good. Honestly, it does. Great chemistry. We’re just going to continue to build.”
“It’s really cool when you see CeeDee or a player just really hit his stride, and it was great for the Dallas Cowboys,” Mike McCarthy said postgame Sunday. “He’s going to be doing that for a long time. With Dak Prescott, I think you have a guy that you can grow with. Not only is it great for those two, but it’s great for the whole group because it raises the standard that everybody has to play to.”
Lamb’s public frustrations with the team’s offense following the Cowboys’ ugly 42-10 loss at the San Francisco 49ers on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 5 were a catalyst for the roll he and Prescott are on now as they forced McCarthy to re-center his offense around their talents.
“I think it speaks everything to his perseverance, his focus,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said of Lamb and his record-setting stretch. “He’s a better player than he was last year and the year before. He’s got great ability, got some attributes you can’t coach, but he’s really improved on all of them…. I think Lamb will take advantage of his opportunities.”
“Yeah, they’re definitely trying to double me,” Lamb said. “Mike’s doing a great job of moving me around and keeping me in motion, lining me up on the outside so I guess you can’t really get a beat. It’s Mike versus their DC at this point.”
When Lamb did get doubled on Sunday, fellow wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup feasted. Cooks, a 10-year NFL veteran who has six 1,000-yard seasons in nine full seasons played, totaled single-game, season-highs across the board on Sunday with 173 receiving yards and a touchdown on nine catches. Of that final tally, 104 of his yards, his 10-yard touchdown and seven of those catches occurred in the first half.
“Practice,” Prescott said when he was asked when he knew that Cooks would have a big game this week. “I always talk about practice and what we put into it. Going back to this game plan early in the week, I told him, ‘Let’s put in the work in and it’s going to come out.’ He’s been there for us all year when we needed him to. There’s been games that we’ve come back and said, “Could you get him more involved?” He’s the type of player that deserves those questions when he’s not getting those targets or getting those catches and then through the little communication that we’ve have throughout this week. He had a great week of practice. Some plays build momentum to go for him and the others, he went and won when they would double CeeDee. He went and beat his man and made it easy for me to throw to him.”
Gallup racked up 70 receiving yards and a touchdown on two catches, one of which was Dallas’ most breathtaking score of the day, a 41-yard scoring strike from Prescott to Gallup down the right sideline.
“A lot man,” Lamb said of his confidence when he saw Cooks and Gallup’s big plays Sunday. “It just shows the depth we have in this receiving room. Each and every one of us can go up and go get it. Deep ball, deep threats. It’s all picking your poison.”
While McCarthy’s offense is about picking the best matchups, the Cowboys admitted to force-feeding Lamb the ball at the start of the fourth quarter when he was one catch and eight yards away from the NFL record three consecutive games with 10 or more catches and 150 or more receiving yards.
Dallas led 42-7 entering the final 15 minutes, but McCarthy left Lamb in the game with the second-team offense to secure him the record. His rationale for the move: making sure no one had any regrets. When McCarthy was the head coach and offensive play-caller of the Packers, Aaron Rodgers, the eventual 2014 NFL MVP, diced up the Bears in Week 10 of the 2014 season, throwing six touchdowns in the first half to put the Packers up 42-0 at halftime. McCarthy only left Rodgers in for another drive or two in the name of sportsmanship in the second half of that game when his quarterback could have easily thrown two more touchdowns to bring the NFL’s all-time, single-game record.
“Correct,” McCarthy said, confirming he left Lamb out there with the second team offense to get the record. “How many times are you in a position like that [to break an NFL record? I’ll tell you what it is: You feel worse as a coach if I would have walked in there and you’d be asking me ‘why didn’t you leave him out there for nine yards.’ Because I have had it happen before. This league is so competitive when you are in that position, I think it’s the respect that you should show to the player to accomplish that record.”
“Yeah, everyone knew he needed the eight,” Cooks said. “You know that’s cool to be able to for him to go in and get that. Coach McCarthy had an eye on that because that’s no easy task what he has done these past four weeks… The kid is special,. Year four [of Lamb’s NFL career] doing things like this is fun to watch. You know I’m out there, not just a teammate but a fan. So, it’s great to see.”
How special is the zone are Lamb and Prescott when it comes to their connection? Everything is currently working for the Dallas duo. Lamb’s first touchdown of the day off of a wide receiver reverse in which Prescott faked a handoff to running back Tony Pollard before tossing the football to Lamb allowed the receiver to stroll rather leisurely into the end zone to kickstart the Cowboys’ scoring barrage.
“It was as open as it has been all week,” Lamb said. “I was very surprised, but I’ll take it.”
Prescott attempted to heave a pass off one foot, fading away from the throw to avoid a sack later on, but Lamb was able to track the football and still make the catch despite Prescott’s best efforts to heave the ball out of bounds.
“I’ll be honest,” Prescott said with a grin. “I was throwing it away, but that’s CeeDee Lamb being CeeDee Lamb.”
“We’re hitting our stride,” Lamb said. “This past month, as you can tell, we’ve been on a roll. We just have to keep it going. Stay consistent. Stay true.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here