The Dallas Cowboys continued their dominance on Sunday, securing a convincing 33-10 road victory against the struggling Carolina Panthers. The win improves Dallas’ record to 7-3, further cementing their status as top contenders in the NFC.
However, the game’s biggest moment came before kickoff, when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones announced he would finally be inducting legendary former Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson into the team’s Ring of Honor. Johnson, who had a bitter fallout with Jones after leading the team to back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1990s, will officially join the Ring of Honor later this season.
“I really thought it was time, and I wanted to do it this year,” Jones said on Sunday, putting to rest a feud that has lasted nearly 30 years.
Prescott, Cowboys Crush Reeling Panthers
On the field, it was business as usual for these Cowboys, who continued their dominance by demolishing the Panthers 33-10.
Dak Prescott had another efficient performance, going 14 of 20 for 232 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. He spread the ball around to his talented receiving corps, with CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Dalton Schultz each recording a touchdown catch.
The real story on offense, however, was Tony Pollard, who gashed the Panthers’ defense for 145 yards rushing on just 15 carries. He broke off several chunk runs, including a dazzling 67-yard scamper for a touchdown. Pollard has shown he can be a leading man in the Dallas backfield.
Defensively, the Cowboys had their way with Panthers QB Bryce Young. Young was under constant pressure, taking four sacks and throwing two interceptions. Daron Bland continued his historic season, recording his fifth pick-six of the year to set an NFL record.
The Dallas defense held Carolina to just 232 total yards, stymying their rushing attack and forcing Young into mistakes. It was another dominant effort from a unit that currently ranks third in yards allowed.
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Season on the Brink for Reeling Panthers
While Dallas is rolling, the Panthers are reeling. They have now lost nine of their last ten games after starting the season with two straight wins.
Bryce Young continued to struggle mightily in his rookie season. The former Alabama star threw two picks against the Cowboys and barely eclipsed over 100 passing yards. He was under siege all game behind a porous offensive line.
Making matters worse, Carolina lost starting offensive tackle Mekhi Becton to another injury, this time a knee issue that forced him to leave on a cart. Becton’s inability to stay healthy has been disastrous for the Panthers.
Rumors are already swirling that Carolina coach Matt Rhule could be on the hot seat as the losses continue to mount. The team has severely underperformed expectations, and Rhule’s offensive schemes have done little to bring out the best in Young.
With only one game remaining against an opponent currently with a losing record, it appears Carolina is headed for a top 5 draft pick in 2024. The team lacks offensive playmakers to support Young, who was supposed to lift the Panthers back into contention as a rookie phenom.
Instead, Carolina looks years away from being able to compete with the league’s elite teams like the Cowboys. It could be another long rebuild for a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2015.
What This Means Moving Forward
- For the Cowboys, the rest of the NFC should be on notice. Dallas has won six of its last seven games and appears to be gelling on both sides of the ball. The playoffs run through Jerry World, and anything less than an NFC Championship Game berth would be a disappointment.
- The Jimmy Johnson Ring of Honor induction shows Jones is finally ready to bury the hatchet and celebrate Dallas’ 1990s dynasty. It may increase speculation that other former Cowboys stars like DeMarcus Ware could soon join the Ring of Honor as well.
- In Carolina, Matt Rhule’s job security will continue to be a hot topic. The team seems directionless on offense, and injuries have again hampered their progress. The Panthers may be headed for a complete organizational reset in 2023 if things don’t turn around quickly.
- For Bryce Young, the remainder of this season has to be about progress and development. With the playoffs likely out of reach, Young gaining experience and showing improvement should be the top priorities. The Panthers must do everything possible to support his growth.
- The NFL trade deadline has passed, so Carolina will need to look to the draft, free agency, and its current roster for answers. The offensive line and lack of weapons remain glaring issues that must be addressed this offseason.
The Cowboys’ dominant win, coupled with the Panthers’ continued struggles, reinforced the diverging trajectories of these franchises. One appears poised for a deep playoff run, while the other remains mired in mediocrity.