Frisco, Texas – Dallas Cowboys Third face and 10, up 3 points with 1:20 to play in the platform.
Prescott launched a pass 25 yards down the left sideline, and the ball was hit by a wide receiver Noah Brown Before Brown got out of bounds, the ball was on the ground next to him. In overtime, the The Cowboys would lose, 40-34.
Questions about this play and execution will follow.
Among them: Why not go to the No. 1 wide receiver in the biggest moment? Why not give Sir Lambwho has already caught seven passes for 126 yards and hauled in another pass on defensive tackle that caught another 17, is the chance?
The lamb, however, understands.
A bird’s-eye view of the play shows what the broadcast footage doesn’t quite explain: Lamb wasn’t covered by just one Jaguars fullback. He wasn’t covered by two either.
Triple coverage? Welcome to the world of the NFL’s premier receiver.
“I turned around and saw three Jacksonville helmets,” Lamb explained. “It was crazy. I mean, I think that’s a sign of respect for me and what I’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks. Just believing in my ability.”
“I feel that no matter the situation, there is always an ability for me to open up.”
Similarly, the Cowboys brass trusted Lamb’s ability last March when they made a surprising decision: to send a then top receiver Amari Cooper to me Cleveland Browns for a fifth-round draft pick. The Cowboys knew that a slew of young talent contract extensions were on the horizon, and wanted relief from Cooper’s $20 million salary. But with financial freedom came the loss of a player who contributed 292 catches, 3,893 yards, and 27 touchdowns to the Cowboys in 56 games.
Add to that Prescott’s injury-missed five of the first six games of the season, and the hype grew: Was Lamb a better receiver? Did Dallas have enough guns?
Aries heard it. And he knows it. He smiles at her.
“There were questions — you can say them,” he said Wednesday, without having to hear the end of a reporter’s hint before ringing. [if] Anyone else have questions, feel free to come ask me. I’m definitely head down and ready for anything.”
Duck: CeeDee Lamb “Massive Playmaker”
Let Lamb production speak for itself as the initial answer.
In 14 games, Lamb caught 81 passes for 1,087 yards and six touchdowns, 55 times resulting in a first down by air. Lamb also rushed 10 times for 47 yards.
As the season went on—and, in particular, with the return of Prescott—Lamb’s reliability increased. He has bagged 55% of goals in the first six games (contributing significantly in his opener and Prescott’s 18.2%), compared to 75% in eight games since.
Only seven trail hunters have traveled further than Lamb; Only three of them had catches greater than 15 yards than those caught in 37 yards; And only two have topped his 21 20-yard gain, the NFL mark for the big play generation.
“He’s a huge playmaker for us and we know what he’s capable of,” Prescott said last month, after Lamb caught 11 of 15 targets for 150 yards and two touchdowns at Green Bay. “Understand that the defenses might show him more interest and … he will be contacted and see what effect he has, on the offense and the game.”
Lamb has been routinely productive since the Cowboys—who didn’t seem to need a receiver at the time—placed him 17th overall in 2020. Lamb recorded 153 catches, 2,037 yards, and 11 touchdowns in his first two years. But he knew, going into the season without Cooper or fellow wide receiver Cedric Wilson (who left in free agency), he’d need more detail to continue building trust with Prescott and creating a breakaway for the defenders.
So Lamb worked endlessly perfecting his understanding of area coverages not only from his fellow receivers but also from the defensive Cowboys on how best to gain leverage and what, if anything, it tells us his early steps on the road reveal. Did he make a wrong move upon his release? Did he lose his sharpness later, contributing to a decline? Would the additional camouflage result in a more useful separation to lighten Prescott’s tight window throws? If not, Lamb—whose teammates call his “250” as an ode to how he plays stronger than his 200-pound frame suggests—knows Prescott can trust him with the contested catches. wants to surrender.
“As a receiver in general, winning is of course pressing against the defender no matter what,” Lamb explains. “Being aggressive at the point of attack, whether that’s a traffic problem or bumping into the top of the road.
“I always try to win a rep and get the ball rolling.”
The past eight weeks for Prescott and Lamb have not been exclusively smooth, as many of Prescott’s 10 interceptions in this stretch have come when targeting Lamb. In multiple games, Prescott has targeted Lamb on the cross-facing option route over the middle of the field, quarterback projecting depth one pass and receiver passing the other. Prior to the next series, they worked out a miscommunication issue on the sidelines. At Green Bay, they successfully ran the same run in overtime for a gain of 15 yards.
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Prescott should “keep shooting” this week. Prescott knows he and Lam hit a beat where he can.
“Confidence in their ways, confidence in whatever they put them through and running full speed on everything,” said Prescott. “I just reach out when I expect them to come out of breaks, making sure we connect with the timing. I think that just comes in the reps we get in practice and after training.
“I have great confidence in these guys.”
Eagles vs Cowboys game to watch
He smiled, “I’m breathing, so work with me.”
After the workout, he would run extra trails. To beat the dangerous Philadelphia High School, he needs to step up his game.
The Eagles allowed opponents 172.4 yards per game and 6.14 yards per attempt. They only allowed 293.5 total yards, which is second best in the league. Former NFL defensive back Matt Bowen has released his annual report ESPN “Shutdown Indicator” This week, the ranking of the best defensive backs and secondary units in the league. Philadelphia won.
“They’re very instinctive, both of them,” Lamb added. “They are playing.”
But the Eagles know Lamb will, too.
Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon complimented Lamb this week for how a two-time Pro Bowler he is now (The list came out on a Wednesday night) can “hit you in a number of ways”.
“He’s obviously a very good runner, he’s got elite skills on the ball, he can beat you over the top, he can beat you at the bottom,” Gannon said. “But what really impresses me about him, the more I watch him, is that he’s so powerful at the point of capture that he’s actually quite tough to handle.
“It creates a lot of yards after catch, yards after contact, because guys don’t roll it up and take it down.”
The Eagles limited Lamb with five catches for 53 yards on eight scores in the divisional opponent’s first game of the season, with an interception by Philadelphia quarterback. Cooper Rush three times in the Eagles’ 26-17 win on Oct. 16.
Now, and potentially again in the playoffs, Lamb has a chance to show what he and Prescott can do against top competition.
“We have to play our best game, bring our best together, and we can’t take these players lightly,” said Lamb. “I feel like [we’re] Alive. “
Follow Jori Epstein of Yahoo Sports on Twitter @tweet