We all know by now that Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons is a Swiss Army knife type of player. You can put him in any defensive situation and he will succeed, and he won’t stop until the play is done no matter where he is on the field. The 23-year-old once again proved his skills in getting to the quarterback in Week 7, but also showed off his ability to drop in coverage and turn on the jets when needed.
The Cowboys’ defense had an impressive five turnovers against the Detroit Lions on Sunday to give them 12 takeaways on the season. Although those interceptions, strip sacks, and forced fumbles were integral to the game, there was a play made by none other than Parsons that arguably shifted the momentum of the game.
It was a play that will simply go down as a tackle but was arguably one of the best plays of the game.
The reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year started the play at the 26-yard line as Jared Goff tossed a screen pass to Brock Wright. The ball was caught at the Dallas 21 and Wright proceeded to power past players to try and get to the end zone. What ensued from there was magical.
Parsons stopped on a dime, switched directions, and literally like a Lion, sped after his prey. Despite Wright’s five-yard head start, Parsons caught him at the one-yard line, stopping a touchdown.
According to Next Gen Stats, the Cowboys linebacker reached a speed of 20.41 MPH in his pursuit which is the fastest he has ever been clocked at in his career. Not only did this play stop a touchdown, but it was followed by DeMarcus Lawrence forcing a fumble on the next play, getting the Cowboys the ball on the goal line instead of the Lions going up 13-10.
Parsons even joked on Twitter that EA Madden (a video game that has consistently undervalued him) should adjust his speed score.
Cowboys LB Micah Parsons reveals the “father-son” conversation he had with Dan Quinn before his game-changing play
Without this unbelievable effort from Parsons, the Cowboys might not have had the huge momentum shift that allowed them to start their fourth-quarter scoring streak and eventually win 24-6.
It won’t be documented as more than a tackle, but it was certainly a play to remember by everyone in the Cowboys organization.
“That is the one play that probably nobody is talking about,” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. “That’s a big play.”
As it turns out, a conversation that Quinn and Parsons had after the Week 6 loss to the Eagles may have spurred this impressive effort by the linebacker. Here’s what the Penn State product said after the game:
"“Just sitting down with Q this past week and he was talking to me about plays that I can make if I just use my speed and chase down, just knowing that’s my super power. And we kind of had that father-son talk this week. And he challenged me and I told him, I said, if you challenge me I’ll never let you down. So just stuff like that I credit to Q cause he’s a person that means a lot to me and I just hate to let him down. When I’m out there I just try to give everything I’ve got for him.”"
It’s been evident throughout Quinn’s time in Dallas that players tend to fight and claw their way through situations for the coach. His squad finds him relatable and they battle for him. That’s incredibly powerful. He’s earned high praise from Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Trevon Diggs, and more, and several defenders expressed their relief when Quinn announced he was returning to the team this past offseason.
However, Quinn wasn’t the only one who noticed Parsons’ incredible effort. Parsons had five tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble, but it was this stop against Wright that stood out to his teammates.
"“When you see a guy like Micah Parsons chase down that screen right there, get down a guy at the 1-yard line and then boom, fumble on the next play, just relentless efforts. Our motto this year was ‘resilience.’ If you turn on the film, you’ll see that. A close game all the way through. Nobody budged. …It’s a special team to be a part of.”"
The record-breaking speed even caused offensive lineman Zack Martin to find the second-year wonder after the game to specifically congratulate him:
"“It changes the game completely. If he doesn’t make that play, they go up 13-10, and it’s an entirely different ballgame. That really was the play of the game and just preaches to the defense and how DQ has got those guys going. They don’t give up on a play. They play through the whistle. That was a big-time hustle play.”"
The 23-year-old is insanely talented. There is no taking that away from him. However, it does seem like having a coach like Quinn is bringing the literal best out of this defensive star.