The Dallas Cowboys need to distance themselves from the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon, and Frank Reich's defense is helping as much as they possibly can.
When Dallas' first drive petered out and Carolina managed to scrap together a representative response (into the edge of field goal territory), panicked Cowboys fans started to envision an inexplicable rerun of the Cardinals' game from earlier in the campaign.
However, as the first quarter developed and second quarter dragged on, both teams began to reveal more and more of what's gotten each of them to this point. Micah Parsons knocked Carolina out of field goal range with a thunderous sack, then capped their second drive with another one. Dak Prescott varied his targets, eventually drilling Luke Schoonmaker with a well-earned touchdown.
And then, with Dallas on the verge of missing another scoring opportunity on third and long, the Panthers did the one thing you absolutely cannot do. Brandin Cooks, content to pick up a short chunk of yardage from the 32 yard line, was instead facemasked and horse collared into oblivion, setting Dallas up with a much closer first down (and eventual field goal).
Cowboys WR Brandin Cooks manhandled on catch, Carolina Panthers commit silly penalty
Shoutout to Xavier Woods, who figured out how to commit both a facemask penalty and horse collar tackle on the same play. The Panthers DB, completely out of ideas regarding how to drag Cooks down, simply grabbed everything, sending the Cowboys closer to the red zone in the process. You really have to respect it.
While Dallas had to settle for three points anyway, Brandon Aubrey's kick was a no-sweater thanks to some full-blown incompetence. The more you watch the Panthers, the more you wonder if Frank Reich won't be available to be somebody's QB guru by mid-December, if