Dak Prescott turned in another big-time performance. Micah Parsons was disruptive as ever despite battling the flu and Donovan Wilson created a hug first-quarter turnover, but Stephon Gilmore was the Dallas Cowboys' player of the game on Sunday night.
Tasked with shadowing Eagles all-world receiver A.J. Brown, Gilmore finished with a team-high nine tackles and didn't allow Brown to wreck the game.
Gilmore and Brown jawed back and forth all night. Nothing out of the ordinary when an elite cornerback faces a top-level receiver. Early in the first half, though, it became clear that this matchup was personal. Tempers reached a boiling point when Gilmore and Brown were locked facemask-to-facemask (presumably) trash-talking each other.
From that point on, Gilmore played like a man possessed. As it turns out, Brown lit a fire under the veteran cornerback with a highly disrespectful comment that Gilmore revealed to reporters after the Cowboys' big win.
A.J. Brown calling Stephon Gilmore 'old' fueled Cowboys CB's big game vs Eagles
Brown indeed poked the bear and the Eagles suffered the consequences.
Coming out of halftime nursing a 24-6 lead, Gilmore forced a Brown fumble that was recovered by the Cowboys. Gilmore executed a perfect punch-tackle to jar the ball loose and linebacker Damone Clark was there to recover it. The play was an encapsulation of Gilmore's tight coverage and elite open-field tackling.
Though Brown caught nine passes for 94 yards, he couldn't do anything after the catch thanks to Gilmore. It's no secret that Brown is a menace on deep balls and creating yards after the catch. His longest catch of the night went for 25 yards. Gilmore deserves all of the praise for preventing Brown from turning the game on its head.
Very few cornerbacks have accomplished that this season, as Brown has posted over 100 receiving yards in seven separate games, including a historic stretch spanning Weeks 3-8 when he went over 100 yards in six straight contests.
"I was mad," Gilmore said of Brown's trash talk. "I was going to show him. That's the only thing I could do. I'm still here and I think I did that today."
Calling an aging player old is one of the most disrespectful forms of trash-talk. The 33-year-old Gilmore saw that as a challenge and he thoroughly dominated Brown by turning back the clock to 2019, when he won Defensive Player of the Year as a member of the Patriots.
Gilmore's been solid all year, but Sunday was far and away his best game as a Cowboy. Shoutout to Brown for awakening a sleeping giant.
Gilly Lock is back and better than ever.