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5 stars from the Cowboys’ 49-29 win over the Bears

NFL: Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Pollard pounded the Bears for 3 TDs and leads the Cowboys list of stars.

An exhilarating game that had its peaks and valleys, the Dallas Cowboys managed to pull away late and defeat the Chicago Bears for their sixth win this season. The Cowboys’ defense yielded 240 rushing yards but still was able to force a pivotal turnover as the quarterback sacks kept rolling in. Quarterback Dak Prescott was even better in his second game back from injury, commanding the offense and incorporating his mobility in the offense. Prescott took away the game ball this week. Still, many of his teammates did their part to earn their way onto this week’s five stars.

Tony Pollard answers the call

Entering Sunday’s game, the Cowboys had a pretty strong indication Ezekiel Elliott would be unable to play. In response, the team elevated running backs Malik Davis and Qadree Ollison from the practice squad. Elliott’s replacement, Tony Pollard, was not phased and said, “If they call it, I’m ready to haul it.” Indeed, he was.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said in the post-game press conference that if needed, the plan was for Pollard to carry the football twenty times. Fortunately for the Cowboys. less was more. A lot more. Pollard ran the ball fourteen times for 131 yards for an average of a staggering 9.4 yards a carry to go along with three scores. Pollard’s 54-yard touchdown run was the finishing touch on a masterpiece of a performance.

We’ll have to see what Pollard’s big day against the Bears means going forward. The team could decide to increase his snaps and reduce Elliott’s role once he’s healthy. Pollard’s involvement means there’s one more weapon on the Dallas offense that opposing teams must account for. Dak Prescott’s touchdown run on the game’s opening drive was a direct result of the added attention on Pollard in the backfield.

CeeDee Lamb finds paydirt in the slot

As each week goes by, CeeDee Lamb grows more and more consistent within the Cowboys’ offense. Tasked with being the Cowboys’ top receiving threat, Lamb has the most eyes on him in the passing game, and rightfully so. His ability to attack defenses in the middle has proven to be effective for him and quarterback Dak Prescott. Once again, that took shape on Sunday.

Except for one pass that resulted in an interception and where Lamb probably could have made a better effort, Lamb was consistently carving up the Chicago Bears’ defense across the middle of the field. On one play, in particular, Lamb could feel the coverage of Bears defensive back Jaylon Johnson as he trailed him on a crossing pattern. To throw off Johnson’s coverage, Lamb stuttered his feet to momentarily freeze Johnson as he jumped to haul in a Prescott pass for a big gain.

However, the highlight of Lamb’s afternoon was his 21-yard touchdown catch. After coming across the formation in motion, Lamb widened his vertical release up the field to create inside leverage against Bears safety Jaquan Brisker. Prescott delivered a perfect pass to Lamb between an oncoming defender for Lamb’s third touchdown of the season. Once again paired with Dak Prescott, Lamb is hitting his stride and has limited the mental mistakes that had plagued his game earlier this season.

Schultz finds his comfort zone

As rookie tight ends Peyton Hendershot and Jake Ferguson have emerged and established roles for themselves, Dalton Schultz has become a forgotten man of sorts. The very same Dalton Schultz that caught 78 passes for 808 yards last season before earning the franchise tag last offseason. Simply put, Schultz is still a valuable option for the Cowboys’ offense as he reminded the fans and the Bears on Sunday.

Over the last month or so, Schultz has been playing injured, but you’d never know considering how he constantly was finding the soft areas in the Bears’ zone coverage. Schultz led the Cowboys in receptions with six on the day and was second on the team in receiving yards for a total of 74.

If there’s any player who benefits most from Prescott’s return to the starting lineup, it’s Dalton Schultz. Schultz’s 30-yard connection with Dak Prescott may be a sign of things to come if he can stay healthy.

You can’t hold him. You can only hope to contain him.

It must be a running joke at this point, if not an outright egregious oversight by the NFL officials. It seems like Micah Parsons is held on nearly every play, yet the penalty markers are curiously missing from the field. Offensive coordinators are hellbent on not allowing Parsons to be the reason for their team losing. Try as they might, the Lion is always hungry and wouldn’t be denied his meal.

Parsons feasted once again on Sunday, often occupying several Bears offensive linemen which he made light of.

As stated in the tweet, on this play Parsons managed to retrace his path back up the field to recover the Leighton Vander Esch forced fumble. Not only did Parsons show tremendous hustle in working his way back to the ball, but he also demonstrated his raw athleticism as he dodged and darted around several Chicago Bears to reach the end zone.

Parsons exhibited some signs of discomfort on the sideline during the game but will get plenty of time to recover over the much-needed bye week. Parsons is simply amazing. From saving a touchdown last week to scoring one of his own this week. There’s no better candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year than Micah Parsons.

Fowler the prowler

There are many deserving players of the last spot on this week’s 5 stars. For example, Jayron Kearse was key in the moments that he would come down in the box to make a tackle and force the Bears into a 2nd or 3rd and long situations. Then you have Leighton Vander Esch who may have played one of his best games in some time, meeting the ball carrier in the hole and also forcing the fumble that led to Parsons’ recovery for a touchdown.

With all that said, the last spot on this week’s 5 stars belongs to Dante Fowler Jr. Fowler was all over Justin Fields during the game. He was tied for the team-high with two tackles for loss and recorded a sack on the elusive Bears quarterback, and added one pass defense on a tipped ball. The Cowboys have a surplus of edge rushers that line up and disrupt the passing game.

As we head into the bye week and the trade deadline draws near, the Cowboys may part with one of the pass rushers in a trade. Fowler made his case against Chicago and showed why he’s one to hold on to.

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