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Cowboys top perfect Panthers, and their big-play defense should have NFC worried

There were few questions about the Dallas Cowboys offense entering this season.

As long as Dak Prescott is healthy, this unit was going to be potent. 

The defense? That was an altogether different prospect. The NFL’s 28th-ranked unit in 2020 looked like the weak link of a franchise desperately hoping to return to Super Bowl glory. Dallas’ young defenders apparently missed that memo.

The Cowboys prevailed in a 36-28 showdown with Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Their offense — led by 143 Ezekiel Elliott rushing yards and four Dak Prescott passing touchdowns — was dynamic, as usual. But it’s the efforts of a ball-hawking, playmaking defense that should have NFC contenders worried. 

Yes, the Cowboys gave up 28 points and allowed 379 yards of offense. But it came up with five sacks of Sam Darnold and two turnovers on interceptions from rising star Trevon Diggs. It was the exact kind of effort the Cowboys need to balance an offense that’s expected to get the job done every week. 

Cowboys defenders

Micah Parsons (11) and cornerback Trevon Diggs (7) Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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