Into the fourth quarter Monday night, CeeDee Lamb hadn't done much. The Cowboys' new No. 1 receiver hadn't had a big impact. His biggest moment this season wasn't a good one, dropping what would have been an enormous catch in the first half against the New York Giants. He had been mostly a ghost when the offense desperately needed him to make plays.
When the Cowboys needed him most in the fourth quarter, Lamb came alive. He held on to a 4-yard catch on fourth-and-4 despite a hard hit. He got loose for 26 yards down to the 1-yard line. Then he made a remarkable touchdown catch, pulling in a Cooper Rush pass with one hand and tapping his toes in bounds. It was a highlight-reel catch.
Those three plays were the biggest difference in a huge 23-16 win for the Cowboys, who are trying to stay in the playoff race until Prescott returns from thumb surgery. They're doing a good job of it.
Dallas is 2-0 with Rush starting, which is better than anyone could have hoped for. Rush did his job again on Monday night. The defense was fantastic. But Lamb was the hero after a rough start.
Offenses start very slow on 'MNF'
The game didn't have a touchdown until about two hours after it kicked off. Saquon Barkley, who looks rejuvenated this season, had a nice touchdown run, cutting back across the field for 36 yards and the score. That gave the Giants a 13-6 lead with less than six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Cowboys' offense, which had been dormant all night, came alive after the Barkley touchdown. Dallas had its best drive to that point of the night, going 75 yards on nine plays. Ezekiel Elliott scored from 1-yard out to tie the game.
It took a while, but there was suddenly some intrigue on "Monday Night Football."
One of the reasons there were so few points was that Lamb dropped a potential touchdown pass right in his hands. Rush hit him 40 yards downfield and he had a good shot at a 52-yard touchdown but he simply dropped a perfect pass. There were other moments Monday night when Lamb didn't rise to the occasion. Through 11 quarters of the season he was a bit of a disappointment.
He made up for that and then some when he got hot in the fourth quarter and carried the Cowboys to a lead. That's what the Cowboys wanted to see this season, and it's exactly what they needed to steal a big game on Monday night.
Cowboys staying alive without Dak Prescott
The NFC East probably won't be very good this season, outside of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants started 2-0 but nobody really bought into them after two close wins against mediocre teams. The Washington Commanders are probably bad again.
The Cowboys had a ready-made excuse. Prescott has been out since suffering a thumb injury late in a Week 1 loss, though he hopes to return soon. Until he's back, the Cowboys' offense will struggle to score. Rush has done well as a fill-in, but it's different when Prescott is starting.
They are competing without Prescott. The defense had a great pass rush and kept the Cowboys in the game. Dallas looked like it was in trouble after Barkley's touchdown, but it responded in a big way. The Giants still had their chances. They had 91 yards to go with less than two minutes left after a Cowboys punt. Trevon Diggs picked off Daniel Jones with 1:09 left and the win was secured.
The Cowboys were looking at the possibility of a horrific start with Prescott missing multiple weeks, but they have pulled together, the defense has been really good and they have gotten big plays when they needed them. It looks like they'll still be within range of the Eagles by the time Prescott returns. That's impressive.
If Dallas makes the playoffs, Monday night's win will be a big reason for that. And Lamb should get plenty of the credit.