When the 2022 schedule came out, Week 17’s clash between the Titans and Cowboys figured to have massive implications in both conferences. But now the Cowboys are already in the playoffs, and Tennessee’s fortunes won’t change win or lose. The Titans may rest much of their team, even as the Cowboys look to keep riding their Christmas Eve momentum into the New Year. Injury updates show who’s trending towards suiting up, including rookie Sam Williams, who had a terrifyingly close call just days ago.
Elsewhere, we’ve got more on Dallas’s big win over Philadelphia: a breakdown and alternate angle of TY Hilton’s game-changing moment, a nuts-and-bolts look at how a play that the Jaguars used against Dallas may have turned the tide for the Cowboys, Micah Parsons’s new move that may look familiar to fans of a certain age, and inside big games from both Dak Prescott and DaRon Bland.
CeeDee Lamb climbs the Cowboys record books, the lack of curtains at AT&T Stadium may have cost Michael Gallup a touchdown, and a deep dive into the playoff scenarios that could still play out for the Cowboys. Here’s the News and Notes.
Tennessee Titans’ Mike Vrabel explains whether resting players vs. Cowboys is the right choice :: The Tennessean
Already riding a five-game losing streak, the Titans may not be extra motivated to snap that skid when they host the Cowboys. Win or lose in Week 17, the AFC South will end up being decided by the Tennessee-Jacksonville tilt in the season finale. With several players dinged up and nothing material to gain by winning in a short week, Titans coach Mike Vrabel all but admitted that many of his players will sit out Thursday night.
Week 17 injury report: RBs Pollard, Henry miss Cowboys-Titans practices :: Cowboys Wire
Leighton Vander Esch’s neck injury kept him out of Monday’s walkthrough. Tony Pollard sat out with a thigh issue. Sam Williams, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Jayron Kearse were all limited. Zack Martin, Dorance Armstrong, and Noah Brown were estimated as full participants. For the Titans, Derrick Henry, Bud Dupree, Amani Hooker, and Ryan Tannehill were among the 11 players who did not practice.
TY Hilton slays in Cowboys debut with clutch 3rd-and-30 grab: ‘That’s what I do’ :: Cowboys Wire
Hilton’s first catch as a Cowboy- and his only grab Saturday- was a 3rd-and-30 improbability that proves that maybe the entire league had given up on the 10-year veteran prematurely. “I can still play,” he said. “If you think I can’t play, then that’s on you.” If first impressions can be believed, his addition could be a massive upgrade entering the playoffs.
Prowess in the Clutch: Cowboys elite 3rd-down efficiency proves decisive :: Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys are converting third downs at a higher rate than anyone, and they’re producing bigger plays than anyone in the process. The offense has been especially proficient on third down since Dak Prescott has been back under center.
End-zone angle of Prescott’s red-beam dot to Hilton gives goosebumps :; Cowboys Wire
Sure, Prescott’s throw and Hilton’s catch were plenty impressive when you saw it from your couch Saturday. But you’ll have a whole new appreciation for the ridiculous play when you see the head-on video shot from the end zone by Fox photojournalist Chris Hanks.
See how Kellen Moore steals sneaky run, allows Cowboys to turn tide vs Eagles :: Cowboys Wire
Hilton’s heroics aside, the real play of the game may have been a 4th-and-1 run in the third quarter. The Cowboys broke out a play they’d never run before… and likely stole from Jacksonville after getting beaten with it the week prior. A detailed breakdown shows a unique formation and unusual pre-snap motion that got the Eagles to bite. Then Dak Prescott turned a fake sneak into a perfect ball flip, and Ezekiel Elliott did the rest for a 22-yard pickup that helped launch a Dallas comeback.
Sam Williams on crash: ‘I could’ve been gone’ :: The Mothership
Life flashed before the rookie’s eyes just a few days before Christmas when another motorist sideswiped his Corvette. “It could’ve been worse,” Williams said of the wreck that totaled his car and left him concussed. “I was thinking about my son a lot, and his mom. I could’ve been gone that fast, without seeing them to say goodbye. I was going home to them — like five or six minutes from my house.” Still bruised from the collision and the deployment of his airbag, Williams has been cleared to return to practice ahead of Thursday night’s game.
‘Make one more stop’: Cowboys CB DaRon Bland says team mindset sparked key play vs Eagles :: Cowboys Wire
The fifth-round rookie didn’t get a single defensive snap in five of his first six games. But he’s made up for lost time and now leads the team in interceptions. “Any time the ball is in the air,” he said, “I think it’s mine.” But he credits his teammates for giving him the confidence to play like a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
No ordinary Bubba: Micah Parsons’ newest move harkens back to the 1970s :: Yardbarker
Brian Baldinger has spotted a new move that Parsons seems to have added to his pass-rushing toolbox. The linebacker employed a momentary stutter-step on several Week 16 plays that caused real problems for the Eagles’ Jordan Mailata. Baldinger noted that Lions great Bubba Baker used the same technique in the late ’70s and early ’80s with great effectiveness. Parsons responded to the Twitter breakdown by jokingly admonishing Baldinger for revealing his secret.
‘Is this really happening?’ Dak Prescott shakes off early pick-six ghost in Cowboys win :: Cowboys Wire
It was deja vu all over again as Prescott helplessly chased a defender into the end zone for the second week in a row. But proving the coaching staff’s assessment that the man never blinks, Prescott rallied himself and the offense for a sensational game that saw him notch a season high in passing yards en route to a key divisional win.
CeeDee Lamb: Most yards in a single season since Dez Bryant :: Inside the Star
Lamb hit 1,207 receiving yards on Saturday night. That’s good for the 12th-best single season ever for a Cowboys receiver. That should put to bed any concerns about the Oklahoma product being able to put up true WR1 numbers. With two games still to go, Lamb has a very good chance at ending up as high as No. 3 on the all-time franchise list.
NFL fans crushed the Cowboys and their stadium after the sun seemed to prevent a Dallas TD :: For the Win
Michael Gallup seemed to lose a likely touchdown grab in the glare of the sun shining directly through AT&T Stadium’s famous end zone windows. And yes, fans unloaded once again about how the billion-dollar venue could use a good set of curtains. But the photos sure are pretty.
Cowboys-Eagles coverage, awards :: Cowboys Wire
Cowboys clinch top wild card, here’s how win puts playoff pressure on Eagles :: Cowboys Wire
Dallas can be no worse than the 5th seed. But there’s still a chance at the NFC East title, and it’s even possible the Cowboys could end up the No. 1 seed in the conference. Granted, there’s just a 0.8% chance of all seven necessary planets aligning properly, but the way this season has gone around the league, crazier things have happened.
Report: Cowboys DC Dan Quinn already being eyed in Denver as Broncos fire HC Nathaniel Hackett :: Cowboys Wire
Quinn was a finalist for the Denver job when it was open in January, and his old friend George Paton will remain the Broncos’ GM. It’s thought that the ownership wants a coach who has familiarity with quarterback Russell Wilson. Besides knowing him well from their two Super Bowl runs in Seattle, Quinn could also theoretically bring current Cowboys consultant Brian Schottenhemier- the Seahawks OC from 2018 through 2020- with him to sweeten the deal.
Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire