What DeMarcus Lawrence has been waiting for has finally arrived. The Cowboy’s defensive end had not collected three sacks in a game in almost four years before Monday night’s matchup against the Giants.
And before Lawrence’s three-sack performance against Daniel Jones in Week 3, he hadn’t finished a game with more than one sack since November of 2018. The nine-year veteran was relieved to put an opponent quarterback on the ground again after going scoreless in Weeks 1 and 2.
After the 23-16 victory, Lawrence told reporters, “The first two games didn’t go as smoothly as I intended.” Every day I had to go out and fight my way to these sacks. They just show up in groups.
But Lawrence hasn’t had many games where he had multiple sacks in a single outing. On Monday, he hit a trifecta at the Meadowlands, which was tied for his best in his professional career. (And, curiously enough, Lawrence’s three three-sack games have all occurred in the last week of September: 2017, 2018, and now 2022.)
However, the Cowboys as a team have been scoring in bunches. The team’s five sacks against Jones contribute to the league-leading 13 sacks they’ve already recorded through three weeks. At that rate, they would break the previous single-season record set by the 1984 Bears with 71 sacks.-
— TheCowboysWire (@TheCowboysWire) September 27, 2022
Lawrence knew that his sack rate of 4.3 per game was unsustainable, but he was just delighted to be among the team leaders. He’s second in sacks, trailing linebacker Micah Parsons by only one. to the point that he believes he can beat out the current defensive rookie of the year in the upcoming game against Washington.
The former Boise State second-round draft pick gave his word that he would. After losing up the sacks crown to Parsons in just Parsons’ rookie season, veteran Lawrence announced over the summer that he wants to reclaim the title.
Parsons, for his part, is up for the challenge because he understands that healthy competition strengthens Dallas’ defense. Parsons was “very happy” about Monday night’s win in New York, he said. In the game, Parsons recorded two quarterback hits but no sacks.
My neck is being pressed against and I can feel his breath on it as he warns me that he’s coming for me. Tank owes me a favor. That’s to be expected from the rival, though. It seems to me that he is one of the best rushers in the league. I know he’s been scratching his head wondering when his injuries will heal, but he’s been as dominant as ever as of late. I need him badly for this to work.
On Monday night, however, it appeared for a time that he might have to. It looked like foot trouble when Lawrence departed the field in the third quarter. After chatting with his coaches for a bit on the field, he left on his own two feet. However, he went to the on-field medical tent and the team’s locker room to get his broken left foot checked out again (10 games missed in 2021).
Lawrence’s injury scare on Monday made for a tense period, but he returned in the fourth quarter and finished the game with six tackles and three sacks on just 39 defensive snaps, despite playing the entire game.
To which I said, “I’m OK. After such a hard-fought victory, one would expect to feel some pain. After the event, he reassured the press that he would be fine. “I was in the dark. I was afraid of making things worse than they already were if I took a gamble. A minor ache at most.
Despite the short week leading up to Washington’s visit, the 30-year-old promises he’ll be on the field, hopefully adding to his sack total with another lot. If so, Lawrence would have the upper hand against his younger teammate, who insists they aren’t betting for anything other than bragging rights and the chance to help the Dallas defense advance further this season. Parsons said, “It’s just a respect thing.” It’s all about the competition. There are no stakes other than “who wants to be bigger.”