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3 Stars from the Dallas Cowboys Week 1 Loss to the Carolina Panthers

The Dallas Cowboys don’t seem to know how to give us nice things. After an offseason of hype and hoopla and a growing swell of optimism, they came in and popped our newly inflated party balloon and then smiled as they did it.

Okay, that may be a bit harsh, but I’m writing this on Sunday night and the wound is still fresh. 

The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday to the score of 16-8 and there were several players on both sides of the ball that stood out in the Cowboys defeat.

Here are week one’s 3 Stars.

First Star: Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers

On Sunday afternoon, Carolina Panthers’ Linebacker Luke Kuechly made his presence felt to the tune of 13 total tackles (11 solo). He was all over the place and disruptive in the run and pass game. He’s one of the best linebackers in the NFL and he showed it on Sunday.

The Carolina Panthers’ defense made life extremely difficult for the Dallas Cowboys and Luke Kuechly was a big reason why.

Tiffany Blackmon on Twitter

Caught up with Luke Kuechly after the game. https://t.co/waPKI4J6tG

Second Star: DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys

If there was a reason that the Dallas Cowboys were able to hang around on Sunday, it was because of a stellar defensive performance from Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence.

Lawrence, like Kuechly, was all over the field and in the backfield a lot. He finished the day with seven tackles (six solo), a sack, three tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery.

There isn’t a defensive player more important to the Dallas Cowboys success than Lawrence. His ability to rush the passer and play the run at equally elite levels makes him a very difficult player to scheme against and can change the momentum of the game, much like he did today.

Despite the excellent game he had, he had this to say, per David Helman from DallasCowboys.com.

David Helman on Twitter

DeMarcus Lawrence played like a Pro Bowler today, notching seven tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery – and he didn’t want to talk about it #cowboyswire

Third Star: Shaq Thompson, Carolina Panthers

This may be an exaggeration, but as I was enjoying, ehhh, watching the game on Sunday, it seemed like one name kept popping up over and over. Carolina Panthers’ Linebacker Shaq Thompson.

His name kept ringing through my head anytime a Dallas Cowboys’ drive stalled out through the first three quarters of the game. Whether it was playing the run or putting pressure on Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott, Thompson was making his presence felt throughout the week one contest.

Thompson was credited with nine tackles (five solo) a tackle for loss and a sack on the day. As an extra rusher he was regularly making things difficult for the Dallas Cowboys.

Film Review: RB Christian McCaffrey Presents Long List Of Problems For Cowboys Defense
Carolina Panthers’ Running Back Christian McCaffrey

Honorable Mention

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

The name on the offensive side of the ball that stood out time and again was Running Back Christian McCaffrey. When the Carolina Panthers needed a play to extend a drive, it was McCaffrey coming up big with a run or a catch to move the chains. Aside from the fumble in the red zone early in the game, McCaffrey played a really good football game.

He was a nightmare matchup for the Dallas Cowboys totaling 95 total yards on 16 touches and a touchdown.

Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys

Not much good could be said about the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive performance, but Wide Receiver Cole Beasley certainly provided a bright spot.

Beasley was the only receiver to consistently make plays and he picked up several key first downs in the second half to get the Dallas Cowboys rolling.

Beasley finished the day with seven catches for 73 yards on eight targets. He found openings in the Carolina Panthers zone coverage and regularly beat his guy in man coverage. There were other times that the ball didn’t go Beasley’s way that it maybe should have. But that’s arm-chair quarterbacking. The point is, that aside from Beasley, there wasn’t much good going on with the Dallas Cowboys offense.

He looks to be poised for a bounce-back season after a flop of a 2017.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Here were my 3 Stars from week one. Who were your stand out performances?

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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