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Amari Cooper Produces Record-Setting Performance vs Buccaneers

Amari Cooper added a new dimension to the Dallas Cowboys’ offense when he arrived around midseason in 2018, and he racked up 725 yards and six touchdowns in his nine games with the team. In his first full season with the Cowboys in 2019, Cooper set career highs in yards (1,189), touchdowns (8), and yards per catch (15.1). Last season, despite playing with four different quarterbacks, he set a career-high with 92 receptions.

With Dak Prescott making his return from a season-ending ankle injury that cost him 11 games in 2020, the expectations for what Cooper would be able to accomplish this season were sky-high. After missing most of training camp due to the effects of offseason ankle surgery, Cooper’s first test would be against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that was a top-five unit a season ago. A tall task for sure, but Cooper was more than ready.

The former first-round pick caught each of his first 10 targets on Thursday night. By games end, Cooper had amassed 13 receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns. It set a career-high for him for receptions in a game and also set a record for the most catches by Cowboys receiver in a season opener.

SportsCenter on Twitter: “Dak to Amari Cooper AGAIN 🔥Second TD of the night for the duo.(via @NFL)pic.twitter.com/6gW0EhKzTy / Twitter”

Dak to Amari Cooper AGAIN 🔥Second TD of the night for the duo.(via @NFL)pic.twitter.com/6gW0EhKzTy

One knock on Cooper heading into last season was that he didn’t play well on the road. He didn’t do much to help his case in 2019 with just 27 receptions for 320 yards. Last season, despite the quarterback carousel and 13 different offensive line combinations, Cooper had 48 receptions for 448 yards on the road. So, with his record-setting performance against one of the league’s best defensive units on Thursday, Cooper has put the notion that he’s only a top-notch performer when he plays in AT&T Stadium to rest.

Cooper’s Week 1 numbers were a continuation of the unreal connection he’s developed with Dak Prescott. Over the last 17 games that they’ve played together, Cooper has hauled in 108 passes for 1,443 yards. Over that span, he’s had six 100-yard games and five games of double-digit receptions. Also, over the last five full games Cooper has had Prescott under center he’s caught 50 out of 67 targets (74.6%).

Cooper is known as one of the best route runners in the NFL. That was on full display against the Buccaneers. According to Next Gen Stats, Cooper caught passes on seven different routes on Thursday night.

Next Gen Stats on Twitter: “Amari Cooper showed off his versatility with a reception on 7 different routes.Cooper was especially successful on vertical routes, catching all 3 targets for 54 yards and 2 TD.#DALvsTB | #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/tcfg6lCxAD / Twitter”

Amari Cooper showed off his versatility with a reception on 7 different routes.Cooper was especially successful on vertical routes, catching all 3 targets for 54 yards and 2 TD.#DALvsTB | #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/tcfg6lCxAD

Although he was lights out in the season opener, Cooper wasn’t satisfied with his performance.

“I feel like I could’ve cleaned some stuff up,” said Cooper. “I had a lot of catches, but I always focus on the ones that didn’t go my way that could’ve helped the team. There were some big plays that I left out there, some important plays that I left out there that I need to clean up.”

That’s the mark of a great player. To never be content and to keep pushing for more, no matter how much you stuff the stat sheet, especially in a loss.

2020 saw the emergence of rookie CeeDee Lamb as one of the NFL’s best young wide receivers. His 935 yards and five touchdowns made some think he had already surpassed Cooper as the Cowboy’s top option in the passing game. Well, after what he did against the Buccaneers, Cooper proved those thoughts were extremely premature.

What do you think?

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Written by Matthew Lenix

I write dope stuff about the Dallas Cowboys and what not.

4 Comments

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  1. If Cooper stays healthy and that is a BIG IF ….. he is definitely our number one receiver !People are quick to forget that before AC came to Dallas our offense was terrible! CD made some plays Thursday night but one that concerned me was when he went across the middle and Dak put the ball in between three defenders and CD didn’t make the play when it hit his hands! Maybe Im wrong and it won’t be the first time but I believe he heard footsteps and lost concentration ! Did anybody else see that or am I being too hard on him? Those are the type of plays you need to make to become an elite receiver in the NFL …. In my opinion!

  2. Cowboys Fan Ed- This was exactly the type of game Cooper needed to have to at least temporarily silence his critics. A great game on the road against a quality opponent, which he has not done enough in his career. Ur right he turned this offense around when he arrived in Dallas. But in fairness the Cowboys had the worst receiving corp in the league prior to his arrival. Credit goes to both him and Dak for immediately developing a rapport together.

    As for Lamb, I have been a big fan. But he is dropping too many catchable balls. He needs to make some of those tough clutch catches in a crowd or when he hears footsteps, to warrant the accolades that are coming his way. He is undoubtedly a great talent, but I don’t think ur being too hard on him. Cooper was the one that was suppose to be the finesse WR that shied from contact, but he was anything but that Thursday.

  3. I’d hold back on saying he silenced critics, (like me) Tampa is great D especially up front, but there corners as we saw are suspect, and it didn’t help that they had some injuries at corner

    Back to Coop , yes he’s absolutely unequivocally the number in big D, for now, but wait till we get closer towards the end of the season, I imagine Coop will have some injury that’ll hold him back from playing 100%, that’ll give Ceedee the opportunity to pass him by

    Now with that said, I agree with you both, he’s gotta start getting better at making clutch catches, he doesn’t have to be Jerry Rice, but he needs to catch more of these balls

    Also think he needs work on route running, getting in and out of breaks quicker, and just reading what the D gives you, maybe that comes with experience , there was a time or two where I see Dak throw a ball like it’s supposed to be inside, but Ceedee goes like it’s supposed to be outside

    I know we talk about Ceedee and Coop anymore, but man i think Gallup is my fave of those 3, sucks to see him gonna be out for awhile, just wanted to give him a shout out

  4. Yea that’s why I said Cooper only temporarily silenced critics. Obviously he has to continue to produce and stay healthy. But lets give him his props for coming up big in this game. Dak and him have a great rapport, and with his great route running he gets open alot.

    I think as Dak and Lamb play together more they will develop more of a rapport, and u will see more production. But he needs to cut down on his drops. That’s all on him.

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