It was a major blow to the Dallas Cowboys and their pass rush when Defensive End Randy Gregory was put on injured reserve after injuring his calf last week. As is the case when any big-time player goes down it created an opportunity for someone to step up in his absence. Dorance Armstrong, who's been with the Cowboys since 2018 and is currently in a contract season, rose to the challenge against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 10.
Armstrong's performance was arguably his best since entering the NFL. He set the edge in the run game and got pressure on Matt Ryan not only from the outside but by stunting inside also. The former fourth-round pick finished with three tackles (one tackle for loss), three quarterback hits, and a blocked punt which was recovered for a touchdown by rookie Cornerback Nahshon Wright. He became the first player in Cowboys history with a sack and a blocked punt in the same game. Also, he's the first player in the NFL to accomplish that since his current teammate Tarell Basham in 2019 when he was a member of the New York Jets.
Gorgeous stutter to slap-swim from Dorance Armstrong to beat rookie Jalen Mayfield for the sack. Love the way DA reduces his right shoulder to evade Mayfield's attempt to establish contact. Beautiful! #Cowboys pic.twitter.com/8gHZLS8oqg
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) November 17, 2021
Good for Dorance Armstrong.
Good for Nahshon Wright.
(via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/cNyrZda0eb
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) November 14, 2021
The three quarterback hits were the most Armstrong has ever had in a game. It equaled his total in that category from his rookie season, was one shy of what he had in 2019, and is two more than he had all of last season.
For the 2021 season so far, the Chiefs rank third in passing yards per game. This means that Armstrong will need to put together another big performance. Whether it be from the edge or the interior, Armstrong has to find a way to be in the face of Patrick Mahomes and keep him flustered. He'll need to be stout against the run as well with Clyde Edwards-Helaire returning from a knee injury to join Darrel Williams.
The talent has always been there with Armstrong. He had a minor setback earlier in the season when he missed four games due to a high ankle sprain. However, last week against the Falcons, he showed that he can be a valuable piece to the Cowboys' defensive line, he just needs to show it consistently.