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Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers Recap: NFL Sunday Aftermath

Nobody quite expected the to begin their season with a 3-0 start, but Matt Rhule and his team had the opportunity to prove any doubters wrong this Sunday by defeating the and proving their streak wasn't based on fortune.

After three games, the Panthers' led the league, entering this Sunday's game with the Cowboys as one of five undefeated teams. But the Panthers' defense that had seemed so strong went from allowing 45 rushing yards per game (within the first three weeks) to allowing to destroy that mark inside the first eight minutes of the game. The Panthers looked opposite to a top NFL team when facing their first real test this past Sunday, losing to the Cowboys 36-28.

Were The Panthers Exposed?

It's too early to say because the reality is that the was awful, allowing five while Sam Darnold threw two interceptions in the third quarter. But for all of the Panthers' mishaps, it became evident that Chuba Hubbard was no comparison to ; a hamstring was costly for their position. In addition, 's absence was also felt on the defense.

Quarterback Comedown – Sam Darnold

Despite becoming the victim of three sacks, the first-half performance of Sam Darnold was significantly more potent than his second-half outing. Darnold collected two touchdowns and completed 12 of 16 passes for 114 yards, but the QBs decision-making in the second half allowed two interceptions, and those picks should've never been thrown in the first place.

Darnold's struggle against the Dallas piled on; two interceptions could've saved the Panthers from 14 points and even won them the game, he continued delivering touchdowns, but the damage was already done.

While it's simple to focus on the and point fingers, his offensive line played their worst game all season when allowing 11 quarterback hurries. Quarterbacks require time, and if Darnold isn't given those extra vital seconds to make decisions, his performance will lack.

Panthers Defense Lost the Game

The game-changer which cost the Panthers their fourth consecutive victory was the flip-flopping defense which entered the game with the top pass defense and top . Stopping Ezekiel Elliott seemed impossible at times, and he finished the game with 143 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. Missed tackles became crucial, as the Cowboys finished with 245 total rushing yards.

Defense begins with stopping the run, something the Panthers failed to do on Sunday; combined with their inability to protect Darnold, they had no chance.

NFL officials played a small part in their downfall when a first-quarter fumble should've favored the Panthers. Instead, the officials' mistake switched the game's momentum, which would've seen the Panthers receiving the ball in Cowboys territory with a 7-7 score, and five plays later, the Cowboys pounced.

With that said, this particular mistake wouldn't have made the Panthers' ability to stop the run game any better.

A late comeback saw the Panthers cut the deficit to eight points, but Elliott continued finding gaps to punish the opposition.

In their first meeting with a playoff-caliber team, the Panthers were obviously in too deep, but judging performance on a team that wasn't equipped with the same players of past weeks would be unethical. Next Sunday, let's see how they bounce back against the , a team that could provide the Panthers with a 4-1 record.

The Cowboys Roll into Week 5 Oozing Confidence

The Cowboys opened as a -7.5 favorite versus the NY Giants next Sunday, a position which they deserve and could easily accomplish. The NFL point spreads might change as we get closer to kickoff so make sure to give them a look.

Don't get me wrong, defeating the Panthers wasn't that impressive. However, said Panthers win could age very well – should Carolina's defense continue their original form against the Eagles. For Dallas, only time will tell if their offensive dominance is based on how good they are or how bad the Panthers' defense can be.

3-1 heading into a string of fixtures against the Giants, Patriots, Vikings, and the Broncos could undoubtedly put them on a 7-1 streak. And to the Cowboys' credit, they've yet to face an easy team, and success over the Panthers has given a tight grip on the .

Dallas Cowboys vs. NY Giants

Next week the Cowboys will take on their second divisional matchup of the season versus the G-Men, who won their first game of the season this past weekend. With that said, it's hard to envision the Giants going head-to-head and keeping up with the Cowboys' .

Comparing last year's Cowboys team versus the Giants isn't viable; since their 2021/22 season start, the offense has scored at will with extra possessions.

The -7.5 point spread looks good, and with the Cowboys covering the spread in all four games this season, one would believe it's the wager to make. However, it'll be the largest spread the Cowboys have received all season, and in the NFL, nothing is ever that simple.

Star Staff
Star Staff
This is the General Staff account for Inside The Star, a blog for Dallas Cowboys news, scores, schedule, rumors, and analysis. We are the official home for @CowboysNation on Twitter. Follow us today for new content updates straight from our timeline. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Staff listing.

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All you damned media types need to quit anointing the cowboys so much ! I love my cowboys too, but they’ve got to keep the fires burning or you know what can happen with a lot of big attitudes on our team !

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