The wait ended Sunday; we finally saw Michael Gallup retake the field after tearing his ACL on January 2nd. The 5th year receiver signed a five-year, $62 million extension with the Cowboys on March 13th, and Dallas got an immediate impact in his first game of the season.
Gallup only logged 39 of 61 snaps Sunday, a similar number to what I thought he might play, but in his first game back since Week 17 of the 2021 season, it took Michael Gallup less than two quarters to make a critical third-down catch and then a touchdown.
Gallup picked up right where he left off, making big-time plays when the team needs them made.
Although he only caught two passes for 24 yards, he hauled in the first Cowboys touchdown of the day near the end of the first half. The 9-yard touchdown grab gave the Cowboys the lead in a game where they never trailed again.
Welcome back, Michael Gallup
Cowboys 12, Commanders 7 pic.twitter.com/8qYXlUNRb0
Easing him back with a snap count before they ramp him up is probably the best thing for him. He gave himself another week to get mentally ready to trust that knee again. We saw yesterday on his touchdown that he may be getting close; he trusted himself to breakaway toward the back corner of the end zone and haul in his first touchdown.
Michael Gallup brings an element to the Cowboys that they need. He's a player that can stretch the defense and be a big target down the field.
What does this mean for the Cowboys from now on?
It could mean the Cowboys are getting healthy and adding a well-needed target to the mix of CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown. Brown has already eclipsed the expectations that I set for him. I thought Jalen Tolbert would be the WR2, and he's been a no-show, only being active for one of the first four games. Gallup returning helps the depth at the wide receiver position.
Dak Prescott says he is eying a return within the next couple of weeks, and having Gallup at his disposal would not hurt at all.
Michael Gallup had 2 catches for 24 yards and a crucial touchdown in his 1st game back from a torn ACL. He also drew three penalties on the Washington defense. “I’ve been envisioning it ever since I got hurt,” Gallup said. “It’s like when I come back, I need to make a statement.”
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) October 2, 2022
The presence of Gallup should allow Lamb to keep improving as the WR1. He has played well these last two weeks. It takes away the pressure of only having to worry about Lamb catching the football. Gallup has been a 1,000-yard receiver in this league; he is not someone many can defend 1-on-1 with the way he can high point the football.
If Cooper Rush starts this week — and it looks like he will — he will need to score a few more points to beat the Rams. The Cowboys' defense is the only unit in football yet to give up 20 points this season. Having Gallup play another 30-50 snaps could help him; I am looking forward to watching him regain his proper form as the season progresses. He is going to make things a little bit easier for the offense.