The anticipation of a Dallas Cowboys stadium takeover was already bad. Then, owner Jerry Jones decided to add an extra layer of disrespect by announcing Jimmy Johnson’s induction into the Cowboy’s Ring of Honor in a press conference at Bank of America Stadium before the game. That could have waited. Nevertheless, there was a game to be played.
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys executed a surgical 10-play drive, ending with an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Luke Schoonmaker to crack the scoreboard first with 3:20 left in the first quarter. Linebacker Micah Parsons started what would be a rough day for Panthers quarterback Bryce Young when he sacked the rookie twice in the first quarter. The first three Carolina drives were halted by third down sacks. The Cowboys offense got a helpful nudge on the next drive when Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson was flagged for a 28 yard pass interference penalty. A couple of plays later, safety Xavier Woods was flagged for horse collar and face mask penalties on the same play, placing the ball on the 12-yard line with a fresh set of downs. Dallas settled for a 30-yard field goal and a 10-point lead. Carolina responded with a drive of their own, powered by running backs Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders. They couldn’t reach the end zone and settled for a 42 yard field goal by Eddy Pineiro to make the score 10-3 with under two minutes remaining in the half.
That proved to be more than enough time as the Panthers’ kickoff sailed out bounds, placing the ball at the 40. A few plays after a questionable unnecessary roughness penalty on Amare Barno, the defense would have had a third down stop had DeShawn Williams not been flagged for unnecessary roughness. Both penalties came in 3rd-and-long situations. With the ball inside the 10 and a fresh set of downs, Prescott was able to connect with wide receiver CeeDee Lamb for the score right before halftime and Dallas went into the locker room up 17-3.
Carolina showed signs of life in the third quarter, drawing within 7 after a 17-play drive that ate up nearly nine minutes of clock. Young found tight end Tommy Tremble in the end zone for the Panthers’ first offensive touchdown since the third quarter of the Week Nine loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Things could’ve gotten interesting with a stop, but the Cowboys converted on 3rd-and-short with a 24 yard pass to Jake Ferguson to end the third quarter. The drive rumbled on into the fourth quarter with running back Tony Pollard dragging several Panthers defenders into the end zone at the end of a 21-yard rushing score that pushed the lead to 24-10 with 13:58 left in the game. Ten seconds later, cornerback DaRon Bland undercut the route and hauled in his fourth pick six of the season, tying the league single season record and putting the game away in the process. Down 30-10 and 13:48 away from their tenth ninth loss of the season, the Panthers offensive line crumbled; Young was sacked three times in a row, fumbling on the third sack. The Cowboys recovered the ball at the Carolina 27-yard line and added another field goal for the game’s final points. The 33-10 loss drops the Panthers to 1-9 while the Cowboys improve to 7-3.
Young finished 16-of-29 for 123 yards, one touchdown and one interception while Prescott finished with 189 yards and two touchdowns on 25-of-38 passing.