All three phases. That’s football lingo you’ll often hear when a team is deemed to have played a complete game. And the Dallas Cowboys did just that on Sunday with a 40-3 blowout victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11.
The three phases refer to offense, defense, and special teams. Against the Vikings, the Cowboys offense was able to generate 40 points with both of their star running backs, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, scoring two touchdowns each.
On defense, the Cowboys posted a jaw-dropping seven sacks against Minnesota, the most they’ve had in a game all season. Two of those sacks were credited to the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year in linebacker Micah Parsons. With his performance against the Vikings, Parsons has now racked up 10.0 sacks on the season, the second-highest total in the NFL.
On special teams, it was kicker Brett Maher who showed out in Minnesota. Making the most of his second-stint on America’s Team, Maher connected on all four of his field goal attempts. And those included makes from 27, 50, 53, and 60 yards away.
And while the offense and the defense make most of the headlines, the play of the special teams unit under coordinator John “Bones” Fassel has been … well, special. On a recent episode of the Break podcast, 105.3 The Fan’s Bryan Broaddus talked about how the trio of Maher, punter Bryan Anger, and returner KaVontae Turpin can impact the win column.
“Let’s be honest. This whole special teams thing has been money the whole year. The returner’s been money. The punter’s been money. The kicker’s been money. They’ve done a great job with this crew. They have legitimate weapons with all three of those guys that can switch a game or flip a game in your direction.”Bryan Broaddus on the Break Podcast on Monday
Kicker Brett Maher has connected on 19 of his 21 field goal attempts and 26 of 27 on extra point tries this season. His 90.5 field goal percentage is tied for 11th best in the NFL. Punter Bryan Anger’s 48.7 yards per punt average is eighth best in the league and his five touchbacks is tied for third most.
Finally, wide receiver KaVontae Turpin’s kick return average of 24.1 lands him ninth in the NFL, with his longest return being 63 yards, which is the fifth biggest return in the NFL this season. Turpin also has 238 punt return yards, also the fifth most in the league.
On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys proved they can be special in all three phases of the game. Just remember when you are handing out those accolades after a big win, be sure this special teams unit gets their due as well.