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Week 4 Game Preview: Panthers at Cowboys

Sam Darnold

Game Reset

  • Carolina Panthers (3-0) at Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
  • AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
  • Sunday, Oct. 3 | 1 p.m. | FOX
  • Roster | Depth Chart | How to Watch

History: Panthers vs. Cowboys

  • Carolina is 5-9 all-time against Dallas, winning the last two games in the series in 2018 and 2015. Carolina is 2-4 all-time at Dallas.
  • Current Streak: Panthers W2
  • Last matchup: Carolina won 16-8 on 9/9/18
  • Sunday marks just the seventh time in 15 games that the teams have played on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Notable Connections


  • Left tackle Cameron Erving played for Dallas in 2020
  • Tight end Tommy Tremble's father, Greg Tremble, was on the Cowboys roster in 1995 for Super Bowl XXX
  • Kicker Zane Gonzalez is originally from Deer Park, Texas
  • A number of players and staff, including head coach Matt Rhule, spent time at Baylor


  • Quarterback Will Grier was drafted by Carolina in 2018 and played two years in Carolina
  • Safety Jayron Kearse and defensive end Carlos Watkins played at Clemson
  • Safety Israel Mukuamu played at South Carolina

After a close loss to Tampa Bay on opening night, Dallas (2-1) has impressive wins over the Chargers and Eagles and has the NFL world talking about a potential return to the playoffs — where Dallas hasn't advanced past the divisional round since losing to Carolina after the 1996 season.

On Monday, Dak Prescott played his first game at home since suffering a gruesome ankle injury against the Giants in Week 5 last season. Prescott was masterful against the Eagles, throwing for 238 yards and three touchdowns on 21-of-26 passing for a passer rating of 143.3. It marked the third-highest passer rating in a single game in his career.

After a pass-heavy attack in Week 1, the rushing attack took over with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard in Weeks 2 and 3. Pollard has been an important change of pace to Elliott, and the two backs have totaled 169 yards and 166 yards in the last two games, respectively. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb makes the big, splashy plays for the Cowboys on the outside, but watch out for Dalton Schultz at tight end. Schultz led the team with six receptions and two touchdowns on Monday, his second six-catch game of the year.

Table inside Article
Category Panthers Cowboys
Total Yards/Game 390.3 (10th) 416.7 (5th)
Rushing Yards/Game 105.7 (t-14th) 139.3 (4th)
Net Passing Yards/Game 284.7 (8th) 277.3 (10th)
Sacks Allowed 6 (t-11th) 7 (t-17th)
Third Down Efficiency 42.5 (t-11th) 53.8 (4th)
Points/Game 23.0 (16th) 30.0 (t-6th)
Total Yards/Game 191.0 (1st) 402.0 (t-26th)
Rushing Yards/Game 45.0 (1st) 70.3 (6th)
Passing Yards/Game 146.0 (1st) 331.7 (31st)
Sacks 14 (1st) 4 (t-29th)
Third Down Efficiency 21.2 (1st) 40.0 (t-17th)
Takeaways 3 (t-17th) 8 (1st)
Points Allowed/Game 10.0 (2nd) 23.0 (13th)

Stat Nuggets To Know


  • Carolina's defense once again leads the NFL in yards allowed (191.0), rushing yards allowed (45.0), passing yards allowed (146.0), sacks (14) and third down percentage (21.2). The 573 total yards allowed is the fewest by a 3-0 team since 1992.
  • The Panthers have yet to trail an opponent in a game this year, the only team in the NFL that can boast that.
  • Carolina's run defense has made initial contact with rushers 0.22 yards behind the line of scrimmage, best in the NFL. The team has yet to allow a rushing TD from a running back this season.
  • As the team leads the NFL with 14 sacks, nine different players have contributed to that total, the most in the league.
  • Through three games, Carolina has a +34 point differential in the first half, second-best in the NFL.
  • Carolina and Dallas are two of just three teams that have run at least 90 rushing plays and 100 passing plays this season.
  • Carolina has averaged a time of possession of 35:12, second-best in the NFL, while 74 total first downs tie for fourth in the league.


  • Quarterback Sam Darnold is averaging 296.0 passing yards per game and a 99.0 passer rating. His three rushing touchdowns tie for the most in the NFL among all rushers and his personal season high.
  • Wide receiver DJ Moore is currently eighth in the NFL with 285 receiving yards and fifth with 22 receptions. His 16 receiving first downs are tied for second in the NFL.
  • Linebacker Haason Reddick ranks third in the NFL with 4.5 sacks. He has recorded a sack in one of every 13.5 passing rushing snaps. In 2020 and 2021, Reddick has six strip-sacks which leads the NFL.
  • Defensive end Brian Burns has 3.0 sacks which ties for eighth in the NFL. He has recorded sacks in five consecutive games played, dating back to 2020.
  • Linebacker Shaq Thompson currently leads the team with 20 tackles. According to PFF, he's allowed an opposing passer rating of just 39.3 in pass coverage snaps, best among qualified NFL linebackers.
  • Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones has eight QB hurries, according to PFF, tied for seventh among interior defensive linemen.

Milestones in Reach

DJ Moore

  • Needs 462 receiving yards to pass Wesley Walls (3,902) for fourth place in Panthers history.

Haason Reddick, Brian Burns

  • Each need 1.0 sack at Dallas to become the first pair of Panthers teammates with at least one sack in four consecutive games.
  • They would become the fifth pair of teammates in NFL history (since sacks became official in 1982) to each record sacks in first four games of a season.

Haason Reddick

  • Needs 1.5 sacks to tie Lamar Lathon (1996, 6.0) for the second-most sacks in a season's first four games in Panthers history.

Brian Burns

  • Needs one sack to tie Kevin Greene (1998) for the longest streak of games (6) with at least 1.0 sack in franchise history.
  • Needs 1.5 sacks to pass Kris Jenkins (20.5) for seventh among defensive linemen in Panthers history

Shaq Thompson

  • Needs 15 tackles to pass Chris Gamble (493) for fifth all time in Panthers history.

Donte Jackson

  • Needs five interceptions to pass Richard Marshall/Doug Evans (14) for fifth all-time in franchise history

Jeremy Chinn

  • Needs 30 tackles to pass Will Witherspoon (157) for the most tackles in the first two seasons by a non-middle linebacker.

Carolina is 5-9 all-time against Dallas, winning the last two in the series.