Back in Week 4, The Dallas Cowboys got run over by the Cleveland Browns, allowing 307 total rushing yards and three rushing scores in a 49-38 home loss.
Talk of the Browns running laps around the ‘Boys’ defense is resurfacing this week as Dallas prepares to take on the Minnesota Vikings. Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski came from Minnesota and runs a similar ground-first offense to the one the Vikings deploy.
Given the overlap in philosophy, it’s not hard to see why Cowboys fans might fear they’ll be plowed over once again.
Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, however, sees it otherwise.
“I feel like we’re a different team, we’re playing totally different, energy is totally different and this will not be a repeat of the Browns game,” he said, via the team’s official website. “I feel like our feet are underneath us, we’re starting to play with more a football IQ and understand more of what our coaches want from us and we’re going out there and playing hard.”
In their last game before the Week 10 bye, the Cowboys held Pittsburgh to just 46 rushing yards. It was just the second time in nine games Dallas didn’t allow at least 110 rushing yards. The Steelers’ run game has struggled mightily in recent weeks, so suggesting the Cowboys made massive improvements due to one outing would be faulty.
Lawrence sees a similar Vikings offense to the one he faced against Cleveland, but the Pro Bowler believes Dalvin Cook is even better than the Browns backs, Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb (who got injured early in the game against Dallas).
“We feel like it’s pretty similar,” Lawrence said. “We feel like Dalvin Cook is a more elite back just by his skills and how he can cut the ball back at any moment on you, but we feel like we’re going to see mostly the same scheme and that’s it.”
If Lawrence and the rest of the Cowboys D don’t stuff Cook, the NFL’s leading rusher will dominate, and it’ll feel like déjà vu in Dallas.