Panthers at Cowboys
Expanded coverage of Carolina’s Week 4 game
The Carolina Panthers are 3-0. They’re alone in first place in the NFC South. Sam Darnold is playing at a level well beyond anything he ever did as a New York Jet.
Carolina is a team that entered the season as an afterthought but has turned into one with enough hype that the majority of the country will get to watch it on Fox today.
But before anyone crowns the Panthers as a team to beat in the NFL, they’ll first need to knock off the Cowboys and move to 4-0, because their undefeated road so far has been relatively easy:
▪ They played the Jets in Week 1.
▪ They beat a Saints team that was down seven starters in Week 2.
▪ They won at Houston in Week 3 when the Texans were down to third-string rookie QB Davis Mills.
Today will be the Panthers’ first challenge of the season. If they beat the 2-1 Cowboys (Vegas is favoring Dallas by 4 points), then it’s time to have a talk about Carolina being a serious contender to challenge Tampa Bay for the divisional title.
The Observer has three journalists in Arlington for the game, including beat reporter Jonathan M. Alexander and columnist Scott Fowler. Follow along here for live updates and video highlights throughout the day.
What’s the Panthers score right now?
FINAL: Cowboys 36, Panthers 28
The Panthers fought back, but the Cowboys cemented their win with a creative run for a first down on third down on the game’s last consequential play.
Carolina is now 3-1 on the year.
Hold on, Panthers have one last shot: DJ Moore TD pulls score to 36-28
DJ Moore scored again with 4:36 remaining in the game from 8 yards out to pull the game within one possession.
DJ Moore TD: Cowboys 36, Panthers 21
The Panthers earned a largely inconsequential score with 9:05 remaining in the fourth quarter when quarterback Sam Darnold found DJ Moore for a 6-yard touchdown. The play punctuated a 10-play, 75-yard drive.
Moore now has seven catches on 11 targets for 105 yards and a touchdown. Darnold is now 22 of 33 for 228 yards and a touchdown passing. The quarterback has also thrown two interceptions.
Zuerlein FG: Cowboys 36, Panthers 14
The Cowboys’ 23rd unanswered point comes thanks to Greg Zuerlein, who nailed a 37-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter after Trevon Diggs collected his second interception of the day.
Dak Prescott to Cedrick Wilson TD: Cowboys 33, Panthers 14
Seems like the game’s proverbial dagger has come early.
Three plays after Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold was intercepted by Trevon Diggs, Dak Prescott found Cedrick Wilson for a 23-yard touchdown to extend the Cowboys’ lead with 2:23 remaining in the third quarter.
Dallas has now scored 20 unanswered points.
Dalton Schultz TD: Cowboys 26, Panthers 14
Dak Prescott found Dalton Schultz for a six-yard touchdown to extend the Cowboy lead and cap a four-play, 66-yard drive with 7:24 remaining in the third quarter.
Dallas’ two-point conversion attempt was no good.
Prescott has completed 12 of 19 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns. The Carolina defense — the No. 1 rated defense in the league coming into Sunday — has allowed 326 total yards on 39 plays.
Amari Cooper TD: Cowboys 20, Panthers 14
Dallas receiver Amari Cooper, after coming up gimpy earlier in the game, ran a picture-perfect wheel route that turned into a 35-yard touchdown with 10:56 remaining in the third quarter. Recent Panthers addition at cornerback, CJ Henderson, was in coverage on the play.
The completion allowed the Cowboys to reclaim the lead, 20-14, on Sunday.
Cooper now has three catches on three targets from quarterback Dak Prescott for 69 yards.
Panthers kicking not off to ideal start
Carolina had an early second-half chance to extend its lead to four with 12:54 remaining in the third quarter, but a Zane Gonzalez 54-yard field goal sailed wide left. That was the first miss for Gonzalez, who was added to the roster in Week 2, of the 2021 season.
Halftime: Panthers 14, Cowboys 13
Carolina is holding on at the break and will receive the kickoff to open the third quarter. And though the Panthers have the lead, the Dallas pass rush is creating a problem and has sacked Sam Darnold three times for a loss of 21 yards.
Darnold is 12-of-16 passing for 114 yards, and has carried the ball 4 times for 28 yards and two scores. Chuba Hubbard has 8 carries for 35 yards.
For the Cowboys, quarterback Dak Prescott is 8 of 15 for 103 yards and a touchdown and has scrambled twice for 36 rushing yards. Ezekiel Elliott has 10 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown.
Sam Darnold on the run! Panthers 14, Cowboys 13
Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold punched in his second rushing touchdown of the day from 11 yards out to deliver the Panthers a slim lead over the Cowboys with 7:09 remaining in the first half.
In case you forgot: Darnold, with five, is the league’s leader in rushing touchdowns on the season. (He’s simply having a day. The 24-year-old quarterback has ran for 28 yards on four carries and is 9 of 13 for 92 yards through the air.)
That drive ate up some clock — 7:07 to be exact, a time period that saw 13 plays and 75 yards.
Dak Prescott 18-yard TD pass: Cowboys 13, Panthers 7
Not a minute after the first quarter ended, the Cowboys orchestrated two chunk passing plays (14 and 18 yards) — the latter being a touchdown pass to tight end Blake Jarwin to take the lead.
The Cowboys then took advantage of a Panthers penalty on the PAT (too many men on the field) and went for two, and the attempt was unsuccessful. The conversion was initially called good but was later overturned.
End of first quarter
After being on the fortunate side of a missed call on a fumble and after being stuffed on third and short, the Cowboys converted on fourth down in their own territory via a quarterback Dak Prescott 21-yard run. They’re still driving.
Some key stats: Panthers quarterback has completed 3 of 5 passes for 47 yards. He also has a rushing touchdown. Running back Chuba Hubbard has four carries for 29 yards. DJ Moore has three catches on four targets for 47 yards.
Sam Darnold TD run: Panthers 7, Cowboys 7
The Panthers responded to the Cowboys’ dominant second drive of the game with a score of their own — this one in the form of a quarterback Sam Darnold 1-yard rush.
The drive saw 10-plus-yard plays from multiple playmakers: Running back Chuba Hubbard, in Christian McCaffrey’s stead, opened the drive with two rushes for 12 and 14 yards. And DJ Moore added three catches of his own — including one where he stayed on his feet after getting hit hard which turned a 9-yard in-route into a 29-yard reception.
Darnold, not known as an exceptional runner, now leads the league in rushing touchdowns with four.
Ezekiel Elliot rushing TD: Cowboys 7, Panthers 0
The first offensive series for each team resulted three-and-outs — but the Cowboys got going in their second series.
The Dallas offense went 70 yards in nine plays on its second drive, one punctuated by a 1-yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliot midway through the first quarter. The tailback already has six rushes for 39 yards and a touchdown.
The Panthers won the toss and elected to defer. The Cowboys received the opening kickoff and will start from their own 25-yard line.
The Panthers are wearing their blue uniforms today with black pants. The Cowboys are wearing their traditional home whites with gray pants.
Is Christian McCaffrey playing?
The Carolina Panthers will be without running back Christian McCaffrey against the Cowboys. McCaffrey injured his hamstring in Week 3 at the Houston Texans and missed most of the second half.
McCaffrey is expected to miss multiple weeks but has not been placed on IR.
Who’s inactive for the Panthers-Cowboys game?
PANTHERS: WR Shi Smith, RB Christian McCaffrey, LB Clay Johnston, DT Phil Hoskins, G Michael Jordan, G Deonte Brown, DE Yetur Gross-Matos.
COWBOYS: DE Dorance Armstrong, WR Simi Fehoko, QB Will Grier, S Israel Mukuamu, OT Ty Nsekhe, DT Carlos Watkins, S Donovan Wilson.
Panthers-Cowboys injury report
PANTHERS: RB Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) OUT, DE Yetur Gross-Matos (ankle) DOUBTFUL, RG John Miller (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE.
COWBOYS: DE Dorance Armstrong (ankle) OUT, OT Ty Nsekhe (illness) OUT, DE Carlos Watkins (knee) OUT, S Donovan Wilson (groin) OUT, DE Randy Gregory (knee) QUESTIONABLE.
How to watch Cowboys vs Panthers game
Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff between the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Charlotte is being broadcast on FOX. If you’re watching in Charlotte, that means WJZY-Fox 46.
The Panthers-Cowboys game can be streamed online with a subscription to YouTube TV or Hulu+ Live TV, so long as you are viewing from inside the broadcast footprint — a map of which can be found below via 506 Sports.
This story was originally published October 3, 2021 11:38 AM.