Cowboys 2nd-round pick Sam Williams one of 3 stars of the game vs Seahawks

·5 min read

The Dallas Cowboys came back from a double-digit deficit to secure a one-point victory over the Seattle Seahawks Friday night, closing their exhibition schedule with a 2-1 record. Nobody, whether it was the young players working for a spot on the roster, the coaching staff, or even starting quarterback Dak Prescott cared it was a preseason game. It was an exciting team victory, and hopefully a propeller into the regular season as well.

This game was great for the fan experience at AT&T Stadium as well. It had soul-snatching hits, turnovers galore,  clutch touchdown receptions and drama all the way to the last minute.

It’s unknown how much of the 53-man roster was decided before a snap was even taken, but the Cowboys had multiple players fighting to make a good impression, and many of them made plays. Interceptions from bubble players like Israel Mukuamu, Nahshon Wright, Markquese Bell, and Juanyeh Thomas are just some examples. Only three players can be the stars of the game though, so which ones stepped up the most?

Star No. 3: Sam Williams

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Williams found himself against a familiar foe in Seahawks rookie left tackle Charles Cross and just like in college, Williams found a lot of success. Mississippi State’s Cross called him the best defender he ever faced during the pre-draft process and Ole Miss’ Williams spent a lot of time reminding Cross what a problem he can be.

This was a breakout game for the Cowboys second-round pick, as he was able to finally get production to go with his solid play. Williams has found himself in the backfield, moving offensive tackles into the lap of quarterbacks all preseason, but he was unable to complete the plays in the first two outings. He ended the game versus the Seahawks night with his first sack, five tackles, two for a loss, a QB hit, and five additional pressures.

The big plays Williams made were at clutch times as well. His quarterback sack of Geno Smith was the eighth play of the first drive where Seattle was in the red zone just one play prior. The sack made Seattle have to settle for a 50-plus-yard field goal.

Later, on a third down run, Williams combined with cornerback Nahshon Wright for a third-down tackle on 3rd-and-1 to bring up a fourth down.

Star No. 2: TE Peyton Hendershot

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Hendershot is in a two-way battle for a roster spot. He is both battling to be the third tight end ahead of Sean McKeon or trying to get the team to keep a fourth tight end instead of an extra running back, third quarterback, or an extra defensive player. Hendershot couldn’t have left a better impression.

At one point in the go-ahead drive Hendershot was drilled with an illegal hit, when Deontai Williams lowered his helmet and destroyed Hendershot’s helmet in the process. Hendershot spun out of it and fell forward taking his 15-yard penalty in the process and getting an excited flex from Dak Prescott.

Instead of waiting for a new one, Hendershot grabbed Ferguson’s helmet and went back into the game to score the game-winning TD.

It was 2nd-and-11 from the 14, and Hendershot took a four-yard pass from Ben DiNucci, broke an attempted tackle and then ran through another tackle attempt from Williams before diving through two more defenders for the go-ahead score.

Hendershot brings a unique playmaking ability, like former Cowboys’ tight end Blake Jarwin was able to. It is something different from Dalton Schultz, Jake Ferguson, and Sean McKeon which could allowed Hendershot to standout on the offense side of the ball.

Star No. 1: Brandon Smith

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It is definitely a long shot for Smith to make the 53-man roster with the Cowboys wide receiver depth chart, but he was certainly the big-play guy for Dallas this preseason. If a pass play went over 25 yards, it was Smith on the other end of the pass. DiNucci was backed up on his goal line against the Chargers, throwing a go ball down the sidelines, and who was targeted? Smith, and that is also who he targeted to try put away the game with under two minutes left in the Seahawks game. He almost went up and got that fifty-fifty ball as well.

Smith was able to have a star performance and made the play of the night late in the third quarter.

After an interception from defensive back Markquese Bell set Dallas up in the red zone, the Cowboys were quickly in 3rd-and-5 and in danger of being held to a field goal. QB Will Grier gave his playmaker a chance though, and Smith was able to bring in a game-tying TD, with some toe-drag swag that was so close that the referees called it two separate ways. Replay confirmed Smith did secure the catch with his feet in bounds and became a star of the game.

You can find Mike Crum on Twitter @cdpiglet or at Youtube on the Across the Cowboys Podcast.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire