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Cowboys 100: Facts and stats for Week 4 showdown versus Panthers

The Dallas Cowboys will go for a 10th win in 15 all-time tries against Carolina in Week 4 with the Panthers arriving in Dallas undefeated in 2021
Credit: AP
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrates after a touchdown run by running back Ezekiel Elliott in the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys have an opportunity to begin their season with a record of 3-1 for the first time since 2019. Their opponent will be the undefeated Carolina Panthers who will be looking for a 4-0 start for the first time since they went 14 games without a loss to open the season in 2015, on their way to Super Bowl 50.

Carolina’s surprising start can be attributed to a mixture of a stout defense, the arrival of new starting quarterback Sam Darnold, and a weak schedule to begin the year in head coach Matt Rhule’s second season.

With that in mind, here are 100 facts and stats as the Cowboys and Panthers get set to battle it out on Sunday in an NFC showdown between two teams atop their division:

SERIES FACTS (10)

-The Cowboys are 2-1 for the 29th time in franchise history. 15 of those previous 28 teams ultimately made the playoffs.

-The Panthers are 3-0 for the fourth time in team history. 3 of those previous 4 teams made the playoffs.

-Since 1990, 76 of 91 teams (83.5%) that started 4-0 made the playoffs.

-Since 1990, 158 of 247 teams (64.0%) that started 3-1 made the playoffs.

-Since 1990, 108 of 296 teams (36.5%) that started 2-2 made the playoffs.

-The Cowboys are 9-5 against the Carolina Panthers with a 4-2 record at home:

● Texas Stadium: 3-1

● AT&T Stadium: 1-1

-Since 1970, the Cowboys are 155-115 in early games with a 73-40 record at home.

-The Panthers are 144-158-1 in early games with a 54-82-1 on the road.

-Carolina is 31-42 in the Central Time Zone with a 24-33 record in early games.

-The Panthers are 1 of 6 teams to have an undefeated record against Dallas in the playoffs.

DAK PRESCOTT FACTS (15)

-Prescott’s 77.48% completion percentage is the highest of his career through the first three games.

-Prescott’s 878 passing yards are the third-highest of his career through the first three games.

-Prescott’s six passing touchdowns are the second-highest of his career through the first three games.

-The only season wherein Prescott threw something other than two interceptions through three games was 2016 when he threw none.

-Prescott’s 110.1 passer rating is his second-highest through three games. Only 2019’s 128.0 passer rating was higher.

-Prescott’s 13 rushing yards are his third-highest through the first three games. 2018 and 2020 had higher totals by just one carry.

-Prescott’s 1.46 yards per carry is his lowest through the first three games of a season.

-Prescott’s 10.2 yards per completion is tied with Josh Allen and Jameis Winston for the eighth-lowest in the NFL.

-Prescott’s 110.1 passer rating is the eighth-highest in the league.

-Prescott is 1 of 14 quarterbacks this season who has a game-winning drive.

-Prescott is tied for the seventh-lowest time in the pocket at 2.2 seconds.

-Prescott has been blitzed 43 times, the third-highest in the NFL.

-Prescott leads the NFL with the most passes out of run-pass option with 16. His passing yards out of run-pass option are tied with Carson Wentz for fourth-highest with 100.

-Prescott has the 10th-highest passing yards out of play-action with 237.

-Prescott is 1 of 17 quarterbacks with at least 10 red zone passes and no interceptions.

SAM DARNOLD FACTS (11)

-Darnold is the first Panthers quarterback since Cam Newton in 2015 to start 3-0.

-Darnold’s 99.0 passer rating is his best through the first three games of a season.

-Sans 2019, when Darnold’s case of mononucleosis nixed him for three games starting in Week 2, his one interception this year is his fewest through the first three weeks of a season.

-Darnold is coming off of his first consecutive 300-yard passing game streak (two).

-When Darnold faced the Cowboys on Oct. 13, 2019 with the Jets, he completed 23-of-32 for 338 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in a 24-22 win.

-Darnold’s 338 passing yards against the Cowboys in 2019 were three yards away from tying his career high (Dec. 23, 2018 vs. Green Bay Packers).

-Darnold’s 888 passing yards are the 10th-most in the league.

-Darnold has passed for 47 first downs, the sixth-most in the NFL.

-Darnold’s 12.2 yards per completion is tied with Jalen Hurts for the ninth-most in the NFL.

-Darnold is tied with Mac Jones for the 10th-most pressures in the NFL with 30.

-Darnold is tied with Patrick Mahomes for the third-most play-action pass attempts with 28. He has the sixth-most passing yards out of play-action with 277.

EZEKIEL ELLIOTT FACTS (11)

-Elliott’s 4.52 yards per carry is his third-best through the first three games to start a season.

-Elliott’s three rushing touchdowns are tied with the 2020 season for his most through three games.

-Elliott is tied with Nick Chubb, Derrick Henry, Sam Darnold, Kyler Murray, and Chris Carson for the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL with three.

-All of Elliott’s rushing touchdowns have come inside the red zone.

-Elliott has taken nine carries inside the red zone, meaning 33.3% of his red zone carries have resulted in touchdowns.

-Elliott’s 12 first downs by carry are the sixth-most in the NFL.

-Elliott’s 199 yards through three games are the second-fewest of his career.

-Elliott’s 199 yards are the eighth-most in the NFL.

-Elliott’s 44 carries are his fewest through the first three games of a season.

-Elliott is tied with Clyde Edwards-Helaire for the 10th-most carries in the NFL with 44.

-According to Next Gen Stats, Elliott has the seventh-highest rushing percentage over expected at 47.7%, meaning nearly half of the time he gains more yards than expected on a play.

MIKE MCCARTHY FACTS (2)

-McCarthy has extended a winning streak in 54 of 82 opportunities.

-McCarthy is 3-3 against the Panthers with a 2-1 record at home.

MATT RHULE FACTS (13)

-Rhule is facing Dallas for the first time. Here is how other Panthers coaches fared in their initial encounters:

● Dom Capers (1996 NFC divisional): W

● George Seifert (2000): L

● John Fox (2002): L

● Ron Rivera (2012): L

-Rhule is 4-8 against playoff-winning coaches with a 3-5 record on the road.

-Rhule joins Dom Capers, John Fox, and Ron Rivera as the only Panthers coaches to start 3-0 in a season.

-Rhule is the only member of the 2020 coaching class to start 3-0 this season.

-Rhule is 1-0 against the NFC East with that win coming on the road in Week 16 at the eventual division champion Washington.

-Rhule is 2-3 in October so far as a head coach with a 1-1 record on the road.

-Rhule is 4-5 on the road in his NFL career as a head coach.

-Rhule is 1-4 in the Central Time Zone.

-Rhule is the only Big 12 Coach of the Year to eventually coach in the NFL.

-Rhule was 1-2 with Baylor at AT&T Stadium.

-Rhule is 3 for 6 on challenges for his career.

-Rhule is the only Panthers coach who did not come from a background where his most recent job was as a defensive coordinator.

-Rhule was the last coach that Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn faced as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Carolina prevailed in Week 5 last season, and Quinn was fired after an 0-5 start.

BROADCAST FACTS (2)

-Dallas is 145-133 all-time on FOX, including the postseason.

-This is the ninth time that FOX will broadcast a game in the Cowboys-Panthers series. Here is the breakdown by network:

● FOX: 8

● ABC: 2

● NBC: 1

● NFL Network: 1

● ESPN: 1

● CBS: 1

JEROME BOGER FACTS (11)

-This week’s referee is Jerome Boger. The Cowboys have an 8-6 record with Boger. Here are the results:

● 2006 — @OTI, 45-14 – W

● 2006 — @ATL, 38-28 – W

● 2008 — @NYG, 14-35 – L

● 2009 — SEA, 38-17 – W

● 2010 — NO, 27-30 – L

● 2011 — BUF, 44-7 – W

● 2013 — @KC, 16-17 – L

● 2013 — @NO, 17-49 – L

● 2014 — NYG, 31-21 – W

● 2014 — @WAS, 44-17 – W

● 2016 — PHI, 29-23 – W-OT

● 2017 — SDG, 6-28 – L

● 2019 — PHI, 37-10 – W

● 2020 — @PHI, 9-23 – L

-The Cowboys have had fewer penalties than the opposition 6 of 14 times with Boger:

● 2006 — OTI: 5/55; DAL: 5/61

● 2006 — ATL: 8/68; DAL: 4/32

● 2008 — NYG: 8/65; DAL: 9/55

● 2009 — SEA: 6/53; DAL: 5/43

● 2010 — NO: 4/30; DAL: 4/19

● 2011 — BUF: 3/12; DAL: 8/74

● 2013 — KC: 10/45; DAL: 5/27

● 2013 — NO: 6/44; DAL: 11/82

● 2014 — NYG: 6/40; DAL: 6/46

● 2014 — WAS: 9/101; DAL: 7/48

● 2016 — PHI: 5/40; DAL: 11/84

● 2017 — SDG: 5/56; DAL: 7/60

● 2019 — PHI: 5/40; DAL: 6/65

● 2020 — PHI: 4/28; DAL: 7/68

-In 2020, Boger was tied for the fifth-highest (.563) home team winning percentage.

-In 2020, Boger had the highest percentage (.750) of home teams having fewer penalties:

-The Panthers are 11-8 with Boger as the lead official:

● 2006 — RAM, 15-0 — W

● 2007 — NO, 6-31 — L

● 2008 — @NO, 33-31 — W

● 2009 — @NYJ, 6-17 — L

● 2010 — @NYG, 18-31 — L

● 2010 — @TB, 16-31 — L

● 2011 — WAS, 33-20 — W

● 2012 — RAI, 17-6 — W

● 2013 — @TB, 31-13 — W

● 2014 — DET, 24-7 — W

● 2015 — WAS, 44-16 — W

● 2015 — TB, 38-10 — W

● 2016 — MIN, 10-22 — L

● 2016 — @RAI, 32-35 — L

● 2017 — @NE, 33-30 — W

● 2017 — TB, 22-19 — W

● 2018 — NYG, 33-31 — W

● 2019 — TB, 14-20 — L

● 2019 — @GB, 16-24 — L

-The Panthers have had fewer penalties 9 of 19 times with Boger:

● 2006 — RAM: 6/40; CAR: 9/80

● 2007 — NO: 5/76; CAR: 5/35

● 2008 — NO: 7/48; CAR: 5/30

● 2009 — NYJ: 3/24; CAR: 5/30

● 2010 — NYG: 9/95; CAR: 7/63

● 2010 — TB: 10/80; CAR: 7/71

● 2011 — WAS: 3/26; CAR: 13/105

● 2012 — RAI: 6/70; CAR: 10/97

● 2013 — TB: 3/21; CAR: 6/59

● 2014 — DET: 5/33; CAR: 4/55

● 2015 — WAS: 9/68; CAR: 8/66

● 2015 — TB: 5/65; CAR: 7/33

● 2016 — MIN: 6/42; CAR: 10/65

● 2016 — RAI: 7/46; CAR: 7/67

● 2017 — NE: 7/55; CAR: 1/33

● 2017 — TB: 12/72; CAR: 6/50

● 2018 — NYG: 8/62; CAR: 4/22

● 2019 — TB: 12/66; CAR: 5/50

● 2019 — GB: 10/64; CAR: 5/46

-Boger’s games were tied for the second-lowest (3.9) sacks per game in 2020.

-Boger’s crew averaged the fourth-fewest (1.1) offensive holding calls per game last season.

-Dallas has yet to lose a challenge when Boger goes under the hood (6 for 6). Additionally, opponents are 0 for 3 on challenges, and Replay Assistant is 1 for 2 with just one of those verdicts benefiting the Cowboys.

-The Panthers are 3 for 14 when challenging Boger. Opponents are 2 for 5. Replay Assistant is 3 for 10 with three of those calls favoring Carolina.

-Boger had the seventh-lowest (.467, 7/15) challenge overturn rate last season.

MISCELLANEOUS FACTS (25)

-Dallas leads the NFL with eight takeaways. 25% of opponent’s drives have ended in a turnover.

-The Panthers are the best defense in the NFL at just 3.8 yards per play surrendered.

-As a scoring defense, the Panthers have allowed 30 points total, the second-fewest in the NFL.

-Opponents have generated 36 first downs against Carolina, the fewest in the NFL.

-The Dallas defense has the most penalties with 36.

-The Panthers defense is tied with Houston and Pittsburgh for the fifth-most penalties with 23.

-Carolina is tied with Kansas City for the fifth-fewest missed tackles in the NFL with 14.

-Carolina has generated the most pressures with 46.

-Dallas is tied with the Jets, Giants, and Buccaneers for the 10th-fewest pressures with 27.

-The Panthers defense has dialed up the blitz 39 times, the sixth-most in the league.

-The Cowboys have given up 541 yards after the catch, the second-most in the league.

-Carolina has given up 149 yards after the catch, the third-fewest in the NFL.

-The Panthers have generated 16 tackles for loss, the seventh-most league-wide.

-The Cowboys have collected nine tackles for loss, tied with the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers for the fourth-fewest in the NFL.

-The Panthers have produced 14 sacks, the most in the league.

-Dallas is tied with Kansas City for the second-fewest sacks in the NFL with four.

-Opposing quarterbacks have compiled a 72.8 passer rating against Carolina’s defense, the fifth-lowest in the NFL.

-Dallas and Tennessee lead the NFL with 19 pass breakups.

-The Panthers defense leads the NFL with just 2.6 yards per carry surrendered.

-The Panthers also give up the fewest rushing yards per game at 45.0.

-Dallas gives up 4.7 yards per carry, the seventh-most in the league.

-The Cowboys and Steelers are the only two defenses remaining that have not given up a rushing touchdown.

-The Cowboys are 3-2 on Oct. 3. Here are the results:

● 1971 — WAS, 16-20 — L

● 1976 — @SEA, 28-13 — W

● 1988 — @NO, 17-20 — L

● 1993 — GB, 36-14 — W

● 1999 — CRD, 35-7 — W

-The Panthers are 1-3 on Oct. 3. Here are the results:

● 1999 — @WAS, 36-38 — L

● 2004 — ATL, 10-27 — L

● 2005 — GB, 32-29 — W

● 2010 — @NO, 14-16 — L

-The Cowboys have one birthday to celebrate on Oct. 3: TE Tyji Armstrong. He played 16 games for Dallas in 1996, starting in seven of them and caught two passes for 10 yards.

Do you see the Cowboys beating the Panthers for the 10th time in franchise history on Sunday? Share your favorite facts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.

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