Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Ainsworth/AP/Shutterstock (12659912aj) Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) is stopped by Washington Football Team cornerback Bobby McCain (20) after catching a long pass in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas Washington Cowboys Football, Arlington, United States – 26 Dec 2021
The Cowboys’ passing game got a real boost on Sunday afternoon with the insertion of Michael Gallup back into the lineup.
Gallup, who tore the ACL in his left knee on a touchdown catch in the Cowboys loss against Arizona in Week 17 of last season, played nearly 40 of 61 offensive snaps in the Dallas win over Washington on Sunday.
“It felt great to get my feet wet,” Gallup said. “It’s a blessing.”
“We were looking at 20 to 25 plays (for him), and I think he went to 39,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy added. “That was just based on how he looked and how he felt.”
Gallup made two catches on three targets, including a 15-yard TD strike from Cooper Rush for the Cowboys’ first touchdown of the game.
“Let’s not kid ourselves; the touchdown was a huge play,” McCarthy said. “He makes that play, he is coming off the field, and you can see the reaction of his teammates. … That is a threshold moment for him.”
He made almost as big of an impact on two plays where he didn’t even touch the football. Gallup drew a defensive holding penalty on cornerback Benjamin St-Juste during a play where the Commanders intercepted Rush. The Cowboys got the ball back on the penalty, and the drive ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Rush to Gallup.
Then late in the third quarter, and the Cowboys leading by just five, Gallup drew a 38-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback William Jackson.
“It was exactly what you would expect from him; he looked like Michael Gallup,” Rush said. “Big time play, running in the back of the end zone there to get open. … He drew the holding call, which he beats the guy off the line right away. He’s gone. And another (pass interference).”
“So, big-time player. We are really happy for him. That was big for him just to go back out there and … it’s really going to help us.”
McCarthy added, “He is one of the finest deep ball guys that I have coached, as far as running the go route and playing inside that red line. Catching the ball in a phonebooth, creating a box, that is probably one of his best routes.”
The flag on Jackson moved the ball to the Washington 37.
“I tell them all the time that we go all the way down the field just throwing the go ball if you really want to because you are either going to hold me or I’m going to catch it,” Gallup said. “Or you’re going to get a penalty. So, I enjoy it – putting ourselves in better field position. Let everybody else score, do what they are supposed to do.”
The drive would end just two plays with CeeDee Lamb doing what he is supposed to do –catch touchdowns, this one a 30-yard strike from Rush to put away the Commanders.
“If you don’t account for (Gallup), he is gonna have a day,” Lamb said with a smile. “He didn’t get 100 yards, but he did get a touchdown. I am happy for my man.”
A major impact from a wide receiver that finished with just two catches for 24 yards in his first action of the season
“I know my knee is fine,” Gallup said. “I know I’m good, but I just have to be able to think that way when I actually step out on the field.”