- Carolina's defense dominated Dallas' vaunted offensive line while generating pick-sixes from All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly and safety Kurt Coleman. Kuechly added a second interception late in the second quarter, as the Panthers tagged Romo with one of his worst games in a stellar career. Josh Norman's box score won't share Kuechly's crooked numbers, but the lockdown corner was the clear victor in his one-on-one battle with Dez Bryant. Although J.J. Watt remains the game's unparalleled force on defense, Kuechly and Norman are compiling strong credentials for the Defensive Player of the Year award.
The star power of Kuechly, Norman, Thomas Davis and Kawann Short has overshadowed a breakout season from Coleman, who has emerged as a consistent playmaker in a secondary led by defensive coordinator Steve McDermott and assistant head coach Steve Wilks. McDermott should draw heavy interest for head-coaching vacancies in January.
- Tony Romo's season is almost certainly over after re-injuring his left clavicle on a Thomas Davis sack to close out the third quarter. Romo immediately pounded the turf in frustration, ending up in the locker room for X-rays a few minutes later. The Cowboys immediately announced that he was out for the game. Romo ended up tossing five interceptions over seven quarters following his return from the Week 2 clavicle fracture. His injury, combined with the blowout loss, effectively extinguishes Dallas' already dim playoff hopes.
- Cam Newton did nothing to diminish his MVP campaign, coming through with a string of third-and-long conversions and three field-goal drives. He added a rushing touchdown, taking full advantage of a Byron Jones field-goal attempt penalty that gave the Panthers a new set of downs inside the red zone. Newton has tied Tom Brady and Carson Palmer for the NFL lead with 27 touchdowns, via the run and the pass. Five years into his career, he's already within three of Steve Young's record (43) for touchdown runs by a quarterback.
- The Panthers extended their streak of 100-yard rushing games to 22, the longest streak since the "Luv Ya Blue" Houston Oilers, led by coach Bum Phillips and Hall of Fame power back Earl Campbell. Jonathan Stewart is on pace for a career high in rushing yards, while leading all NFL runners in forced missed tackles, per Pro Football Focus.