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Cowboys' defensive line wanting to 'be the show'

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When the talk about dominant line play is discussed regarding the Dallas Cowboys, it's assumed widely that it is about their offensive line with All-Pros Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin.

In Monday's 28-17 win against the Arizona Cardinals, the Cowboys' defensive line was the story.

The Cowboys recorded six sacks of Carson Palmer, all by defensive linemen. It was the first time since Sept. 22, 2013, against the St. Louis Rams that the Cowboys had six sacks in a game.

The Cowboys have 11 sacks in three games. They did not reach 11 sacks last season until their sixth game.

DeMarcus Lawrence had the first three-sack game of his career and leads the NFL with 6.5 for the season. He had one sack last season and his career high is eight in 2015. He became the first Cowboy since DeMarcus Ware to have three straight multi-sack games. Ware accomplished his feat over the 2011 and '12 seasons.

Lawrence is just the third player to open the season with three straight games with more than a sack, joining Mark Gastineau (1984) and Kevin Greene (1998).

"He's got such a great spirit about him," Jason Garrett said. "He's defending the run. He's affecting the quarterback. He's making plays that change the game. Just watch him, he’s like a kid out there. He's running around and he's got a big smile on his face. That spirit is contagious to the rest of the defense and the rest of the team."

Maliek Collins added two sacks. He and Lawrence are the first Cowboys defenders with multiple sacks in the same game since Tyrone Crawford and Jeremy Mincey had two apiece against the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 14, 2014.

Crawford had the Cowboys' sixth sack.

"We don't want to be the byproduct of nothing," Collins said. "We want to be the show."

The Cowboys used their three-man front more against the Cardinals than they had in the first two games. Collins and Crawford were able to record sacks with just the three-man pressure.

The Cowboys don't have big names on their line although Lawrence might be growing into one. Collins had a productive rookie season (five sacks). Crawford is healthier than he has been in two seasons. Benson Mayowa, who led the Cowboys with six sacks a year ago, had a quarterback pressure Monday. So did Taco Charlton.

The pass rush was made better because the Cowboys stopped the run a week after allowing a 100-yard rusher for the first time since the 2015 season finale. Arizona ran 21 times for 49 yards. Chris Johnson carried 12 times for 17 yards. The Cowboys did not allow a run longer than 6 yards.

"Very dominant," Lawrence said when asked how dominant the Cowboys' defensive line can be. "We have to focus on us and not our opponents and get better every week."