Cornerback Mike Jenkins' most impressive play in the Dallas Cowboys' convincing win over the Atlanta Falcons didn't make any of the highlight shows.
It wasn't his interception. It wasn't his vicious hit on Atlanta receiver Marty Booker. Those are the plays made Sunday by Jenkins that fans will remember.
Most folks have probably forgotten about Jenkins' open-field tackle of Michael Turner during the Falcons' 16-play, 80-yard drive on the opening possession. It was a solid stop for a gain of 1 yard. It firmly answered any questions about Jenkins' ability and willingness to tackle.
The lasting memory from the first-round pick's up-and-down rookie season was Jenkins avoiding then-Giants running back Derrick Ward on a touchdown run late in the Cowboys loss in the Meadowlands. The ensuing criticism stung Jenkins, and he's responded this season by consistently playing physical football. He's been beaten and missed a few tackles, but his effort has not been questionable in his second season.
The play on Turner was the latest proof that Jenkins can be a complete cornerback. If Jenkins doesn't make the play, Turner would have sprinted down the sideline. Jenkins made a solid hit, striking Turner across his massive thighs and stopping the 244-pound bowling ball in his tracks.
Jenkins still makes the occasional mistake, such as giving up the game-tying touchdown in Kansas City. But his talent and toughness have justified the Cowboys' decision to use a first-round pick on him in 2008 and hand him a starting job last month.