It was clear Gerald Sensabaugh was in physical discomfort in the second half against Cincinnati.
But he made a play that helped the Cowboys defense hang on in the 20-19 victory. He hit Jermaine Gresham in the end zone to prevent the Bengals tight end from possibly bringing in a pass for a touchdown, a play that caught coach Jason Garrett’s attention.
“He hurt his hip, and he certainly wasn’t himself, but he made a number of big plays in the game and really kind of gutted it out and played through all that,” Garrett said. “He made a big play down in the end zone. They tried to get Gresham down the middle and really kind of hit him from behind and kind of jarred the ball loose.”
Sensabaugh landed awkwardly, and after the series got treatment on the sideline.
He finished with two tackles, but he was busy in another way – keeping the defense straight for the new faces and injury replacements.
The Cowboys forced three punts in a row to finish the game with a defensive lineup that included new cornerback Sterling Moore, in for the injured Morris Claiborne. Backup linebacker Victor Butler also had to sub in briefly for DeMarcus Ware.
“Gerald is a very athletic player – he’s got great range, he can run and he can jump,” Garrett said. “But what you find out about him the more you are around him is the kind of leader he is, how tough he is, and he’s really done a great job for our secondary. A lot of different parts to our secondary, some new guys, and he’s really been the stabilizing force.”
Sensabaugh ranks ninth on the team with 46 tackles. He also has four pass breakups, a forced fumble and five special teams tackles.
He missed the Tampa Bay game because of a strained calf, but he’s played in every game except that one.
“He has to be the guy back there who directs the traffic, and he’s done a really good job of that,” Garrett said.
-- Carlos Mendez