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Amari Cooper was not hurt, he just got shut down in Week 12 by Stephon Gilmore

The Cowboys wide receiver disappeared for extended stretches in Week 12. Turns out Stephon Gilmore is kinda good!

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper is tackled by New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper has been banged up for some time now, but after three straight full practice sessions in Week 12, he was removed from the final injury report. At times on Sunday it was tough to figure out if he was hurt or what exactly against the New England Patriots. He was targeted once in the first quarter, but then was standing on the sideline for what seemed like an extended stretch of time.

In reality, it was not actually all that long. Cooper ended up playing 81 percent of the team’s offensive snaps. It was 11 snaps less than Michael Gallup (98% percent of snaps), but it was also an upgrade from a week ago when Cooper only played in 56 percent of the team’s snaps.

Cooper was not spotted again until a key incompletion late in the fourth quarter, and the reason for that was Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore. He secured an interception on Cooper’s first target, and shut down the Cowboys star receiver the entire game. It was fairly clear the Patriots game plan revolved at least in part around shutting down Cooper, and they designed an excellent plan for doing so.

Cooper and the Cowboys face another tough pass defense in Week 13 when they host the Buffalo Bills. That being said, anybody is easier than the Patriots by a big margin. The Bills have given up the eighth fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season and should offer Cooper a little more breathing room than the Patriots.