Grading the Dallas Cowboys
PASSING OFFENSE: C Quarterback Dak Prescott was solid, completing 25 of 45 passes for 227 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Tight end Jason Witten and receiver Cole Beasley combined for 17 catches for 131 yards. But Prescott couldn't finish in the end zone, thanks to drop by Beasley and an overturned Dez Bryant catch. Bryant had just one catch for 8 yards. That is unacceptable.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D- It was an admittedly average debut for rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, who had 20 carries for 51 yards. He simply had no where to run behind the vaunted best offensive line in NFL. The missed time in camp affected him and the line’s chemistry. Alfred Morris had 35 yards on seven carries and was seemingly more effective when he was in the game.
PASS DEFENSE: F Eli Manning completed 19 of 28 passes for 207 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Not surprisingly, the Cowboys didn't get consistent pressure on the quarterback. Manning was able to find open receivers in the secondary. But the pass rush questions were widely known in the off-season and the Cowboys did nothing about it. Give Brandon Carr credit for his first interception in 36 games, dating back to 2013. But it wasn't enough.
RUSH DEFENSE: D The Giants rushed 24 times for 113 yards. Rashad Jennings had 18 carries for 75 yards. The Cowboys simply couldn't stop the Giants on the ground in the fourth quarter when they need to get the ball back. The Cowboys were manhandled upfront and couldn’t get off blocks at the linebacker level.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A Dan Bailey was perfect as usual. He made four field goals, including a 56-yarder and a 54-yarder. Chris Jones averaged 43.3 yards on three punts. The Cowboys gave up a 17-yard punt return to Dwayne Harris. They got nothing in the return game from Lucky Whitehead.
COACHING: D It appeared to be the same old, same old for the Cowboys. They were unable to win a game without Tony Romo and they couldn't find a way to close it out in the fourth quarter because of mental and physical breakdowns. That's on the players and the coaches. Terrance Williams had the boneheaded play of the game by not going out of bounds to stop the clock. But he was not the reason the Cowboys lost.