Grading the Cowboys
PASSING OFFENSE: A What more do you need to see from rookie quarterback Dak Prescott? He continues to impress as if he was a veteran. Prescott has opened the season 75 consecutive passes and no interceptions, an NFL record for a player in his first two games in the league. Against the Washington Redskins, he completed 22 of 30 passes for 292 yards with no turnovers. He had a quarterback rating of 103.8 and tossed passes to seven receivers. He got Dez Bryant involved with seven catches for 102 yards. Cole Beasley showed up big again with five catches for 75 yards. Prescott led the Cowboys on a game winning touchdown drive and late in the game he had the awareness to take a sack to keep the clock moving and not throw a clock-stopping incompletion.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D The Cowboys rushed 30 times for 102 yards. So they got a good number of carries and controlled the ball. Rookie Ezekiel Elliott had 21 carries for 83 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per attempt. But he had two critical fumbles, though the Cowboys recovered the second one. Those are inexcusable. Elliott is still getting used to the offensive line and the blocking schemes after missing much of training camp and the preseason with hamstring injury. The Cowboys will have patience with that. What they won’t tolerate is poor ball security.
PASS DEFENSE: C Give the Cowboys pass defense credit for making plays when it mattered most in the second half, especially in the red zone. Safety Barry Church had a game-turning interception in the end zone. Linebacker Justin Durant had a huge pass deflection on fourth and 1. But there are still concerns about too many big plays and wide open receivers. Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins passed for 364 yards and one touchdown. He would have had more if hadn’t missed two wide open receivers with overthrows.
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RUSH DEFENSE: C The Redskins averaged 4.8 yards per carry with 17 rushes for 82 yards. The Cowboys got better late, but credit should also go to the Redskins play-caller who simply didn’t run the ball enough, especially in the red zone against a defense that was struggling to stop the run. Linebacker Sean Lee led the Cowboys with 10 tackles.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C Dan Bailey kicked two field goals, but whiffed on an onside kick attempt that didn’t travel 10 yards. Chris Jones averaged 47.3 yards on three punts. Lucky Whitehead had a 33-yard kickoff return, though the Cowboys gave up 21-yard punt return to Jamison Crowder.
COACHING: A – Credit coach Jason Garrett for trying to influence the victory with an aggressive approach. It didn’t always work, but it reflected a mindset that this team is going to do everything it can to try to win. Garrett is conservative by nature so his fourth-down gamble and his onside kick was him breaking from form in order to jump-start his team.