JUST CHILL: MY COWBOYS REPORT CARD VS. THE FALCONS
PASSING OFFENSE: C- —Brandon Weeden was efficient in completing 22 of 26 passes for 232 yards and an interception, but he did not play winning football. His first-half interception was devastating. He missed a big throw to Jason Witten. Weeden completed a lot of passes because everything he threw was underneath. He threw only two passes more than 15 yards down field in the air the entire game. There were opportunities for him to get the ball to the outside receivers, but Weeden continually chose to check the ball down. The receivers have to do a better job winning on the outside, but Weeden can’t play not to lose.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C – The Cowboys rushed for 131 yards in the first half and minus-4 yards after in the second half. Joseph Randle had a career rushing game, but the Cowboys couldn’t close it out with the ground game because the offensive line gave up penetration and the runners didn't always make wise choices. The stats looked good after the game, but they don't tell the whole story. The Cowboys need to run the ball better and more consistently.
PASS DEFENSE: F The Cowboys had chances to make this a tough game for Matt Ryan, but Morris Claiborne and Kyle Wilber dropped early interceptions. Ryan completed 24 of 36 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Julio Jones was thrown to 20 times and caught 12 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Nine of Jones’ catches came in the second half when the Cowboys had no answer for Jones in the slot.
RUN DEFENSE: F Devonta Freeman, a backup running back, rushed 30 times for 141 yards and three touchdowns. The Cowboys didn’t have good run fits. They didn’t tackle well and were beat up on the ground. Atlanta was more physical. Sean Lee and Barry Church needed stitches for cut lips.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B Chris Jones averaged 39.8 yards on four punts. He downed three inside the touchdown. The return game remains mediocre at best with Lance Dunbar and Cole Beasley not getting much done.
COACHING: D – The Cowboys didn’t adjust in the second half. They didn’t call a timeout when they had 10 men on the field on a two-point conversion. They didn’t have a good or effective game plan for Julio Jones. Even owner Jerry Jones will tell you the Cowboys didn't impress enough upon Brandon Weeden to throw the ball outside or down the field to loosen the defense.