The common refrain during this terrible Cowboys season has been “Well, at least this rookie class looks good.” Even with standout rookies Trevon Diggs and Tyler Biadasz finding themselves on the injured reserve, CeeDee Lamb made an incredible touchdown catch against the Vikings while Neville Gallimore continues to help this run defense improve.
But all that progress, especially for Lamb, came to a screeching halt on Thursday in what finished as a 41-16 loss to the Washington Football Team. Very few things went right for the Cowboys in the end, and their rookies looked less than impressive.
CeeDee Lamb, WR
The last time the Cowboys played the Football Team, CeeDee Lamb had what will likely always be the worst game of his career. Lamb had zero catches on five targets, most of them being drops. While Thanksgiving wasn’t quite that bad, Lamb had yet another bad game against Washington.
He finished with five catches for a measly 21 yards, but the most memorable part of Lamb’s Thanksgiving debut centered around the catch he didn’t make. Right after Jaylon Smith’s almost-pick-six, the Cowboys ran two plays that lost yardage - including a trick play where Lamb was supposed to throw a touchdown to Andy Dalton, but he took a sack instead - Dalton’s last chance at a touchdown was a pass to Lamb.
The pass was good with it hitting Lamb on his hands, but the rookie failed to complete the catch. If he had secured the ball, the touchdown and presumed extra point would have tied things up. Instead they settled for a field goal, which kept Dallas down one score. Aside from that play, Lamb failed to make an impact in any other way, with his longest catch of the day going for just nine yards. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but Lamb has had his two worst games of his young career against the same team. He’ll need to rebound in a big way, as Dallas faces a really good defense in the Ravens next week.
Trevon Diggs, CB
As mentioned, Trevon Diggs is on the injured reserve. With the constantly rotating cast of cornerbacks right now, including Rashard Robinson making his first career start on Thursday, the Cowboys really miss their rookie.
Neville Gallimore, DT
Neville Gallimore is really establishing himself on this defensive line. His 35 defensive snaps were the second most among interior linemen, behind only Antwaun Woods. And while Gallimore only had one tackle, he headlined another overall positive performance from this improving run defense.
Heading into the fourth quarter against Washington, running back Antonio Gibson had just 47 rushing yards, a really positive result. It wasn’t until the failed fake punt that Gibson exploded for 68 fourth-quarter yards, which coincided with the entire defense seemingly losing their steam. Still, Gallimore’s emergence is a very positive development for this defense.
Reggie Robinson III, DB
The Cowboys are razor-thin in the secondary right now, but that didn’t stop the Cowboys coaching staff from once again including Reggie Robinson on the inactive list.
Tyler Biadasz, C
Like Diggs, Tyler Biadasz is on the injured reserve. But unlike Diggs, Biadasz is expected to return this season. While Joe Looney hasn’t been bad, the Cowboys are certainly looking forward to the rookie’s return.
Bradlee Anae, EDGE
As frustrating as the decision to keep Robinson off the field has been, the reluctance to play Bradlee Anae has been arguably more confusing. However, Anae at least has better players ahead of him on the depth chart, which kept him inactive once again.
Ben DiNucci, QB
Garrett Gilbert is the new backup quarterback in Dallas, which means no more dressing out for The Nooch. He was inactive on Thursday.
Terence Steele, OT
The Cowboys can’t keep Terence Steele off the field, though not for lack of trying. Zack Martin once again started at right tackle, but he got injured early in the game and Steele was brought back in. He continued to play exactly the way he has all year: making a good effort, but in way over his head. The most explosive play of the game, Montez Sweat’s pick six, came courtesy of Steele’s complete ignorance of Sweat’s existence:
With both Cam Erving and Martin expected to be out for at least a few weeks, that means Steele will likely be starting once again whenever the Cowboys square off against the Baltimore Ravens. In other words, start praying for Andy Dalton right now.
Francis Bernard, LB
Francis Bernard has come a long way this year, going from an undrafted rookie who started the year on the practice squad to becoming a core special teamer. That continued this week, with Bernard tying for the third-most special teams snaps on Thursday.
Sean McKeon, TE
Sean McKeon’s role is clear, and nothing changed on Thursday. His four offensive snaps came on goal line situations as the third tight end, and he also added 12 special teams snaps.
Rico Dowdle, RB
Rico Dowdle is another undrafted rookie who’s carved out a nice special teams role, and his 15 snaps on Thursday continued that trend.
Ron’Dell Carter, DL
No surprise here, as Ron’Dell Carter was inactive for the second time in as many games on the Cowboys’ 53-man roster.