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Grading the Cowboys poor performance against the Ravens

Once again, the Cowboys run defense can’t stop anyone.

Dallas Cowboys v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

It looks like having a few extra days to prepare for the Baltimore Ravens wasn’t enough to get the Cowboys defense ready to stop the Ravens predictable game plan. The Cowboys run defense allowed the Ravens to rack up 294 yards rushing and two touchdowns. With four games left in the season, and now being two games of the New York Giants and Washington Football Team, their season is close to being over if it isn’t already. But they will still do their best to win out. In the meantime let’s take a look at how they did against the Ravens.

Overall: D

This was another bad performance by the Cowboys defense and the only reason that this wasn’t an “F” is thanks to the valiant effort shown by the Cowboys offense. They were able to put up 388 yards and 17 points against a tough defense with a subpar offensive line. The defense gave up 34 points and a total of 401 yards, once again showing that they are unable to stop a team that has an effective running game.

Coaching: D

Another poor performance on the part of the Cowboys coaching staff that was unable to get their team ready to stop the run. The Ravens were able to do whatever they wanted for most of the game and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan wasn’t able to come up with an answer. He needs to be relieved of his duties either this offseason or now. Then you have head coach Mike McCarthy who is trying to put players in position to win but continues to kick long field goals when your kicker is clearly struggling to make field goals longer than 45 yards.

They need to take these next four games and evaluate their roster and actually play players they call up.

Quarterback: B

Any time your quarterback throws almost 50 times in a game, it’s not a good day for your team as a whole. Andy Dalton put up some respectable numbers going 31/48 for 285 yards and two touchdowns and one interception. He had a few passes he wishes he could have had back but that happens for all quarterbacks. Unfortunately for Dalton, this time around he had time in the pocket to hit his receivers but missed a few crucial throws.

Running Back: C+

The Cowboys running backs did a good job of keeping the pressure on the Ravens defense and keeping them honest and respecting the run. The team as a whole ran for 111 yards with Ezekiel Elliott leading the team with 77 yards. The running game has been doing a lot better lately but clearly need quarterback Dak Prescott to come back to open up more space for Elliott and Tony Pollard to operate.

Wide Receiver: B

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve had a Michael Gallup sighting! Gallup came out ready to play this week leading the team in in receptions, yards, and scoring a touchdown. Receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb were also able to make plays in the game for Dalton and the Cowboys. This group has been keeping this team in games all season long, and despite the loss of Prescott, they have been able to help which ever quarterback was under center.

Tight End: B-

Dalton Schultz once again was involved in the passing game for the Cowboys. Doing most of his damage in the middle of the field and racking up 44 yards on four catches. He continues to grow as a pass catcher and is getting stronger as a blocker too. It will be interesting to see what the Cowboys do with both he and Blake Jarwin on the field at the same time.

Offensive Line: B+

This was one of the best performances from the Cowboys patchwork offensive line. They went toe-to-toe with a tough and aggressive defensive line and held their own, giving up only one sack in the game. The young linemen continue to grow and get more experience while giving the Cowboys more depth in the future. Let’s see if they can keep this going and end the season on a high note.

Defensive Line: F

The defensive line registered no quarterback hits or sacks against a weakened Ravens offensive line. They failed to keep the Ravens running game contained and even allowed Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson to rush for 94 yards and a touchdown. This was one of the more embarrassing games from this defensive front and the Cowboys front office needs to make defensive tackle a priority this off season.

Linebackers: D

This was another tough game for the Cowboys linebackers as they had to deal with taking on the Ravens offensive linemen thanks to their defensive line failing to hold their blocks. Jaylon Smith led the way with 12 total tackles and Leighton Vander Esch had five on the night. These linebackers have the talent but they need more help up front.

Secondary: C+

This secondary has been put through the ringer the last few weeks but this week they played better, well the cornerbacks did keeping the Raven to just 107 yards threw the air. You can’t say the same for the safeties who once again where beaten deep thanks to a blown coverage. The Cowboys really missed young safety Donovan Wilson who is out with a groin injury. This is another unit that needs help upfront from the defensive line to take pressure off of them and they just aren’t getting it.

Summary

This game was lost due to the Cowboys defensive front seven and it’s inability to stop the run, and the front office better be taking note. The coaching staff on defense needs an overhaul while the offense needs to get better in redzone situations. They have four games to try and get better or blow it up and try again.