The Dallas Cowboys faced off for the second straight week against a team ravaged by injuries and once again the Cowboys were able to pick up the win. It’s clear that this team hasn’t given up on head coach Mike McCarthy and this coaching staff. They have two games left against divisional opponents and the door is still open for them to win the division much to the chagrin of Team Tank. Next up for the Cowboys are the Philadelphia Eagles led by rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts.
But before we talk about that game, let’s go back and grade the Cowboys win against the 49ers.
For a team that looked like they were about to get a top five pick in the upcoming draft, the Cowboys sure aren’t playing like it all of a sudden. This is two games now that the Cowboys defense has stepped it up and made stops and created turnovers while the offense was able to convert with short fields and put points on the board. Special teams also get into the mix, scoring on an onside kick to ice the game and creating a turnover.
This team is not giving up and that is a great thing to see.
This coaching staff seems to have found their groove and it’s showing on the field. Players are going down with injuries and they are still getting production out of their replacements. That can only be credited to the effort these coaches have given to prepare not only their starters but their back ups. Mike McCarthy is doing a good job at keeping his team motivated and focused on each game. Mike Nolan’s defense has started to play better but they are still giving up a lot of yards.
This wasn’t the best game from Andy Dalton this week as he wasn’t very accurate going 19/33. Now some of that has to do with the drops by his receivers, but overall it wasn’t his best performance. He is doing a good job and managing the offense and limiting his turnovers. That’s really all you can ask for from your backup and that’s exactly what he’s giving the Cowboys.
Running Backs: A
No Ezekiel Elliott this week, no problems for the Cowboys. Tony Pollard’s performance this week behind this poor run blocking offensive line was the highlight of the offense this week. Pollard averaged 5.8 yards per carry on 12 carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He was also a force catching pass out of the backfield. His ability to make people miss in space was on display early and often. He is showing that the Cowboys really need to start giving him more touches to add more explosiveness to the offense, and help keep Elliott healthy at the same time.
Wide Receivers: C
The Cowboys receivers weren’t really a big factor in the game this week with only receiver CeeDee Lamb gaining 85 yards this week. The closest receiver to Lamb was running back Tony Pollard with 63 yards. The Cowboys receivers are still having issues holding onto the football. So far this season they are tied at number one in the league with 27 drops on the season. They need to get a handle on this issue if they really do hope to make it to the divisional title.
Tight Ends: B
Dalton Schultz was a nice safety blanket for Dalton once again this weekend, catching two passes for 14 yards and another touchdown. Schultz and Blake Bell were also able to help in the blocking, so all around good performance from the tight ends this weekend. Bell would also have one catch for 10 yards and a rush picking up a first down.
Offensive Line: B-
The Cowboys have found themselves a nice combination to roll out for this group going forward. This offensive line did another decent job of protecting the quarterback this week, but once again weren’t that effective in creating holes for Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle. They also gave up two sacks and two quarterback hits again this week. Still they are holding their own against talented defensive lines, now if they could only open up more running lanes for these running backs.
Defensive Line: A
DeMarcus Lawrence once again came to play picking up another sack on the season. But the player along the defensive line people should be talking about is Neville Gallimore who seemed to be making plays on almost every running play. He was a man possessed in the middle of the defensive line along with Atwann Woods before he left the game with an injury. It’s good to see the defensive line creating pressure and making things easier for the secondary who can now make plays on the football.
Jaylon Smith once again led the Cowboys linebackers in tackles. They didn’t play as well against the run this week as the 49ers were able to rush for a total of 150 yards on the day. Leighton Vander Esch also had to leave the game with an ankle injury and would not return. It wasn’t their best game but they fought hard.
Don’t look now the Cowboys secondary is turning into ball hawks, creating two more turnovers. Safety Donovan Wilson and cornerback Anthony Brown were able to pick off quarterback Nick Mullens. This secondary is gaining more confidence and it is sorely needed. They also unfortunately picked up another injury with Xavier Woods going down with a rib injury.
Back-to-back wins for the Cowboys for the first time this season. That’s huge for a team most had written off, now let’s see if they can finish out the season strong.