The Dallas Cowboys first three weeks of the season have all been nail-bitters with the Cowboys losing two of those three games. This week it was another come from behind attempt by Dak Prescott and company against probably the best quarterback in the league right now in Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Once again the Cowboys would go on to shoot themselves in the foot time and time again leading to their second loss of the season.
So let’s start grading how the Cowboys did this week.
The overall play of the team was very night and day, the first half was another bad start for this team as a whole. Then in the second half the team would turn it around and turn the game into a shootout down the stretch with Wilson and the Seahawks picking up the win. The Cowboys had a chance to win but early mental breakdowns on defense allowed the Seahawks to jump ahead early. Then on the offensive side of the football the Cowboys weren’t able to get anything going on the ground and the patchwork offensive line couldn’t create any room in the running game.
Hopefully the Cowboys can get their starting tackles back so Prescott can get more time in the pocket and Ezekiel Elliott can get it going on the ground.
This week coaching wasn’t the problem for this team, except you do have to wonder about the defensive scheme in the secondary. They can draw up the plays but it’s on the players to execute and that wasn’t happening. The coaching staff made their halftime adjustments and got the team back into the game. Joe Philbin did a great job of putting together an offensive line that was passable in the midst of so many issues. The one really questionable situation was head coach Mike McCarthy’s decision to not call the timeout in the fourth quarter and allowing the Seahawks to run down the clock before giving the ball back to the Cowboys.
Other than that the coaching staff took advantage of the Seahawks weak secondary to get back in the game. They are improving but now they need their players on the field to do the same.
When you face the Seahawks you know you’re going to face a high amount of blitzes from all directions. Prescott saw that all game and did a very good job to avoid them and get the ball out of his hands quickly. But with the running game not working, Prescott was forced to push the ball down the field and led to two interceptions. The last interception was not really Prescott’s fault as it was a Hail Mary pass into the endzone. Other than the turnovers, Prescott had another great game throwing for 472 yards and three touchdowns.
Running Backs: C
The play of the offensive line is really hurting Ezekiel Elliott right now. This week Elliott didn’t really have much room to get going and was regularly hit in the backfield by Seahawk defenders. So to get him going the Cowboys tried getting Elliott the ball through the air and Elliott was able to catch six passes but had a few drops. The one thing Elliott did well this week was pass protection, he was able to help give Prescott time to get passes off.
The running game won’t start to gain traction until the Cowboys figure out their offensive line issues.
Wide Receivers: A
This was another great game by the Cowboys receivers but the big surprise in this game was the emergence of receiver Cedric Wilson who had 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help get the Cowboys back in the game. He wasn’t the only 100-yard receiver as Michael Gallup eclipsed the century mark with 138 yards. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb were also able to make plays on the field. The overall play and effort from the Cowboys receivers in getting open and making great catches got the team back into the game and kept it close.
Once this offense is healthy this offense is going to be very scary and hard to defend.
Tight Ends: A
Another game another good showing from Dalton Schultz for the Cowboys. He was able to catch four balls for 48 yards. Picking up key first downs on crucial drives for the Cowboys. Schultz is proving to be a player that teams are going to have to start accounting for when defending this offense. He’s off to a great start.
Offensive Line: D
The Cowboys need to have tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins back. Teams are starting to take advantage of their absence. It didn’t help matters with Joe Looney went down with an injury, he would later return but would be playing at right guard due to Terence Steele leaving the game with an illness. Rookie center Tyler Biadasz came in and held up pretty well in the passing game but will need to get stronger to help in the running game. Then you have left guard Connor Williams who looks to be the real weak link on this Cowboys offensive line. He was routinely pushed in to the backfield or beaten off the ball by Seahawk defenders.
The Cowboys need to take a look at Connor McGovern and see if he can do a better job because Williams at left guard isn’t working out.
Defensive Line: B
This grade would be a lot lower if it wasn’t for Aldon Smith. He came to play this week and was a monster generating consistent pressure on Wilson and getting three sacks on the day. Antwuan Woods would have the only other sack for the Cowboys. The line was also able to hold up against the power running game of the Seahawks. If the Cowboys can get DeMarcus Lawrence or Everson Griffen going opposite Smith then this defensive line should be able to cause problems for offenses.
The main focus of the linebackers in this game was to make sure Wilson didn’t beat them with his legs, and they did it. They were also able to get the Seahawks running backs on the ground holding them to 117 total yards rushing. Still, not great but there were much better than they have been the last two weeks.
Once again, early mental mistakes and poor communication in the secondary has hurt this team. The Cowboys cornerbacks were hit an miss, as D.J. Metcalf had a touchdown and another long bomb while Tyler Lockett had three touchdowns. The Cowboys safety play was the real issue this week as they were caught peaking into the backfield which allowed Lockett and Metcalf to get behind them and make big plays. This secondary already has issues with injuries they can’t hurt themselves with mental mistakes too.
Much of this loss is on the secondary, mainly the safeties for their failure to keep the receivers of the Seahawks in front of them. The offense can’t continue to dig this team out of these deficits. They need to make some changes and get the ship righted and fast on defense.