The Dallas Cowboys got us again. They get all the way to the last game of the season against a division rival they should be able to beat, and they lay an egg. Facing a New York Giants team that hasn’t really been able to move the football or score on anyone, the defense allowed 23 points after looking like they had rounded the corner. But don’t solely blame the defense; blame the offense for not helping this defense. It was the offense that mainly failed this week, the defense fought hard but just couldn’t hold up.
With that said, let’s grade the Cowboys final game of the season.
This was a surprisingly bad performance by a Cowboys offense that was clicking over the last three weeks, and the only reason that this wasn’t an “F” is thanks to the effort shown by the Cowboys defense that was shorthanded due to injuries. The defense did give up big plays but it was the offense that just couldn’t get anything going until late in the game but by then it was too late. Then you have head coach Mike McCarthy’s decision not to challenge a catch that could have changed the outcome of this game.
This wasn’t a great game for the coaching staff this week. There was questionable offensive play-calling against a defensive line that was getting the best of the Cowboys offensive line. Then you have the head coach that late in the game had to make a tough call on whether to challenge a tough catch that he may have won, but decided not to in an effort to save his timeouts for later in the game if they really needed them.
Maybe he should have challenged the call.
This was a game that Andy Dalton looked like the quarterback that was cut by the Bengals. He did get hurt during the game. but before that he was off, especially early in this game which stalled the offense and wore down the Cowboys defense. He also was sacked six times in this game and some of that is on him as his pocket presence was not great.
Running Backs: C-
The Cowboys running game wasn’t good and had to rely on fooling the Giants defense with some trick runs from Andy Dalton, along with some desperation scrambles. Ezekiel Elliot ran hard in the game, grinding out what he could, but injury held him back. The Cowboys offensive line just couldn’t open the holes for the running game against the Giants front seven. They
Wide Receivers: C
Talk about night and day for an offensive group that has been torching defenses the last three weeks and then nothing. This is another situation where the Cowboys tight end had more catches and yards then the receivers. There can only be one reason for this drop off and that’s the play of the offensive line and the quarterback. The receivers battled an inaccurate Dalton all game. Of course, CeeDee Lamb had a huge drop at the end of the game
Tight Ends: A
One of the only bright spots in the game was the fact that Dalton Schultz continued to be a factor in the football game and now gives the team a nice weapon to pair with Blake Jarwin. It will be interesting to see what they do with both of them on the field at the same time, and see how teams try to defend the Cowboys entire receiving arsenal.
Offensive Line: F
This is a next-man-up league, and with all of the injuries to this offensive line, these backups have been doing this all season. Yet when the Cowboys needed this group, that looked to have found some continuity, to give them another shot at the playoffs, they failed. Giving up six sacks in pass protection and failing to open up holes for their running backs was a crushing blow for the team.
Defensive Line: D
The defensive line registered four quarterback hits and one sack against a weakened Giants offensive line. They failed to keep the Giants running game contained when they really needed too. This group was red-hot coming into this game and they weren’t able to really get anything done this week.
This was another tough game for the Cowboys linebackers as they had to deal with taking on the Giants offensive linemen thanks to their defensive line failing to hold their blocks. Jaylon Smith led the way with 10 total tackles and Sean Lee had six on the day. These linebackers have the talent but they need more help up front, hopefully the Cowboys get it this offseason.
This secondary has been pretty good the last few weeks but they weren’t as sharp this week against the Giants. They did have two turnovers with an interception and a fumble recovery. That’s really the only reason they got this grade because Anthony Brown didn’t look good this week and Jourdan Lewis also stumbled.
It’s on to 2021.