NE-DAL Grades: Inept Cowboys sputter against Patriots

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Patriots’ 30-6 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

NE-DAL Grades: Inept Cowboys sputter against Patriots


Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Patriots’ 30-6 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday:

New England Patriots

– Dion Lewis (+3.5) was out of football last year. 32 NFL teams didn’t think he was good enough to play for them. That’s utterly crazy to think about after Lewis posted yet another ridiculous effort. He broke eight tackles overall, with three of them coming on one superb touchdown catch early in the third quarter.

– It’s been widely assumed that Tom Brady (+0.7) makes Julian Edelman (+2.4 receiving) look good, but Sunday it was the other way around. Edelman was creating separation and doing a good deal of work after the catch, padding the future Hall of Fame quarterback’s stats. The receiver had 80 of his 120 yards after the catch and broke four tackles in the process.

– It was a solid defensive performance all around, but seeing defensive tackle Malcolm Brown (+1.9) finally put together a positive game has to be encouraging. The rookie first-round pick made two stops on 10 snaps against the run and did it against a distinguished guard duo in Ronald Leary and Zack Martin.

Top performers:

HB Dion Lewis (+3.5)
LB Jamie Collins (+3.0)
FS Devin McCourty (+3.0)
CB Logan Ryan (+2.6)
DE Jabaal Sheard (+2.4)

Dallas Cowboys

– Brandon Weeden (-3.2) showed his limitations as a quarterback fully in this one. The Patriots continually dropped extra men in coverage, daring him to fit the ball into tight windows downfield, and Weeden consistently failed to do so. He was 4-for-11 on passes targeted 10 or more yards downfield.

– The Cowboys are in desperate need of a playmaker at the running back position. Dallas’ backs have been fine at reading blocks and making the right cuts, but they are basically taking what is given and rarely anything more. Joseph Randle (0.0) and Darren McFadden (-0.7) didn’t break a single tackle on the ground or through the air despite combining for 27 touches.

– Morris Claiborne (-4.8) had an absolute nightmare of a game. He wasn’t playing great through four weeks, but never a liability like he was Sunday. The former first-round pick allowed 120 yards on four targets. No one play described his night better than when with 5:32 to go in the second quarter Julian Edelman ran a routine slant route and Claiborne ended up flat on his face.

Top performers:

RG Zack Martin (+6.1)
LT Tyron Smith (+5.8)
DE Greg Hardy (+4.3)
DE Jeremy Mincey (+3.3)
CB Corey White (+3.1)

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • JonLee

    Watching Jerry Jones destroy what Jimmy Johnson/Bill Parcels built is always hilarious.
    https://mobile.twitter.com/gifdsports/status/653321551165693952/video/1

  • Danger Zone

    Please explain to me how a Completion Rating of 74.1, 275 yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown, 0 interceptions and a Passer Rating of 130.9 makes for a -1.1 PFF grade??

    • nonono

      I still do not understand why people still make comments like this on this site. You either have no idea what PFF does or youre trolling. Dont use generic stats as your only argument.

      • Danger Zone

        Perhaps it was the please that threw you off.

        That said, I dont understand why people continue to pretend that the actions of separate, completely unrelated strangers can somehow be lumped together and the whole ascribed as ignorant or hypocritical.

        You might have explained this 100 million times, and yet strangely enough, I might not have been around for that.

        That people continue to make comment like these means maybe you or PFF needs to stop being surprised by them and come to the conclusion that the system is not very intuitive.

        People are going to continue to assume that negative ratings are meant to be indicative of a negative overall performance and positive ratings are meant to be indicative of a positive overall performance and that everything else is secondary and a matter of degree.

        So snark aside, yes, I must obviously have no idea what PFF does. Hence me asking for clarification. First sentence: “Please explain to me”

        • Danger Zone

          For the record, since my original comment, this article has been edited (as is their right, god knows I need my own edits). Brady has been give a +.7 grade, upped from -1.1.

          Any implied complaint is withdrawn though I’d still welcome clarification on the intricacies of how these ratings are determined.

          • nonono

            yea they tend to release the grades before they look at the all-22 film.. they may have viewed the film and adjusted grades

          • LeBronc

            If they did correct the rating than it should be noted in the original article …would be unprofessional do to otherwise.
            You could’ve at least apologized to Danger Zone for your rush to judgement of his question…since your mea culpa below seems to agree with him.

          • boyblue122

            Im pretty sure Josh McCown also received a negative grade after throwing for 450 yards, 2 TDs and rushing for 1 TD.

            Based on that grade im assuming an avg QB could throw for 500+ yards, toss 3 TDs and rush for 2 more TDs and a pro bowl QB could throw for 1000 yards and toss 7 TDs

        • nonono

          Yes it was the phrase that threw me off

          I agree that the raw grades PFF provides in their articles are not very intuitive. Especially with their short explanations of the grades they give. I guess i just have more trust in their system because Ivebeen following them for awhile and follow some of their employees on twitter. Regardless of the grades, time and time again they show that they are very knowledgeable of the sport…
          For Brady, basically they are implying that he made slightly more poor plays than positive plays… I did not watch the full game… Im sure if I saw the game fully after knowing the grades Id be able to see where PFF was coming from.

          But yea the only way for them to really make us understand the grades is if they release their grading guidelines which wont happen

          • Chris from the Cape

            If you had seen the first half, you would have known Brady’s performance yesterday occurred under the most pressure he sustained in any game in his entire career. If you had followed PFF for the past few years, you would have known that was precisely that deficiency in Brady’s game that Monson + friends trumpeted across the sportsradio channels last September.

            That aside, I was commenting more on your civility than reasoning, though going on the road and posting a passer rate of 130 under heavy pressure WITH a backup left tackle in place is extra-ordinary, let alone BELOW average as you chided someone for even questioning.

        • Chris from the Cape

          Yeah: He was obnoxious.

      • Chris from the Cape

        You not only gave him the sports snobbery equivalent of “Do you know who I am,” but furthermore look the PFF fanboy for supporting that ridiculous -1.1 grade.. that didn’t even exist.

  • Maverick

    Edelman looked good because of all the pick plays the Patriots were running. Shouldn’t be surprised though.

    • totheights

      Yeah Edelman sure looked like he needed a pick play when he broke Mo Claiborne’s ankles. Lol. Whoops.

      • Boyfromoz

        There were some ridiculously blatant picks that weren’t called. Amendola is not running a route here, that is purely to block the defender.

        • totheights

          Ah yes, the classic, “let’s call a penalty on a guy who doesn’t touch anyone else.”

          Sorry man, if he ran into Claiborne there, sure you would have a case. But instead he stopped and Claiborne ran into him. Should have ran around him and maybe he wouldn’t of got beat.

          Soon enough we are going to see people complaining about teams running the play action. “That’s not fair, you tricked us into thinking you were running the ball”

          • Boyfromoz

            His 100% intent was to block Claiborne’s progress to the ball. You have to admire how well they cheat. I guess at least the balls weren’t deflated.

          • totheights

            Doesn’t matter what his intent was. He didn’t touch him.

            That’s like saying an offensive lineman should be called for holding if he goes to intentionally grab a defender as he is falling down but misses. But it still should be holding because his intent was to grab him.

            Lol. It’s funny how much the losers in this league continue to whine. It’s no surprise everyone tries to accuse the Patriots of cheating though because they win so much. No one accuses perennial losers of cheating.

          • JudoPrince

            Blocking a defenders progress to the ball should be illegal. Defenders are not allowed to block a receivers progress to the ball, so why does a WR get to?

          • ruhroh

            > His 100% intent was to block Claiborne’s progress to the ball. > You have to admire how well they cheat.

            Hahahaha… That’s all you got to say because your team sucked!

          • Chris from the Cape

            With you mentioning 1st half of the AFCCG they won by 40 points, you might as well reference the 1st half 07′ Jets game the Pats won by 24 points..

          • JudoPrince

            tothelights………..the WR is clearly cutting off the path of the defender to being able to guard both his man and the ball. Think of it this way. If a defender cuts off a WR’s path to the ball, by using his body as a shield, its automatic pass interference on the defender; regardless on the amount of contact. This concept clearly does not apply for WR’s and it creates gimmick plays as the one you see above. This is a horrid product we are watching.

        • JudoPrince

          The NFL is losing credibly by allowing these WR to just pick off defenders and allowing players to run wide open. Yet lay a fingernail on a WR 5 yards downfield and its an illegal contact flag on the defense. Unreal. I wonder how good some of these so called ‘great’ QB’s would look if the rule book wasn’t so heavily skewed to favor the offense. Even, Josh McCown threw for nearly 500 yrds on Sunday thanks to this B.S. That’s right, Josh McCown!!

    • Chris from the Cape

      Maybe you want to reference the 1st half of the Jets game in 07′, or the AFCG vs the Colts….which the Pats won by a combined 60 points, but I’ll simply ask you to prove that you’re not an intellectual fraud by coming up with better material.

  • Zack23

    Remember that poster who claimed Cowboys would be better off losing their QB/WR than their OT/C? Good lord their horrible to watch.

  • Jared

    You know for a while it was tough to see why The Cowboys have put up with all offseason distractions from Greg Hardy. For a while I thought they would consider releasing him. Then you see him play and you quickly remember how much of a destructive force he can be. Now the Patriots offensive line is admittedly so-so. But he was exactly what I remembered and thats even after football was not the first thing I associated with Greg Hardy.

    • Chris from the Cape

      A- No, the Patriots O-Line is top 10. B-Greg Hardy is a great talent. C-Since football is a true team sport, Hardy’s influence on his teammates may yet prove to be more trouble than its worth.

      • Jared

        I’m not so sure they are a top 10 line. I guess we’ll see when they play some of the better fronts.

        • Chris from the Cape

          They aren’t elite, but are very deep and versatile: PFF graded them last week at #7.

  • Matt

    On the Claiborne point – do you take into consideration the illegal pick set by Amendola that wasn’t called on the long 59 yard touchdown?

    • Jim Winslow

      pick plays are a part of the nfl, they are called 50:50, so cornerbacks should be prepared to avoid them

      • Chris from the Cape

        ….and they called 2 PIs on Edelman as it was- (and gave a gift one to the Cowboys for Justin Coleman)

    • JudoPrince

      “No one play described his night better than when with 5:32 to go in the second quarter Julian Edelman ran a routine slant route and Claiborne ended up flat on his face”

      When Amendola set that pick on that one pass play, did PFF also take away points from Claiborn? Why doesn’t PFF write an article about how allowing WR’s to impede on the progression of a defender trying to cover his man, is taking away from the overall product of the game? A defender can’t block a WR’s prgoress; so why is a WR able to do this?

    • Mike Renner

      Yes, he wasn’t downgraded for that play

  • Centre Wing

    Danger Zone… typical Pats fan.

  • Tim Edell

    Sounds like Joseph Randle is leaving some ” meat on the bone”