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.
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)
– 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.
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)