DAL-CHI grades: Dallas rookies lead the way in win over Chicago
Dallas Cowboys 31, Chicago Bears 17
Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from Cowboys 31-17 win over the Texans:
Quarterback grade: Brian Hoyer 70.9
Hoyer offers too little, too late
Through three quarters, Hoyer hadn’t completed a single pass more than 10 yards down the field. He would connect on a few on their desperation drives in the fourth quarter, but the damage had already been done. The result was a trio of three-and-outs on their first five drives. He finishes with a respectable grade though, after a handful of very nice throws in the fourth quarter.
Top offensive grades:
G Kyle Long, 80.8
C Cody Whitehair, 79.9
G Josh Sitton, 79.6
T Bobby Massie, 75.0
TE Zach Miller, 74.7
Young playmakers still finding their way
A lot of the potential for the 2016 Bears offense has been pinned to the hopes of young weapons like Jeremy Langford, Kevin White and Jordan Howard. They were featured heavily throughout Sunday night’s game, but none quite took advantage of the opportunity. White had 12 targets, but only had 6 catches for 62 yards to go along with a drop and another that he probably should have hauled in. He made a spectacular juggling catch in the fourth, but the consistency still wasn’t there. At running back, Langford had to leave after three carries and Howard was unimpressive in his absence. He had a concentration drop late in the game and too often failed to vary his run speeds sprinting directly into defensive linemen. Howard had a 36-yard run and a 14-yard run, but his other seven carries netted him -5 yards.
Top defensive grades:
OLB Willie Young, 83.1
LB Jerrell Freeman, 79.6
S Chris Prosinski, 78.6
CB Cre’von LeBlanc, 75.9
LB Nick Kwiatkoski, 75.1
Bears outmanned up front
Willie Young was easily the top defender for Chicago. He had five total pressures on 18 pass-rush snaps, even if he did get called for roughing the passer once. The Bears’ struggled against the run up front, with all five defensive linemen grading below a 50 rating in run defense. They didn’t offer much as pass rushers either as the five players combined for three hurries. CB Jacoby Glenn held his own the first two weeks, but he did not fare as well against Dallas. He was targeted six times and allowed five catches for 116 yards to earn the lowest coverage grade in the secondary, but he did have a pass breakup on the one incompletion.
Quarterback grade: Dak Prescott, 82.1
Prescott refuses to play like a rookie
Rookie Dak Prescott had another solid outing this week, as he led the Cowboys to their second win of the season. He continues to take care of the ball and minimize mistakes, but what may be most impressive is how well he handles being under pressure. He rarely panics, is able to maneuver around and out of the pocket to extend the play, and makes plays either with his arm or his legs. Prescott completed 7-of-10 passes while under pressure against the Bears, and on the season has an adjusted completion percentage of 64.3 percent when under pressure, ninth-highest among quarterbacks to play in all three weeks. Through Week 3 (prior to Monday night’s game), Prescott has the sixth-best overall grade for a quarterback this season at 84.5.
Top offensive grades:
C Travis Frederick, 82.9
QB Dak Prescott, 82.1
RG Zack Martin, 82.0
T Doug Free, 80.7
WR Cole Beasley, 79.2
Elliott Finally Finds Success
Rookie HB Ezekiel Elliott was quite successful running the ball behind the Dallas offensive line Sunday night. He is showing more patience and improved vision as he gets more experience running in a new system. He had good help up front from Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, who each had their best run-blocking grades of the year. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Elliott, though. With Tyron Smith out, Chaz Green stepped in at left tackle and struggled in both facets of blocking. He had a below-average run-blocking grade and allowed four pressures in pass protection to end up as the lowest-graded player on the Dallas offense. La’el Collins also struggled before being replaced by Ronald Leary in the second half, who came in and played significantly better than Collins.
Top defensive grades:
S Byron Jones, 86.9
S J.J. Wilcox, 77.8
LB Sean Lee, 77.4
CB Anthony Brown, 77.1
DT Tyrone Crawford, 75.4
Pass rush a problem, but could get better
For about a quarter and a half at the end of the game everyone on the Cowboys defense knew the Bears had to pass. Still, no one on the Cowboys defense managed a sack while only Tyrone Crawford and Ryan Davis were able to notch a single hit a piece. The encouraging part is that Davis managed their highest pass-rushing grade in only eight snaps, his first action of the season. He should only see the field more as he gets acclimated. And Crawford lined up exclusively at defensive end (he’s normally a defensive tackle) and posted his highest pass-rushing grade since Week 12 of last year.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott
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