PHI-DAL grades: Elliott shines, but Prescott records poor outing overall
Dallas Cowboys 29, Philadelphia Eagles 23
Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Cowboys’ overtime NFC East win agains the Eagles on Sunday.
Quarterback grade: Dak Prescott, 33.9
Despite comeback, Dak Prescott records poor performance overall
Just looking at the box score won’t show you how bad Prescott was on Sunday night. He was very fortunate that many of his mistakes did not end up costing the Cowboys in a pivotal division game. Prescott threw two turnover-worthy passes in scoring territory in the first half. His costly interception before the half was a badly-forced throw in the middle of the field where he failed to read the defense correctly. Prescott’s second half was just as bad, if not worse than the first; he fumbled a handoff exchange early and had two more potential interceptions. Leodis McKelvin dropped one and Terrance Williams had to interfere with McKelvin and take an offensive pass interference penalty in order to prevent another. Prescott also badly underthrew two easy touchdowns to Dez Bryant. This was easily Prescott’s worst performance in his very young NFL career. Even with his struggles throughout the game, however, the rookie came through in the end with a strong drive and game-winning touchdown to lead Dallas to the overtime victory.
Top offensive grades
HB Ezekiel Elliott, 90.8
OT Tyron Smith, 84.7
C Travis Frederick, 80.1
WR Dez Bryant, 75.1
WR Cole Beasley, 72.8
Elliott excels in all phases, leads the way for Cowboys’ offense
Ezekiel Elliott was outstanding all night through the air and on the ground. While much of Elliott’s yardage this season has come before contact, on Sunday night he forced seven missed tackles on the ground, and 89 of his 96 rushing yards were gained after contact. Elliott was also solid in the passing game, catching all four of his targets for 52 yards. Dez Bryant made a huge impact in his return, catching the game-tying touchdown in tight coverage on a back-shoulder fade that was off target.
Top defensive grades
DE Tyrone Crawford, 85.2
CB Morris Claiborne, 83.2
LB Justin Durant, 81.4
CB Orlando Scandrick, 80.3
CB Brandon Carr, 79.9
Secondary shines again in solid defensive effort
The story all season for the Cowboys’ defense has been the turnaround of the secondary. Orlando Scandrick, who had been the Cowboys’ best DB, returned Sunday night and only allowed two receptions for 15 yards on four targets. Tyrone Crawford had a good night rushing the passer, with two sacks, one hit, and one hurry, but he was especially impactful in run defense. Crawford made three run stops and earned an 88.8 run-defense grade.
Quarterback grade: Carson Wentz, 72.7
Wentz extremely accurate in loss
Carson Wentz had an efficient game on Sunday. He was very effective in the quick-passing game, hitting many screen passes and extending drives by hitting numerous slant routes. Wentz’s receivers could have made him look much better—he was 32-for-43 on the night, but six of those incompletions were drops. The rookie could have graded out much better if it were not for his dangerous throw that was dropped by Scandrick early in the fourth quarter.
Top offensive grades
G Brandon Brooks, 85.2
OT Jason Peters, 82.7
G Stefen Wisniewski, 76
RB Darren Sproles, 74.2
QB Carson Wentz, 72.7
Drops hurt Eagles in overtime loss to Cowboys
The Eagles got a solid effort from most of their offensive line, and Carson Wentz only made one truly bad mistake, which did not end up hurting Philadelphia. What hurt the Eagles the most, however, was the ineffectiveness of their receivers. Philly’s receiving targets had six drops on the night, which stalled drives and may have cost the team a massively-important division win.
Top defensive grades
DE Brandon Graham, 92.9
LB Jordan Hicks, 88.3
DE Vinny Curry, 82.2
LB Nigel Bradham, 81.6
S Malcolm Jenkins, 78.4
Graham tremendously disruptive on edge for Eagles
Brandon Graham had a great game on the edge for the Eagles. He had four run stops on the night, and earned the team’s best run-defense grade. Even more impressive was his pass-rushing performance. Graham recorded three hits and eight pressures on the night, rushing mostly over Dallas RT Doug Free, who had the lowest grade on the night, with a 27.1 mark. Jordan Hicks graded highly mostly due to his duties in pass coverage. The linebacker’s biggest play came at the end of the second quarter when he read Prescott’s eyes and picked off a pass in the end zone that took away points from the Cowboys and led to a field goal before halftime.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot
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