WAS-DAL grades: Prescott earns high marks in win
Dallas Cowboys 31, Washington Redskins 26
Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Cowboys’ 31-26 Thanksgiving win over the Redskins in Week 12:
Quarterback grade: Kirk Cousins, 82.0
Cousins puts together an excellent performance
Kirk Cousins played well enough to win this game in all honesty. Throwing for 449 yards, completing 77.4 percent of his passes, and connecting on 152 yards worth of deep strikes on seven shots over 20+ air yards, he just didn’t get the support from his defense. Cousins wasn’t nearly as successful when pressured, but the Cowboys defense could only make that a factor on eight of his 53 dropbacks. When he was kept clean in the pocket – most of the time – he had a passer rating of 126.1, and was completing 84.4 percent of those passes. This was another game that will be a strong one for his resume even if the result didn’t go his way.
Top offensive grades:
TE Jordan Reed, 93.4
QB Kirk Cousins, 82.0
T Morgan Moses, 78.4
TE Vernon Davis, 76.9
G Brandon Scherff, 76.3
Washington airs it out and moves the ball
Washington have built up a pretty fearsome passing attack over recent weeks, and, against the Dallas secondary missing CB Morris Claiborne, they were able to take to the skies again and rack up huge yardage. They chiefly victimized rookie CB Anthony Brown, but there were few Dallas defenders that didn’t allow significant yardage in coverage. TE Jordan Reed was dominant in the game, catching ten passes, two touchdowns and 95 yards worth despite being held on one play deep down the sideline. Jamison Crowder and DeSean Jackson also had big games, with Jackson streaking down the sideline to take advantage of a coverage bust for a 67-yard touchdown. Washington didn’t have great success running the ball, but they had plenty passing.
Top defensive grades:
DT Ziggy Hood, 75.9
LB Will Compton, 75.5
S Donte Whitner, 73.4
DE Cullen Jenkins, 71.8
S Duke Ihenacho, 70.4
Secondary has a day to forget
This wasn’t the best defensive performance you’ll see all year, and as much as you might want to say “they went up against the Dallas offensive line” that would be an unjust out. On the defensive line they made plays, but, in the run game, the back seven just didn’t hold up — missing tackles, taking bad angles and struggling to get off blocks. They were not at the races and picked a bad day for that with the effortless running of Ezekiel Elliott punishing them time and time again. Even when they stiffened up front so slow the running game down, Josh Norman and Kendall Fuller just couldn’t make a play in coverage that could get the Cowboys off the field.
Quarterback grade: Dak Prescott, 87.8
Prescott makes it look easy
Watch out, NFL, because he’s getting better. Two below par throws all game and a number of money throws highlighted a guy at the peak of his powers right now. He’s moving about like a veteran in the pocket to create throwing lanes then rifling it through tight windows. Terrance Williams deserves a ton of plaudits for his TD catch but the throw was a thing of beauty. As fans of the game we should just soak up a rookie playing so well.
Top offensive grades:
QB Dak Prescott, 87.8
RB Ezekiel Elliott, 83.8
RG Zack Martin, 81.8
WR Cole Beasley, 80.0
WR Dez Bryant, 78.6
Skill-position players show off talent
The Cowboys won the match ups on offense that mattered. Ezekiel Elliott versus any linebacker. Dez Bryant versus Josh Norman. Dak Prescott versus what a rookie fourth rounder should be able to achieve. When they needed clutch plays they got them and they have the kind of variety of attack that means you can’t rob Peter to pay Paul because someone down the pecking order is going to punish you. The rest of the NFC, nay NFL, has to hope they’ve peaked too soon and that December can slow them down a little.
Top defensive grades:
LB Sean Lee, 85.9
LB Anthony Hitchens, 82.6
DT Cedric Thornton, 81.5
S J.J.Wilcox, 80.8
CB Orlando Scandrick, 76.6
Cowboys get lit up through the air
The Dallas defense got lit up through the air, especially deep, and the majority of the damage was done by rookie CB Anthony Brown. With no Morris Claiborne in the lineup, Brown was targeted 11 times, surrendering nine catches for 128 yards and a touchdown, entirely switching off inexplicably for the 67-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson for the score. Brown wasn’t alone though, and multiple defenders struggled to stay with the Washington receivers in the passing game. Sean Lee made a nice play to intercept Kirk Cousins in the end zone, but it was only on the two-point attempt after a touchdown, and overall they were lucky their offense kept scoring to make the game certain.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Dak Prescott
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