DAL-CHI grades: Dallas rookies lead the way in win over Chicago

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott were two of the stars for the Cowboys Sunday.

| 4 weeks ago
(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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:

Chicago Bears

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.

Dallas Cowboys

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

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| 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.

  • James

    Not sure how Elliott won a game ball even though he wasn’t one of the five highest graded players on the Cowboys offense. And FWIW, I’m a Cowboys fan.

    • Johnny U.

      this website knows black qbs are better and white qbs lost their edge, thats why they try and hype wentz cause they know they cant sell us on andrew luck anymore

      • Eric

        Race baiter, cute.

  • cfioren317

    I thought that a bit strange too…what was Elliott’s grade?

  • crosseyedlemon

    Is it too early for the Bears to consider “tanking” and chasing the Browns for next years top draft spot? My pre-season prediction of 8 wins was far too optimistic as they will be lucky to managed half that many. They have been embarrassed in back to back weeks by rookie QBs and on deck are the Lions who have won the past 6 meetings. Oh well, at least the Cubs are providing fans in Chicago with some hope.

  • dlund6cutler

    Jerrell Freeman was the only player yesterday (on the Bears) that looked like a starter.

    • crosseyedlemon

      If the Bears lose next week at home to Detroit the finger pointing and backbiting will kick into overdrive.