DAL-CLE grades: Elliott, Prescott grade well in Cowboys’ win

Dallas offense dominates Cleveland's defense in blowout Week 9 win.

| 1 month ago
Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott

(Jason Miller, Getty Images)

DAL-CLE grades: Elliott, Prescott grade well in Cowboys’ win


Here are the top-graded players and most noteworthy performances from the Cowboys’ comfortable 35-10 victory over the Browns in Cleveland.

Dallas Cowboys

QB grade: Dak Prescott, 82.0

Prescott takes advantage of Browns’ defense 

Those of us wondering if Dak Prescott would rebound from his primetime struggles were given a very firm “yes.” In truth, Cleveland did not make it hard for Prescott with numerous coverage busts and very little pressure generated up front. You can only beat what’s in front of you though and, one dropped interception aside, Prescott didn’t go chasing plays when he didn’t need to with just four targets longer than 20 yards in the air all game.

Top offensive grades:

TE Jason Witten 89.5
LT Tyron Smith 83.4
QB Dak Prescott 82.0
RT Doug Free 81.7
LG Ronald Leary 79.9

Cowboys win up front 

This was a win that started up front, especially in the first half where the line gave Ezekiel Elliott (77.8) a lot of room to roam. In pass protection the entire line was beaten only three times during the entire game for pressure, and that gave Prescott plenty of time to go to work with Jason Witten as the main recipient.

Top defensive grades:

CB Brandon Carr 81.1
LB Anthony Hitchens 79.0
LB Sean Lee 76.4
LB Damien Wilson 76.4
DE Tyrone Crawford 73.7

Cowboys’ D applies pressure 

Credit to the coaches here because once Cameron Erving was ejected, they used a variety of pass-rush games to take advantage of a line that had no shot at being cohesive. With Cleveland forced to abandon the run, they picked up pressure on 13 of 32 dropbacks — essentially twice as much as the Browns defense were able to on the other side of the field.

Cleveland Browns

QB grade: Cody Kessler, 75.0

Kessler gets no help from receivers 

There’s enough about Kessler to warrant his starting, and the Browns’ woes against Dallas should not be put at his door. He does have a tendency to hold onto the ball too long and abandon clean pockets, but what are you supposed to do when your receivers aren’t getting open? Arm strength isn’t everything, but five incomplete passes on balls thrown 20 yards in the air won’t get it done.

Top offensive grades: 

C John Greco 80.3
LT Joe Thomas 80.2
LG Spencer Drango 76.0
QB Cody Kessler 75.0
WR Corey Coleman 71.4

O-line copes with changes 

This wasn’t an offensive showing without redeeming features, but the defense’s inability to get Dallas off the field took away any chance they had of being balanced, and made it very easy for Rod Marinelli to get after Kessler. The line coped well with more changes thrust upon them for the most part, but Alvin Bailey didn’t enjoy his time at right guard in the third quarter and was beaten for three sacks in this one.

Top defensive grades: 

LB Demario Davis 77.6
S Ibraheim Campbell 75.1
LB Jamie Collins 72.3
NT Danny Shelton 64.6
CB Joe Haden 60.0

Young talent can’t get it done on defense 

It’s tough being a rookie. And it’s tough when rookies and second-year players account for so many of your defensive snaps. Right now it’s showing up, but it can’t just be blamed on these young players, as veterans were at the heart of the two busted coverages. The performances of a number of these players in college showed talent, but it might not be this year that we see a coherent group come together.

PFF Game Ball Winner: Jason Witten

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.

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