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Cowboys vs. Falcons: Final Report Cards, Player Grades for Dallas

Steven MirandaFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2016

Cowboys vs. Falcons: Final Report Cards, Player Grades for Dallas

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    The Dallas Cowboys were unable to hand the Atlanta Falcons their first loss of the season. The Cowboys have had back-to-back games in which they needed to come from behind and this week they fell short once again. The Cowboys were not able to take advantage of an earlier New York Giants loss and were not able to gain ground in the standings.

    The Falcons remain undefeated and move to 8-0 while dropping the Cowboys to 3-5 on the season. The Falcons win another close game while the Cowboys cannot finish with a win in a close game. The final from the Georgia Dome, 19-13.

    Let's take a look as the final player grades and analysis for the Dallas Cowboys.


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    Tony Romo: B-

    Tony Romo continues to take the blame for the Cowboys losing game and this week he did not even commit a turnover. However Romo was only comfortable running the no-huddle offense.

    Romo needs to decide which of his receivers he is going to trust. Right now he is only in-sync with tight end Jason Witten. Romo finished the game with a 109.3 passer rating on 25-of-35 passing for 321 yards passing.


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    Felix Jones: B-

    Felix Jones is not 100 percent and it shows. Jones did not make anyone forget DeMarco Murray as he only gained 39 yards on nine rush attempts.

    Jones did add 70 receiving yards on five catches, but 39 yards came on the final play of the game in which the Falcons were playing for a Hail Mary pass. In other words, Jones did not do enough when it mattered.

    Lance Dunbar: C

    Maybe the rookie running back from North Texas is not quite ready for prime time. Dunbar only gained 26 yards on eight carries. He did have one long run of 18 yards, but that means he only gained eight yards on the other seven carries. Not good enough.

Wide Receivers

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    Miles Austin: B-

    Although Miles Austin had seven receptions for 76 yards, he did have a few critical dropped passes in the game. None was bigger than the drop he had on 3rd-and-13 midway through the third quarter. If Austin catches that pass and makes the first down, it might have changed the outcome of the game.

    Dez Bryant: D

    We are not even sure Dez Bryant was even on the field. Bryant seems lost at times and he only managed one catch for 15 yards. If Bryant wants to be considered a huge part of the offense and a superstar player, he needs to play a bigger role in big games.

    Kevin Ogletree: B+

    If only Kevin Ogletree can be this consistent every week. Ogletree gained 96 yards on three catches and scored the Cowboys only touchdown.

    It appears as if Ogletree has Romo on his side, but at this point he cannot be relied upon to be there week in and week out.

Tight Ends

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    Jason Witten: A+

    Jason Witten must be getting tired of all the records he seems to be accomplishing without getting the wins. With his seven receptions, Witten passed Michael Irvin (750) for most receptions in Cowboys history with 754.

    Witten finished the games with 51 yards on those seven catches.

Offensive Line

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    Tyron Smith: B

    Tyron Smith had a great game protecting quarterback Tony Romo, but he did commit another stupid penalty. Smith was called for illegal use of hands midway through the first quarter.

    Doug Free: C+

    This was probably Doug Free’s best game this season, but that is not saying much. He is still having a hard time making this transition to the right side.

    Ryan Cook: B-

    Ryan Cook did an admirable job replacing center Phil Costa today. Cook did a much better job with snaps including better shot-gun formation snaps. Cook was also more effective run blocking than one week ago.

    Mackenzy Bernadeau: D

    Mackenzy Bernadeau is giving up way too much ground. He was responsible for giving up two tackles for a loss and for the pressure that the Falcons were able to generate from the middle of the field.

Defensive Line

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    Jay Ratliff: B-

    Just when you thought things could not get worse for the Cowboys, Jay Ratliff gets injured again. Ratliff was quietly having a great game before he was injured.

    Ratliff did register two quarterback hits before he left the game.

    Jason Hatcher: B+

    Jason Hatcher was not as active in rushing the passer but he did clog up the running lanes. He had two solo tackles and one tackle for a loss.

    Kenyon Coleman: B

    Kenyon Coleman had a quiet night. Coleman only registered one solo tackle and was not his usual disruptive self. Coleman did not manage to create any pressure on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and was quiet against the run as well.


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    DeMarcus Ware: A

    Linebacker DeMarcus Ware continues to be a great leader on the defense. Ware picked up another one and half sacks against Matt Ryan.

    Ware also had some big stops in the running game. Ware finished with three solo tackles, four total, one and a half sacks, one tackle for a loss and two quarterback hits.

    Bruce Carter: A+

    It’s a shame the Cowboys lost the game because Bruce Carter had an excellent performance. Carter was all over the field and finished the game with 10 tackles. He also had two tackles for a loss and one pass defensed.

    Anthony Spencer: B

    Welcome back Anthony Spencer! Spencer finished with five solo tackles and one tackle for a loss. Spencer started the game and played most of the Cowboys defensive snaps and had another solid outing.

    Ernie Simms: A

    Ernie Simms was in the game playing for the injured Sean Lee and Dan Connor. Simms was active all over the field and had seven tackles with five solo tackles. If Simms continues to play at this pace, he will be a solid replacement for the Cowboys.

Defensive Backs

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    Brandon Carr: A

    For the most part, Brandon Carr did a great job against Roddy White and Julio Jones. Carr did give up a few pass plays, but he broke up several plays as well including a would-be touchdown that he batted away at the last minute.

    Carr also finished the game with two solo tackles.

    Morris Claiborne: B-

    Rookie Morris Claiborne continues to impress with matching up against great wide receivers. He kept Julio Jones out of the end zone and only gave up one big play. Claiborne also almost came away with a great interception, but Roddy White pulled his arm to prevent the pick.

    Orlando Scandrick: D-

    Talk about picking the wrong time to play your worst. Orlando Scandrick missed a tackle late in the fourth quarter on 3rd-and-6 and then was charged with a defensive holding penalty later on in the drive with the Falcons facing a 3rd-and-8.

    If Scandrick is able to make either of those plays, the Cowboys would have had a better chance of winning the game.

Special Teams

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    Dan Bailey: B-

    Kicker Dan Bailey nailed the two short kicks but missed on the long 54-yard attempt. Bailey is going to have to improve his accuracy in long distance kicks if he wants to prove he can consistently make kicks beyond 50 yards.

    Brian Moorman: A

    Brian Moorman is doing a great job replacing Chris Jones. Moorman had four punts with three of them pinning the Falcons inside their own 20-yard line. Moorman averaged 45.5 yards per punt and had one long punt of 53 yards.

    Dwayne Harris: A

    Dwayne Harris earned the punt return job for at least another game. Harris gave the Cowboys their first exciting punt return when he returned the Falcons first punt 37 yards to the Falcons 32-yard line.


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    Jason Garrett: F

    Jason Garrett continues to struggle as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys situational game planning is horrendous. His play-calling is a joke and has no feel for the game. It appears as if Garrett is coaching scared instead of coaching to win games.

    Jerry Jones is going to have to make a decision on whether or not he keeps Garrett to coach the Cowboys next year.

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