2017-2018 Game by Game Analyses/Team Grades/Player of the Week Honors

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2017 Schedule

Regular Season

Week 1 vs New York Giants Win 19-3 1-0

Analysis: The Cowboys came out very strong on their SNF debut, severally controlling the line of scrimmage as well as the time of possession. Those were the two most important factors in the game. Congratulations to Jason Witten on passing the all-time great, Michael Irvin, on most career receiving yardage in Dallas Cowboy history!

Team Grade: B+

Player of the Week Honor: Jason Witten 7 catches 59 yards 1 TD(2x), Ezekiel Elliott 24 carries 104 yards 5 catches 36 yards, Jaylon Smith 7 tackles 1 FF(2x)

 

Week 2 @ Denver Broncos Loss 42-17 1-1

Analysis: Just an awful performance on both sides of the ball, in particular the defense. This is not a good sign, mainly because Denver isn’t known to have a strong offense and the Cowboys defense was helpless giving up an unacceptable 42 points. Would have been an F if Lawrence and Lewis didn’t make the plays they did on D.

Team Grade: D-

Player of the Week Honor: Jason Witten 10 catches 97 yards 1 TD(3x), DeMarcus Lawrence 7 tackles 2 sacks(2x), Jourdan Lewis 6 tackles 1 INT

 

Week 3 @ Arizona Cardinals Win 28-17 2-1

Analysis: This was a really good performance on both sides, especially in the last 45 minutes in which their dominance was very evident. Zeke also chipped in with 94 total yards and Maliek Collins had 2 sacks.

Team Grade: A-

Player of the Week Honor: Dak Prescott 13/18 183 yards 2 TDs 3 rushes 16 yards 1 TD(3x), DeMarcus Lawrence 3 sacks(3x)

 

Week 4 vs. Los Angeles Rams Loss 35-30 2-2

Analysis: Overall, a poor performance by the Cowboys. However, one of the better games we have seen from WR Dez Bryant in awhile. The offense also played well putting up a respectable 30 points. Zeke Elliott was in good form putting up an elite 139 all-purpose yards and 2 touchdowns, doing what the running back on the opposite team, Todd Gurley has been doing all season. However, the defense was just baited into what every defense has been stuck in this year: a shootout, allowing 35 points on that side of the ball.

Team Grade: C+

Player of the Week Honor: Dez Bryant 5 catches 98 yards(2x), Ezekiel Elliott 21 rushes 85 yards 1 TD 4 catches 54 yards 1 TD(2x)

 

Week 5 vs. Green Bay Packers Loss 35-31 2-3

Analysis: A poor collapse by the Cowboys overlooked some thick silver lining. Ezekiel Elliott continued to run well with a big game, and the potential of David Irving continued to come into fruition rapidly.

Team Grade: B-

Player of the Week Honor: Ezekiel Elliott 29 rushes 116 yards(3x), David Irving 2 sacks

 

BYE

Analysis: The Bye Week has come at a perfect time for the Cowboys as they have been struggling as of late. They have some very winnable gaming coming up that can positively turn their tide.

 

Week 7 @ San Fransisco 49ers Win 40-10 3-3

Analysis: Exactly what the Cowboys needed, a big win putting them back on the right track. An enormous day for Zeke, very similar to last year’s win when he had 230 all-purpose yards with 3 TDs. Today having 219 all-purpose yards with 3 TDs, as well. Another, very elite and storybook performance for the 22-year old running back. Also, congratulations to Dez Bryant for tying Cowboys great, Bob Hayes for most all-time touchdown receptions from a Cowboys player. A great game for him, as well.

Team Grade: A+

Player of the Week Honor: Ezekiel Elliott 26 rushes 147 yards 2 TDs 1 catch 72 yards 1 TD(4x), Dak Prescott 16-25 234 yards 3 TDs 4 rushes 26 yards 1 TD(4x)

 

Week 8 @ Washington Redskins Win 33-19 4-3

Analysis: A game in which the Cowboys decided to take their star running back, and absolutely dominate the time of possession. They gave Elliott a career-high 34 touches in this game, which is 2 more than his previous career-high of 32 against the Chicago Bears last season. A good statement win for the Cowboys, who also controlled the game defensively, making stops, getting sacks, and even a turnover. A nice game for David Irving with 2 sacks and a big play where Tyrone Crawford blocked a Redskin field goal and Orlando Scandrick returned the ball 86 yards down the field. Would like to see a better game out of Prescott.

Team Grade: B+

Player of the Week Honor: Ezekiel Elliott 33 rushes 150 yards 2 TDs 1 catch 4 yards(5x)

 

Week 9 vs Kansas City Chiefs Win 28-17 5-3

Analysis: Again, we have seen our quarterback shine in the spotlight. Against a modest KC defense, Prescott was able to control the game and distribute the ball downfield at a rate we haven’t seen him do much. He looked to be in peak form. Then there was Terrance Williams, who flat out put on a show. Dallas controlled the tempo running in 31 times on to of Prescott’s 33 pass attempts. Defense did a fantastic job of keeping the Chiefs off the field. Really only the one mistake of defense, which occurred prior to the half when Tyreek Hill broke open a big touchdown has time expired on some very poor coverage. Special Teams did a great job of pinning the opposition with 4/5 punts going inside the 20 yard line, starting their last possession at their own 2.

Team Grade: B+

Player of the Week Honor: Dak Prescott 21/33 249 yards 2 TDs 3 rushes 27 yards 1 TD(5x), Terrance Williams 9 catches 141 yards

 

Week 10 @ Atlanta Falcons Loss 27-7 5-4

Analysis: One of the worst Cowboy games that I personally have ever witnessed. Nobody was really deserving of being named Played of the Week, so it goes for Xavier Woods, who had his first career interception in a diving form. Now it seems the Cowboys have a big problem on their hands with the loss of Tyron Smith. Don’t take this lightly, Chaz Green was put on perhaps the worst performance a NFL offensive lineman has ever put fourth. His assignment, Adrian Clayborn was able to sack the quarterback a mind-boggling 6 times. Unbelievable. In 160 career games, Clayborn has never even registered a 3 sack performance. If it was my call, Green’s days as a Cowboys would absolutely be finished. That’s the hardcore truth of the matter, he showed today that he will never have what it takes.

Team Grade: F

Player of the Week Honor: Xavier Woods INT

 

Week 11 vs. Philadelphia Eagles Loss 37-9 5-5

Analysis: If it wasn’t for the Special Teams unit playing perhaps the best game of the season, and Alfred Morris showing some gas in the tank, this was a complete failure of a performance. The worst game of Dak Prescott’s young career, throwing 3 interceptions without a touchdown. Ryan Switzer finally broke through for a big time return and the newly acquired Mike Nugent was looking more than capable of getting the job done.

Team Grade: D-

Player of the Week Honor: Alfred Morris 17 rushes 91 yards, Ryan Switzer 61 yard return

 

Week 12 vs. Los Angeles Chargers Loss 28-6 5-6

Analysis: Reminiscent of the 2015 Thanksgiving game when Tony Romo was on his second week back from a broken left collarbone, just to be reinjured again in a 33-14 loss. This game was almost on that level on dissatisfactory football. Philip Rivers was 27 for 33, for FOUR-HUNDRED and thirty-four yards, 3 TDs no INTs. PHILIP RIVERS. If it wasn’t for the Chargers trying to get Melvin Gordon going they could have easily put up another two, maybe three touchdowns. An embarrassing performance on both sides of the ball. The only good did come on offense, where Rod Smith ran the ball very hard, and congratulations to the GOAT, Jason Witten, on breaking the Thanksgiving Day football record for most receiving yardage of all-time.

Team Grade: D-

Player of the Week Honor: Rod Smith 9 rushes 41 yards 1 TD, Jason Witten 7 catches 44 yards (Most Thanksgiving Receiving Yardage All-Time)(4x)

 

Week 13 vs. Washington Redskins Win 38-14 6-6

Analysis: A powerful Thursday Night Football comeback performance showing there is still life within this Cowboys team. Alfred Morris was in peak form against his former team gashing them left and right. That’s why I showed some excitement in a dod of a game like the 37-9 loss against Philadelphia. Morris looks good right now. Welcome to the NFL, Ryan Switzer. The Switz Army Knife has been looking better and better as this season has progressed. A HUGE 83 yard punt return touchdown, coming in perfect time as Dak Prescott was prepared to sit the series out to get his hand evaluated, latter to be disclosed that his injury was nothing to be too concerned about. Another dominant performance by the defensive line against the Redskins, really the defense in general, putting up a monster/clutch performance.

Team Grade: A

Player of the Week Honor: Alfred Morris 27 rushes 127 yards 1 TD(2x), DeMarcus Lawrence 2 sacks(3x), Ryan Switzer 83 yard Punt Return TD(2x)

 

Week 14 @ New York Giants Win 30-10 7-6

Analysis: A divisional performance to remember as RB Rod Smith simply took over a game that was fairly close throughout, and ended it. Smith totaled 160 all-purpose yards and had 2 TDs on only 11 touches. This includes a game clinching 81 yard touchdown catch to ice the Cowboys performance. His partner in this one, QB Dak Prescott was virtually undeniable, as he took whatever he wanted in this year’s matchup. On the other side of the ball, LB Sean Lee took over the game tallying 18 tackles along with an interception on perhaps his last meeting with the other team’s leader, QB Eli Manning.

Team Grade: A+

Player of the Week Honor: Rod Smith 6 rushes 47 yards 1 TD 5 catches 113 yards 1 TD(2x), Sean Lee 18 tackles 1 INT, Dak Prescott(6x) 20/30 332 yard 3 TDs 6 rushes 13 yards

 

Week 15 @ Oakland Raiders Win 20-17 8-6

Analysis: Really not to much of a game here. A very bland performance as Dallas did a good job with their clockwork, snapping 31 runs and 27 passes. One run in particular was a bright spot for the game, when P Chris Jones took off for a crucial and clutch 24 yard fake punt run conversion. Aside from the gam being a bit slow, this was still a decent performance from the Boys’.

Team Grade: B

Player of the Week Honor: Chris Jones 24 yard fake punt run

 

Week 16 vs. Seattle Seahawks Loss 21-12 8-7

Analysis: The Cowboys did a very good job at controlling the time of possession. However, in week 11 I said that Dak Prescott had the worst game of his career. This game was absolutely worse throwing two interceptions, while touchdown-less. And the worst part, one of them was thrown directly to a defending on a walk-off INT TD. Prescott’s throws down the field were to be honest, very ugly in this one. He definitely needs a lot of work this off-season as this loss officially ends the Cowboys run this season. Here lies a big reason why I was opposed to not giving Tony Romo his job back last season. To make matters worse on why Dallas’ offense dropped to an F, Dez Bryant had in my opinion, the second worst game of his career (last season week 14 @ Giants). Dez dropped ball after ball, fumbled the ball, and dropped what happened to fall into the hands of a Seattle defender and being essentially the game-clinching interception. Special teams missed crucial field goals, including one from 34 and 48, as well as an extra point). The defense constantly picked up the slack for the offense in this game holding Seattle to 76 rushing yards on 31 attempts. Also, 93 passing yards on 21 attempts. A job done very-well, however the script has been flipped, and the offense has blown the season.

Team Grade: D- (Defense: A, Offense/Special Teams: F)

Player of the Week Honor: Sean Lee 13 tackles (Helped Hold Seattle to 76 rushing yards on 31 attempts)(2x)

 

Week 17 @ Philadelphia Eagles Win 6-0 9-7

Analysis: The good: they shut the Eagles out for the first time since 2009. The bad: in a meaningless game, they find a way to damper their draft selection really without testing out any young talent/made several mistakes against an extremely overrated Eagles team. A boring game, was not anywhere close to the Tony Romo final curtain call, last season.

Team Grade: C

Player of the Week Honor: Ezekiel Elliott 27 rushes 103 yards 3 catches 38 yards (6x), Chidobe Awuzie 1 INT

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Preseason

HOF Game vs. Arizona Cardinals Win 20-18

Analysis: This was a pretty good way to start the season. The members of the first-team defense that were in didn’t look great, but some did show flashes. The team did show a lot of depth as Rico Gathers had a big game. Similar running depth, Rod Smith carried a big load along with Alfred Morris. Finally, it looks like they might have a nice future backup in Cooper Rush.

Team Grade: B

Player of the Week Honor: Rico Gathers 3 catches 59 yards 1 TD

 

Week 1 @ Los Angeles Rams Loss 13-10

Analysis: A similar performance to last week, depth looked good. With the pending suspension to Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden came out strong in attempt to prove that he can carry the load in the meantime. Now a serious trend is developing as young tight end Rico Gathers is developing into a matchup nightmare after another great game. Undrafted quarterback, Cooper Rush again put on a great performance with Gathers and WR Noah Brown being his go-to targets. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli called first round pick Taco Charlton out in the media last week and Taco came out strong with a big first sack.

Team Grade: B-

Player of the Week Honor: Rico Gathers(2x) 4 catches 47 yards 1 TD and Cooper Rush 9-11 104 yards 1 TD

 

Week 2 vs. Indianapolis Colts W 24-19

Analysis: A game where the entire team looked strong. The first team offense (without Zeke) came out and marched down the field scoring a touchdown from Dak to Dez while making it look oh so easy. Jaylon Smith made his long awaited debut and looked fired and and strong coming into the gaps. Although a few minor mistakes and at times Smith didn’t look strong coming off his initial step using his left foot, he still looked great and everybody is so happy for him that he has come all this way. As for the backup quarterback role, Cooper Rush is making a very strong case as this is now three of three game in which he has played well, the last two being near perfect. On the otherhand, Kellen Moore is struggling come back from his injury in last years training camp. Finally, the running back battle is in full effect as Darren McFadden (9 for 59 with a fumble), Alfred Morris (9 for 49), and Rod Smith (7 for 53) all looked very good out there. Next game against the Raiders it will be interesting to see how they perform, even more interesting will be to see Zeke’s year two preseason debut.

Team Grade: A

Player of the Week Honor: Dak Prescott 7-8 106 yards 1 TD, Dez Bryant 2 catches 55 yards 1 TD, Jaylon Smith (NFL Debut) third down tackle, Cooper Rush 8-9 92 yards 2 TD(2x)

 

Week 3 vs. Oakland Raiders W 24-20

Analysis: It is official: it seems Cooper Rush has finally won the backup quarterback role for the Cowboys. The running backs looked good (including Zeke) and Jason Witten was in postseason form.

Team Grade: A-

Player of the Week Honor: Dak Prescott 11-14 113 yards 1 TD 2 carries 8 yards(2x), Jason Witten 6 catches 74 yards 1 TD, Cooper Rush 12-13 115 yards 2 TD 1 carry 13 yards(3x)

 

Week 4 vs. Houston Texans CANCELLED

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Dallas Cowboys DCFD 2017 MVP: Ezekiel Elliott/DeMarcus Lawrence

Published by: Nicco Vocaturo

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