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Grading the Cowboys: This Dallas team appears to have its identity, and there’s nothing good about it

Grading the Cowboys: This Dallas team appears to have its identity, and there’s nothing good about it

Head coach Mike McCarthy has done virtually nothing to impress.
Grading the Cowboys: This Dallas team appears to have its identity, and there’s nothing good about it

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy makes his way up the sideline during a game against the Browns on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2020, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Run offense

Ezekiel Elliott’s longest run of the season, a nifty 24-yard run on a sweep around right end, resulted in disaster when he fumbled. It was his second lost fumble in three weeks and Cleveland turned that mistake into a touchdown and a 14-point lead. Elliott finished with 12 carries, the second-lowest total of his career, but can only blame himself.


Pass offense

So Dak Prescott becomes the first player in NFL history with three consecutive games of 450-plus yards passing, but it doesn’t matter when you lose. Prescott passed for 502 yards -- the first 500-yard game of his career -- with four touchdown passes, but he threw an interception with 1:36 left that ended any hope of another miraculous comeback. Amari Cooper finished with 12 catches and 134 yards.


Run defense

The Cowboys allowed 307 yards rushing -- the most ever in franchise history. How embarrassing? Some dude named D’Ernest Johnson rushed for 95 yards and Cleveland punished the Cowboys and dominated the line of scrimmage. They pushed the Cowboys around, averaging 7.7 yards on 40 carries.

Nick Chubb probably would’ve rushed for 150 yards if he hadn’t hurt his knee. Chubb finished with 43 yards on six carries. Odell Beckham Jr.'s 50-yard touchdown on a reverse clinched the win.


Pass defense

Beckham scored touchdowns on catches of 37 and four yards as the Browns turned a close game into a 27-point fourth-quarter lead. He repeatedly burned cornerback Daryl Worley and Jarvis Landry made several third-down catches to sustain drives. As usual, the Cowboys didn’t intercept a pass and they rarely pressured Baker Mayfield.



Mike McCarthy, Kellen Moore and Mike Nolan each had awful games. McCarthy and Moore were awful because they insisted on letting Terence Steele try to block Myles Garrett one-on-one. Even one snap was too many. Garrett had two sacks, including the strip sack that helped the Browns take the game over. They eventually replaced Steele with Brandon Knight, but it was too late. Nolan kept Daryl Worley one-on-one against Beckham, a dude he has no chance of covering. Nolan has no answers on defense. The decision to attempt an onside kick down 41-38 with more than three minutes left was dumb.



This team is literally a miracle onside kick recovery away from being 0-4. Its defense can’t stop the run or pass and two of its star players -- Prescott and Elliott -- were involved in the two turnovers that turned the game into a rout. At this point, this appears to be their identity: A sloppy team that turns the ball over, plays poor defense and doesn’t get much help from its coaching staff. McCarthy has done virtually nothing to impress.


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