Just CHILL: Grades vs. the Falcons still unacceptable
Rush offense: D--The Cowboys for a paltry 64 yards on 18 carries. Felix Jones ran tough he just didn't run much, nine carries for 39 yards. The Cowboys tried to turn loose speedy rookie Lance Dunbar but proved to light in the britches in rushing for 26 yards on eight carries. That he got touches in front of Phillip Tanner was quite telling. Bottom line is that the cowboys miss DeMarco Murray, who remains sidelined with a sprained foot. The offensive line struggled again. But that is redundant.
Pass offense: C -- Tony Romo completed 25 of 35 passes for 321 yards with a touchdown. So his numbers looked good. But it was more fools gold than consistent production as the Cowboys did much of their damage on one drive in the fourth quarter when went to the hurry up offense. Dropped passes by Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree killed two potential scoring drives. Romo missed a wide open Cole Beasley in the corner of the end zone on one failed red zone attempt. Dez Bryant caught just one pass. That should never happen.
Rush Defense: D-- For one half at least, the Cowboys shut down the Falcons running game, giving up just 23 yards and an average of 2.1 yards per carry in the first half. But just like the Seattle game when the defense wore down in the second half, Michael Turner got it going in the second half to finish with 102 yards rushing on 20 carries. The bulk of Turner's damage came on a 43 yard run that should never happen given his slow and plodding style.
Pass defense: D--Matt Ryan completed 24 of 34 passes for 342 yards. And although he didn't throw a touchdown pass, he burned the Cowboys for several completions of 15 yards or more. Roddy White caught seven passes for 118 yards. Julio Jones caught five for 129. Both took turns burning rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne. Running back Jacquiz Rodgers hurt the Cowboys with a big 31-yard catch and run late in the game when they were trying to get the ball back to the offense. Orlando Scandrick struggled late with a missed tackle and a defensive holding penalty.
Special teams: B-- Dan Bailey is perfect when he is under 50 yards. He made two such kicks against the Falcons, but missed a 54-yarder. Brian Moorman has clearly been better than expected when he was signed as a stop gap for Chris Jones. He showed it again, averaging 45.5 yards on four punts. Lance Dunbar and Dwayne Harris brought juice to the return games with a kickoff return of 39 yards and a punt return of 37 yards, respectively.
Coaching: D--The heat was on coach Jason Garrett even before the Sean Payton rumors started. Record wise the Cowboys are getting worse not better. Not only are they 3-5 in a season they openly talked about making a Super Bowl run but he is 4-9 in his last 13 games. He is the offensive coordinator and the offense can't score. Overall, the Cowboys fail to rise to occasion in crucial spots.