Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day grades against New York

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

In the first half, the Dallas Cowboys made things hard for themselves. It was the perfect example of how you give hope to an inferior team.

Poor execution across on both sides of the ball, questionable play calling and turnovers that stop promising drives. Despite matching records, the New York Giants are not on the same level as the Dallas Cowboys.

In the second half is when the Dallas Cowboys put the Giants in their place with a physical brand of football that has become their signature style.

Dallas Cowboys Run Offense

This was the most productive game of the season for Ezekiel Elliott. After sitting on the last two weeks, Elliot looked fresh.

He was hitting the hole with purpose for 92 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown.

Tony Pollard had 18 carries for 60 yards, but the Giants kept him under wraps from producing any explosive big plays.

Rookie tight end Peyton Hendershot had a 2-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter.

Even though the Giants rolled out back-up cornerbacks, the Dallas Cowboys didn’t abandon the run. They stayed committed to it.

The ground game gained 166 yards on 39 carries and 4.3 per carry.

Grade: A

Dallas Cowboys Pass Offense

Dak Prescott wasn’t as sharp as you would like early on, but once he found his grove, he curved up a depleted New York secondary. They went after Darnay Holmes with CeeDee Lamb in the slot.

Lamb had a strong game with six catches for 106 yards. I was a little surprise Dallas didn’t match up Tony Pollard against former Jaylon Smith and force him to cover.

Outstanding performance by Dak Prescott that have should have been a better one, if not for the two interceptions in the first half.

After no player broke the 100-yard receiving barrier in the first eight games. That not be the case in the past three games. CeeDee Lamb has done it twice while Tony Pollard eclipsed the mark this past Sunday.

Grade: B

Dallas Cowboys Run defense

Two straight solid weeks of run defense. Saquon Barkley was a non factor as Dallas limited him to 39 yards on 11 carries. They didn’t allow Daniel Jones to freelance either, as the QB only gained 14 yards.

No matter what Cowboys twitter believes, Leighton Vander Esch continues to play good football this season. He racked up 8 tackles total and 5 solo ones.

Grade: A

Dallas Cowboys Pass defense

When plays needed to be made, the pass defense answered the call. The Giants had a good game plan of getting the ball out quick and avoiding Dallas’ vaunted pass rush early in the game.

Micah Parson didn’t get the memo. He had two sacks and two tackles for losses. This was Parson’s sixth double digit sack game of the season and counting.

Dorance Armstrong continues to flashing great value as he registered his 7th sack of the year. A close friend of mines said Armstrong would post double digit sacks this year.

I can’t forget to mention how great of a football player DeMarcus Lawrence is. There isn’t enough mention of him in this space. He led Dallas with 7 total pressures vs the Giants. He continues to play at a top level.

Grade: B Dallas Cowboys Special teams

Money Maher has spoiled me. He had a rare miss today, but otherwise his kickoffs were outstanding. None of them were returned. He remains the best offseason addition.


Dallas Cowboys Coaching

Mike McCarthy remains the undisputed leader. Dan Quinn’s troops bailed the offense out early with excellent play calling.

Quinn dialed up a brilliant game plan. Holding the Giants to a field goal early after the Mike McCarthy 4th down gamble was sturdy stuff.

Deploying Donovan Wilson as a part-time spy was smart as he contained Daniel Jones from making plays off script and limiting him to 14 rushing yards.

Kellen Moore has grown as a signal caller this season. He will insert gimmick plays when none are needed. The reverse call to Tony Pollard lost 4 yards, resulting in a 3rd down and 15th which could have been avoided with a better play call.



The Dallas Cowboys are ranked 1st in the entire NFL in points, 1st in 3rd downs, and 1st in points per drive. All of this is Intel is tied directly to the return of Dak Prescott.

This is the fourth straight game of 400 plus total offensive yards. Only the fourth time the Dallas Cowboys have reached this mark this season. The Cowboys have rebounded nicely since that meltdown against the Packers. The next two games are at home.

Let me add this nugget. Dallas are 4-2 against teams currently in the playoffs. Most wins in NFL, now.

Next. The Cowboys are a tale of two teams. dark

They can make a serious push as we enter the last quarter of the season.

Up next the Baltimore Colts.