The Dallas Cowboys followed up their impressive Week 1 win over the New York Giants with an upset loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2. The loss was due to a breakdown in both the defense and the passing game. Tony Romo looked very unlike the quarterback who made good decisions last week. The defense also played too loosely in trying to stop Jamaal Charles from running while Alex Smith chipped away all game.
Here is a look at the Dallas position grades from the Cowboys vs. Chiefs game.
Offense: Grade: D+
Starting the game, it looked like Dallas would have little trouble moving the ball with Dez Bryant looking strong and dominant in the passing attack. It only took five plays to get into field goal range, and on their second drive, Dallas went 55 yards for the touchdown in six plays.
That was the only touchdown of the game for the Cowboys. After a discouraging pass interference penalty against Bryant in the second quarter, it almost seemed to deflate the entire passing attack. To make things worse, when Dallas fell behind in the third quarter, Tony Romo started making bad decisions, rushing passes and only looking towards Jason Witten.
The Dallas rushing attack was also non-existent, despite the score being so close throughout the game, with DeMarco Murray only rushing 12 times for 23 yards and the team finishing with a low 2.3 yards-per-carry. While Romo threw for 298 yards with no interceptions, he fumbled once, as did backup Lance Dunbar, and the offense threw this game away.
The only positive was Dez Bryant, who had nine receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Defense: Grade: C-
The Dallas Cowboys defense just couldn’t seem to stop the Kansas City Chiefs from moving the ball. While the Chiefs only scored two touchdowns, the Cowboys couldn’t stop them from running the clock, moving the chains and winning the football game. Jamaal Charles ran for 55 yards on a 3.4 yard-per-carry average and added eight receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown.
Dwayne Bowe, who was limited last week, caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.
While the defense played well enough to win, the offense didn’t do their part. As a result, this defensive performance was lacking. There were too many penalties on the defensive side of the ball, and Alex Smith was able to move the ball at will, whether through the air or on the ground, where Smith was actually the leading rusher.
With Alex Smith running so well against the defense, it doesn’t bode well for the Philadelphia Eagles games later this season.
Quarterback: Grade: D
Tony Romo threw for 298 yards and one touchdown, with no interceptions. However, he fumbled on a key possession late in the game, and when it came time for Dallas to try to drive the field for the winning field goal, Romo failed on two separate drives.
If Romo wants to be the leader on the field and also call the plays at the line, he needs to play better under pressure. This was a very poor performance by the Dallas leader when their quarterback was on the field late in the game.
Special Teams: Grade: B-
The special teams were solid in all areas except punt returns. Chris Jones had four punts in the game and averaged an impressive 50 yards-per-punt. Dan Bailey was masterful, hitting all three field goal attempts, including two from over 50 yards. Last week’s Special Teams Player of the Week Dwayne Harris only had one kick return (35 yards) and one punt return (22 yards).
However, the problem here is that Kansas City punted the ball seven times and Harris only had the one return. Five of those punts were downed inside the 20, including the last punt of the game, which pinned Dallas down on the two-yard-line, pretty much clinching the win for the Chiefs. While making the decision to fair catch the ball or let it go is an instantaneous decision, Dallas was always in the hole because of the punt return game.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.