Thanksgiving Day has always been a great day for the Dallas Cowboys, and it is always a day that Tony Romo plays his best. Coming into the game with a 6-1 record on Thanksgiving as a starting quarterback, and healthier than the team has been in weeks, the Dallas Cowboys looked ready to battle the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East. Things didn’t work out well for the Cowboys as the Eagles blew them out, 33-10, and took sole possession of the division.
Here is a look at the team grades for the Dallas Cowboys.
This was the worst offensive performance of the season for the Dallas Cowboys. While the loss to the Arizona Cardinals was bad, that was with backup Brandon Weeden at quarterback and DeMarco Murray still ran hard in that game. In this game, it was tough going all the way through and Dallas couldn’t seem to put anything together.
Starting off with Tony Romo, the Cowboys quarterback played his worst game of the season and one of his worst performances ever on Thanksgiving Day. Romo completed 18-of-29 passes for only 199 yards. Worse than that, he was sacked four times, threw two interceptions and didn’t complete a touchdown pass in a game for the first time in 38 contests. He looked tired and the three day’s rest didn’t do him any good with his injured back. Romo’s quarterback rating was a season low 53.7.
The NFL’s leading rusher DeMarco Murray also played his worst game of the season. He carried the ball 20 times but only gained 73 yards for a low 3.7 yards-per-carry. He did score a touchdown in the start of the second quarter, but that was the Cowboys only trip to the end zone. Murray also led the team with six receptions.
Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley led the receivers with four receptions each. Bryant gained 73 yards on his catches and Beasley gained 41 on his. However, Beasley fumbled the ball at the end of the first half when Dallas was driving and trying to head into half time with a six-point deficit. That resulted in an Eagles field goal and Dallas never recovered.
The Dallas Cowboys defense was worn to the ground in this game. The Eagles ran a no-huddle, fast tempo offense that just decimated the Cowboys defense. The first Eagles touchdown drive took only three minutes to drive 80 yards and the second took only two minutes to drive 88 yards. Dallas couldn’t compete with the quick tempo Eagles.
Anthony Hitchens led the team with 12 tackles, while safeties Barry Church had 11 and J.J. Wilcox had 10. The best defensive lineman was Tyrone Crawford, who only had three tackles, although he did record the team’s only sack of the game. Jeremy Mincey also recovered a LeSean McCoy fumble.
LeSean McCoy annihilated the Cowboys defensive line, running for 159 yards and a touchdown, the biggest output of the year against the Dallas defense. Mark Sanchez also ran seven times for 28 yards and his first rushing touchdown in almost three years. Sanchez also threw for 217 yards and a touchdown to rookie Jordan Matthews. Jeremy Maclin led the Eagles with eight receptions for 108 yards. It was just an embarrassing performance by the Cowboys defense.
The Dallas Cowboys kick return team had a great game. Dwayne Harris returned four kicks for 121 yards, averaging 30.3 yards a return and Lance Dunbar added two returns for 46 yards, a 23 yard average. It speaks to the ineptitude of the offense that the Cowboys couldn’t capitalize on the great field position. Dan Bailey hit his only field goal attempt and Chris Jones pinned two of his five punts inside the 20, limiting Darren Sproles to only three returns for 32 yards..
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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.