Monday, October 12, 2009

ESPN Watkins/MacMahon: Report Card/Stock Report: Who's up, down for Cowboys

Stock Report: Who's up, down for Cowboys
October 12, 2009, 10:36 AM

By: Calvin Watkins

It's our weekly look at who's up and who's down following the Dallas Cowboys' overtime victory against the Kansas City Chiefs:


Miles Austin: He sets a franchise record for receiving yards, and the head coach says he needs more playing time. That's a good weekend.

DeMarcus Ware: Finally picked up his first two sacks of the season, and he almost had a third in the Cowboys' win.

Keith Brooking: Bradie James is the voice of this defense, but Brooking challenged his teammates in practice last week and delivered on Sunday.


Wade Phillips: Yeah, he won a game. But at what cost? Do you really believe the Cowboys will beat the Giants, Eagles, Vikings and Falcons if they play like this again?

Patrick Crayton: Muffed a punt. He also might have lost his starting job if Roy Williams returns from injury and the Cowboys promote Miles Austin into the starting lineup.

Jason Garrett: The offensive coordinator didn't know the Cowboys picked up a first down in the first quarter and he called timeout.

Updated: October 12, 2009, 9:49 AM ET
Report card: Cowboys vs. Chiefs

Tim MacMahon hands out his grades for Cowboys-Chiefs

By Tim MacMahon

Tim MacMahon's Cowboys-Chiefs Report Card


Rushing offense

Tashard Choice (left) was terrific, rushing for a career-high 92 yards and a TD on eight carries. His 36-yard scoring run breathed life into an offense that spent the first half finding ways to kill drives. Why not get him more involved? Jason Garrett never committed to the run, calling only 23 rushing plays. Marion Barber lacked explosiveness while playing with a left quadriceps that still wasn't completely healthy. He averaged only 3.5 yards per carry.


Passing offense

Tony Romo torched a terrible secondary for 351 yards and two TDs on 20-of-34 passing. Miles Austin (left) made a memorable first NFL start, breaking a 43-year-old Cowboys record with 250 yards on 10 catches, including a pair of tackle-breaking TDs. Austin's jaw-dropping stats - he had more yards and TDs than No. 1 receiver Roy Williams had in the first four games - make it easy to forgive two drops in the end zone. Romo was sharp, even during a penalty-plagued first half.


Rushing defense

Chiefs RB Larry Johnson has looked washed up all season, and Sunday was no exception. The Cowboys dominated the line of scrimmage, holding Johnson to 37 yards on 21 carries. NT Jay Ratliff was his normal active self. ILB Keith Brooking (left) continues to look like the guy who played in five Pro Bowls with Atlanta. He was all over the field, making 11 tackles, including a couple behind the line of scrimmage.


Passing defense

Matt Cassell was sacked four times - including DeMarcus Ware's first two of the season (left) - and hit on several other occasions. However, Cassell still completed 23 of 41 passes for 253 yards and two TDs. For the second consecutive week, the secondary allowed a TD pass with the game on the line. Dwayne Bowe's 16-yard score against Mike Jenkins sent the game into overtime and coudl have resulted in a crushing loss.


Special teams

Punt returns were pathetic. The Cowboys didn't actually return a punt all game, but Patrick Crayton muffed one to gift-wrap a touchdown for the Chiefs. Terence Newman let another punt bounce more than 10 yards inside the Cowboys' 5. Nick Folk missed a 40-yard field goal attempt. The only thing that saved Joe DeCamillis' special teams, which had been a strength all season, from a failing grade was a blocked field goal by Jay Ratliff (left).