clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Grading The Game – Washington Commanders vs. Dallas Cowboys

In front of a holiday television audience on Thanksgiving Day, the Burgundy and Gold collapsed into oblivion

NFL: Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In what is sure to be the worst grades of the season from yours truly, it is time to take a look at the Thanksgiving Day Massacre in Dallas. The Washington Commanders fell to 4-8 overall and 0-5 in the NFC East after an embarrassing 45-10 loss to the Cowboys. There is also some news – the Commanders have fired Jack Del Rio and their defensive backs coach. More on that later in this article. Today’s grades will be brutal, so let’s get right to the assessments, analysis, and PFF ratings. Also, don’t expect any surprises with the next game prediction.


If you’re looking for any positives, there are none to brag about to your friends. Anyway, let’s give it a try. For the first time this season, a quarterback has passed for 300 yards against the Dallas defense. For the first time this season, a receiver had a 100-yard game against the Dallas defense. Bottom line – when you try to put a blue dress on a pink pig, it is still a pink pig.


Sam Howell is a warrior, but he can’t do it alone and he can’t overcome continuous poor play-calling from the sideline.


28-44 for 300 yards, 2 rushes for 13 yards and a TD, 1 INT (pick six), PFF rating 55.6, QBR 74.1

Assessment: C

Running Backs

Remember when the Scarecrow said, “If I only had a brain”? The running backs could honestly say, “If we only had some blockers.”


Brian Robinson – 15 carries for 53 yards, 2 catches for 11 yards, PFF rating 54.9

Antonio Gibson – 6 carries for 21 yards, 3 catches for 16 yards, PFF rating 66.9

Chris Rodriquez – 4 carries for 21 yards, PFF rating 78.5

Assessment: C

Tight Ends

Not much happened here, but Cole Turner did have a nifty-looking catch and run for 29 yards late in the fourth quarter.


Logan Thomas – 2 catches for 15 yards, 4 targets, PFF rating 54.7

Turner – 1 catch for 29 yards, 1 target, PFF rating 91.4

Assessment: D+

Wide Receivers

The wide receivers should be enjoying a good season at this juncture, but that can’t happen when Howell constantly has defensive linemen in his face game after game. Curtis Samuel is the first wide receiver on this roster to have a 100-yard game this season.


Samuel – 9 catches for 100 yards, 12 targets, PFF rating 86.8

Jahan Dotson – 5 catches for 15 yards, 6 targets, PFF rating 64.5

Terry McLaurin – 4 catches for 50 yards, 11 targets, PFF rating 63.3

Byron Pringle – 2 catches for 27 yards, 2 targets, PFF rating 79.8

Assessment: C+

Offensive Line

The only bright spot for Washington’s offensive line in this game was Sam Cosmi. Look for at least three new offensive linemen to be on the roster next year, including two tackles.

Stats (PFF Ratings):

Sam Cosmi – 79.7 (Run), 79.5 (Pass)

Charles Leno - 63.0 (Run), 72.2 (Pass)

Tyler Larsen – 58.2 (Run), 51.7 (Pass)

Andrew Wylie – 50.1 (Run), 50.2 (Pass)

Chris Paul – 58.9 Run), 22.9 (Pass)

Assessment: F


The culprits in the Thanksgiving loss were the entire defense. What happened the morning after was needed several weeks ago – the firing of defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and defensive backs coach Brent Vieselmeyer. Will the defense improve substantially now? Don’t count on it. The defense decided to call it a day after three quarters and the grades will reflect the efforts and attitudes that we saw on Thursday.

Defensive Line

Forget the “manly” talk from Jon Allen to the fans or his teammates. You knew it was going to be a bad day when Allen lost the coin toss. The only stat that really matters in this game from the defensive line is zero sacks.


Allen – 1 tackle, PFF rating 46.6

Daron Payne – 1 tackle, 1 pass deflected, PFF rating 60.8

KJ Henry – 1 tackle, PFF rating 50.5

Casey Toohill – 2 tackles, PFF rating 49.8

Assessment: F


Cody Barton looked lost on the first series of the game, but he rebounded to be one of the few bright spots on the defense. Jamin Davis was out of position for most of the game.


Barton – 6 tackles, PFF rating 76.7

Jamin Davis – 6 tackles, PFF rating 50.1

Assessment: D


Percy Butler has major issues with tackling in the open field – he can’t do it. Kam Curl arguably had his worst game as a Commander. And let’s be honest – Quan Martin was over-drafted.


Curl – 5 tackles, PFF rating 47.9

Butler – 4 tackles, 2 passes defensed, PFF rating 27.9

Martin – 2 tackles, PFF rating 54.7

Assessment: F


For the second week in a row, there was nothing positive from the cornerbacks. Not at all. The stats that stand out? Zero passes defensed and zero interceptions.


Kendall Fuller – 5 tackles, PFF rating 62.6

Benjamin St-Juste – 3 tackles, PFF rating 27.6

Danny Johnson – 1 tackle, PFF rating 64.8

Assessment: F

Special Teams

The special teams didn’t see a lot of action, but this was the best unit of the day.


Joey Slye – 1-1 FGA, 1-1 XPs

Tress Way – 4 punts, 39.7-yard average, long of 57 yards, 3 inside the 20-yard line

Assessment: A


The loss was humiliating. The morale of the team is at a season low. The defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach were fired the next day. The head coach is suddenly taking on an additional duty. The offensive coordinator had his quarterback line up in the shotgun formation on 3rd-and-1 and a pair of 4th-and-1 plays.

Assessment: F

Week 13 Prediction

The Washington Commanders will return to FedEx Field to take on the Miami Dolphins – at team that scored 70 points in a game earlier this season. We could see another lopsided score.

Dolphins 45, Commanders 27

There will be many changes immediately after the season’s final game. For now, there are five games to cover and it will be challenging for fans to stay engaged. See you as we go along.