Grading the Atlanta Game

A look back at all the positives and negatives from the Falcons game this past Sunday. Can Billy Cundiff ever make a field goal that means something? What about the new coaching staff?

D -- Quincy Carter is being asked to drive bus as Cowboys quarterback. His third-quarter fumble drove an in-control Cowboys team off course and into the loss column. Never mind the late touchdown and the career-high 268-yards passing, a first-half interception and red zone overthrow were also costly.

B -- The Cowboys' two-headed rushing attack of Aveion Cason and Troy Hambrick accounted for Emmitt Smith-like numbers, 16 carries for 130 yards. Cason's 63-yard touchdown run was the longest for the club since Smith ran 63 yards against the Vikings in 1999.

C -- The Cowboys still can't mount a consistent pass rush with their front four. And safeties Darren Woodson and Roy Williams had trouble locating tight end Alge Crumpler, who caught five passes for 94 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown. Rookie cornerback Terence Newman had a nice first outing against Falcons receiver Peerless Price.

D -- Linebackers Dexter Coakley, Dat Nguyen and Al Singleton flowed to the ball well in the first half. However, they were nowhere to be found when Atlanta began gashing them on the ground in the second half. The defensive tackles provided no resistance up the middle.

F -- Kicker Billy Cundiff was a preseason question mark because of his struggles last year. After missing a 37-yard field goal and getting an extra-point blocked, he might not be around long. Bill Parcells has little tolerance for inept kickers, as he should.

D -- Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said it best: you judge a teacher by what you see from his pupils. As first games go, the Cowboys haven't learned much from Parcells, who admitted being surprised they played this badly. In the end, the new look Cowboys looked like a lot like the sorry teams of the past years. They lost the season opener for the fourth straight year. And they did it pretty much the same way with untimely errors and an inability to make a play when needed.

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