News & Analysis

PFF ReFocused, NFL Preseason Week 3: Dallas Cowboys 34, Houston Texans 0

Tony Pollard continued his promising preseason as the Dallas Cowboys bested the Houston Texans, 34-0.

PFF's ReFocused series features immediate takeaways from the two analysts who graded the game live. The two offer a detailed breakdown of the game's most notable performances before the grades and advanced stats are reviewed and finalized by Senior Analysts.

All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game and the other games played this week will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle. ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats.

PFF's ELITE subscribers can also preview NFL and NCAA games in PFF Greenline, an online dashboard with projections for the spread, totals and moneyline.

Final Score

Dallas Cowboys 34, Houston Texans 0

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton came out firing and notched a sack on the first play of the game that was later called back for a defensive holding penalty. Undeterred in his next pass-rush attempt, he powered his way through the pocket, knocking the ball out of Deshaun Watson‘s for a strip-sack fumble.

Wide receiver Michael Gallup looks like a candidate to take a big step forward this season, and his skills were on display here. His lone catch of the night was a nice contested catch touchdown, but he also had another that was negated by a holding call. On the latter, he showed great focus not only to catch the ball but stay on his feet after the hit long enough to dive into the endzone.

Rookie Takeaways

Zeke who? Running back Tony Pollard got the start in this one and had a solid day in his handful of drives with the first-team offense. He had a couple of nice runs and a handful of catches as well. Unfortunately, his most impressive play — a 24-yard catch and run on 3rd-and-13 — didn't count, when a block in the back penalty on Jason Witten negated the gain.

Houston Texans

In what has to be one of the roughest starts to a preseason dress rehearsal in recent memory, starting running back Lamar Miller was carted off on the first run play of the game, and they had to bring the cart back in a hurry as offensive lineman Zach Fulton needed it after the next play. Watson did not look comfortable holding the ball too long and lost it via a fumble on just his third and final play of the night.

J.J. Watt played all of two series, but it was enough to remind everyone just how dominant he is. Whether it was effortlessly swimming past a lineman or needing three guys to block him as a pass-rusher, Watt was unstoppable in his dress rehearsal.

Rookie Takeaways

Rookie defensive back Lonnie Johnson Jr. was in the headlines earlier this summer for being too physical in camp, and it's clear that that part of his play carries over into games well. He broke up multiple passes and was constantly in tight coverage all night long against Dallas' receivers.

[Editor's Note: All of PFF's player grades and advanced statistics are finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle of each game during the preseason. Sign up today to gain access!]

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