Redskins vs. Cowboys score, takeaways: Dallas rolls Washington in blowout win
Most of the steamrolling was done by former Redskins running back Alfred Morris, who got revenge on his old team by rushing for 127 yards and a touchdown in the Cowboys’ 38-14 win at AT&T Stadium.
In a game where Dak Prescott went 11 of 22 and only threw for 102 yards, Morris seemed to relish the roll of carrying the Cowboys to the win. Although Morris got off to a slow start with just 38 yards in the first half, the Cowboys never gave up on their game plan to run the ball down Washington’s throat, which allowed Morris to wear down the Redskins in the second half. Overall, Morris averaged 5.9 yards per carry in a second half, where he rushed for 89 yards.
Although the Cowboys’ offense has struggled since Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension started, it’s not because of Morris, who has filled in capably during Elliott’s absence.
It’s a good thing Morris was hungry for the ball because Prescott spent most of the game dealing with a hand injury that he suffered in the first half. The Cowboys quarterback didn’t break any bones, but his hand did start to swell up on him in the second half.
The fact that the Cowboys were able to put up 38 points was almost a minor miracle considering they weren’t really able to move the ball for most of the first half. The Cowboys didn’t get a first down until the final play of the first quarter and only had 103 total yards at the half.
As a matter of fact, with just 275 yards of offense, the Cowboys became the first team since 2013 to put up 38 or more points with 275 yards or less of offense. The reason the Cowboys were able to light up the scoreboard is because they got big plays when they needed them.
One of those big plays came from Dez Bryant, who made an improbable 13-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
The catch wasn’t just big because it gave the Cowboys a 24-7 lead, but also because it helped Bryant setfor most career touchdown catches. The reception gave Bryant 72 receiving touchdowns in his career, moving his past Bob Hayes in the record book. The touchdown ended a long drought for Bryant, who hadn’t been on the receiving end of a score since Week 7. Bryant finished the game with five catches for 61 yards. He also finished the night without two of his shoes because before the game.
Another Cowboys veteran also got in on the scoring action as Jason Witten caught en eight-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, which happened to be his only catch of the game.
Although the Cowboys’ offense struggled at times against Washington, it didn’t seem to matter because they were getting big plays from other units on the field. The Cowboys’ special teams came up with two big plays, including a recovered fumble on a punt return and a huge 83-yard touchdown from rookie Ryan Switzer.
It’s too bad the Cowboys only get to play the Redskins twice a season, because if they had played them every week this year, they’d probably be undefeated. The win over Washington on Thursday comes just five weeks after the Cowboys beat the Redskins 33-19 in their first meeting of the season.
There seems to be a magnet in the ball when the Cowboys play Washington. Including the four turnovers that Dallas forced on Thursday, the Cowboys have now forced seven turnovers in two games against the Redskins, which is a crazy number when you consider that they’ve only forced nine turnovers in their other 10 games combined.
So how did the Cowboys force so many turnovers?
Let’s get to the takeaways and find out.
Demarcus Lawrence puts the ‘D’ in ‘defense’
Although the Cowboys’ defense has struggled over the past three weeks, that definitely wasn’t the case against the Redskins. One week after Thanksgiving, Demarcus Lawrence was still feasting and he did that by beating up on a battered Redskins offensive line.
Lawrence led a ferocious Cowboys defense that sacked Kirk Cousins four times and forced four turnovers. Lawrence’s biggest play of the game came in the second quarter when he pulled off a strip sack of Cousins that ended with a Cowboys fumble recovery.
The Cowboys would end up getting a Dan Bailey field goal on the ensuing drive, which put them up 10-0 in the second quarter.
Lawrence, who went into the game tied for third in the NFL with 11.5 sacks, will now go into the weekend as the league’s sack leader after he picked up two more on Thursday. Taco Charlton and David Irvin also sacked Cousins in the win.
The Cowboys’ defensive performance might have been more shocking than what Dallas did on offense, and that’s because it basically came out of nowhere. The defense had to play without Sean Lee for the third straight week, which seemed like trouble since the Cowboys had been pretty helpless without him.
On Thanksgiving, the Cowboys got torched for 515 yards by the Chargers in a 28-6 loss. It wasn’t just Thanksgiving though, the entire month of November had been pretty ugly with the Cowboys surrendering an average of 389.3 yards per game over the past four weeks.
The Cowboys ended their November struggles by suffocating the Redskins’ offense on the final day of the month. The defense looked like a completely different unit against the Redskins, surrendering only 280 yards, which marked the Cowboys’ best game since Week 1, when they only gave up 233 yards in a 19-3 win over the Giants.
Cousins just confused the Redskins’ front office even more
If the Redskins are still unsure about signing Cousins to a long-term deal, this game isn’t going to help. On one hand, you saw several instances in this game of why Cousins should get a huge deal. Cousins’ most impressive drive in the game came right before halftime in a situation where the Redskins were trailing 17-0. On a third-and-5 from the Redskins’ 30-yard line, Cousins kept the drive alive with a wild scramble that ended with a Washington first down.
Three plays later, Cousins showed off some magic again with another miracle third-down conversion. This time, the Redskins quarterback converted a third-and-6 by hitting Jamison Crowder with a pass .
Cousins also put together an impressive touchdown drive in the fourth quarter when the Redskins needed it most. With Washington trailing 24-7, Cousins drove the Redskins 87 yards down the field for a touchdown. On the drive, the Redskins quarterback was a perfect 8 of 8 for 84 yards and a touchdown. Overall, Cousins finished 26 of 37 for 251 yards and two touchdowns.
Although Cousins was impressive at times, he was also responsible for three turnovers. The Redskins quarterback lost a fumble in the first half and then threw an ugly interception in the fourth quarter that more or less iced the game.
How ugly was the interception? This ugly:
Cousins also threw another pick in the first quarter, but that wasn’t really his fault as it came after a pass that bounced off Crowder’s hands.
If the Redskins do sign the quarterback to an extension, they might want to add a clause that pays him less for weekday games, because that’s when he doesn’t seem to play as well. With the loss to the Cowboys, Cousins is now 1-10 all-time in weekday games, and he’s never won a weekday game on the road.
Jamison Crowder has an ugly first quarter
The Redskins didn’t score any points in the first quarter, and you can probably pin most of that blame on Crowder, who had one of the ugliest quarters that you’ll ever see from an NFL player. The first mistake from Crowder came midway through the first quarter on a drive that almost certainly looked like it was going to end with Washington scoring some points.
The Redskins got down to the Cowboys’ 16, but the drive ended after Cousins threw an interception. Only, the interception wasn’t really Cousins’ fault because the pass bounced right off Crowder’s hands.
Crowder’s next mistake came on the ensuing Cowboys possession. After the Redskins’ defense held Dallas to a three-and-out, Washington wasn’t able to capitalize because Crowder fumbled away the ball while serving as punt returner. Although the Cowboys didn’t get any points off either turnover, Crowder definitely cost the Redskins at least one score with the interception. The Redskins receiver also almost lost a fumble in the second quarter, but after a review, it was ruled that he was down.
if it makes Crowder feel any better, he wasn’t the only Redskins player who made mistakes in the game. The Redskins seemed to make at least one mental error every time the Cowboys were on offense, including this absurd penalty in the fourth quarter when they were called for 13 men on the field. Not 12 men — they had 13!
The Redskins looked lost on both offense and defense for most of the game, and the final score reflected that.
NFC playoff ramifications
This wasn’t an elimination game for either team, but it kind of feels that way when you look at the NFC playoff standings. The loss to the Cowboys drops Washington to 5-7 on the season, which basically leaves them hopelessly out of the NFC playoff race. The Seahawks and the Falcons are currently tied at 7-4 for the final playoff spot in the conference, and if either team wins on Sunday, that would leave the Redskins three games out of a playoff spot with just four games left.
As for the Cowboys, their faint playoff hopes are still alive at 6-6. The good news for the Cowboys is that they have two very winnable games coming up over the next two weeks (at Giants, at Raiders).
There was one NFL team that was likely watching Thursday’s game with a heightened interest, and that team was the Eagles. If the Redskins had won, the Eagles would have clinched the NFC East. Instead, the Eagles haven’t clinched the division yet, but they can clinch it on Sunday with a win over the Seahawks.
Redskins’ jersey drama comes to an end
We don’t see many uniform controversies in the NFL, but there was one this week involving the Redskins. Since Thursday night’s game was a Color Rush game, the Redskins were supposed to wear an all-gold uniform combination that Nike designed for them back in September 2016.
The problem with the all-gold look is that the Redskins absolutely hated it. As a matter of fact, the Redskins hated the look so much that they actually proposed a rule change in March that would allow teams to opt out of wearing their Color Rush uniforms. The rule change didn’t happen though, so the Redskins went to Plan B: They decided to go all-burgundy for Thursday’s game.
The burgundy combination hasn’t exactly been good luck. The Redskins have worn them three times since 2008 and they’re now 0-3 in those games.
After losing to the Cowboys, things aren’t going to get any easier for the Redskins next week. With another loss likely killing their faint playoff hopes, the Redskins are going to have to figure out a way to beat the Chargers in Los Angeles.
As for the Cowboys, they’ll also be going on the road, except they won’t be going up against a playoff contender. The Cowboys are headed to New York where they’ll face a beleaguered Giants team that won’t have Eli Manning under center. The Cowboys beat the Giants 19-3 back in Week 1 when Manning was playing, so they’ll probably feel pretty good about their chances going up against either Geno Smith or Davis Webb.
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