Both the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins came into Thursday night’s game with their seasons on the line. A loss would be a final death blow to what has been a largely disappointing season for both squads.
The game began with Dak Prescott and the struggling Cowboys offense on the field. After scoring single-digit points in three straight games, it was imperative for Prescott and company to get off to a good start. That was far from the case. Dallas went three and out on its first four possessions. The only saving grace for the Cowboys was that Washington was equally as bad. The Redskins first three possessions consisted of two three and outs coupled with a Kirk Cousins red zone interception. Throw in a Jamison Crowder punt return fumble, and the Redskins were practically begging Dallas to take control of the game.
The Cowboys were finally able to find some offensive momentum toward the end of the first quarter. Prescott spurred the drive on with a fourteen-yard scramble on third and five, followed by a 3rd and 8 conversion to Dez Bryant. The drive was capped off by a Jason Witten touchdown reception, giving Dallas an early 7-0 lead.
The Redskins miserable first half continued on their next possession when DeMarcus Lawrence sacked Kirk Cousins, causing a fumble in the process. The Cowboys offense was now set up in outstanding field position inside the Washington 20 yard line. A third and goal screen pass to Bryant came up well short, and a Dan Bailey field goal pushed the lead to 10-0.
Immediately after this drive, Prescott was taken to the locker room for X-Rays on his throwing hand. Undrafted free agent Cooper Rush was set to check in at quarterback after a Redskins punt, but Ryan Switzer had other ideas. Switzer returned the punt all the way for a touchdown extending the Cowboys lead to 17-0.
Washington would start to click on offense right before the half. A key scramble on third down by Kirk Cousins extended the drive. Cousins also found Crowder on the subsequent third down for a huge gain, setting the Redskins up deep in Cowboys territory. Yet another third down conversion to Ryan Grant resulted in a touchdown. The Dallas lead was trimmed to 17-7 at halftime.
The most eventful thing about the third quarter was wondering just how big Prescott’s throwing hand would swell. Both teams struggled to sustain any success, trading punts for most of the quarter. Dallas would finally start to move the ball again as the fourth quarter approached. Alfred Morris found some massive holes on his way to picking up multiple first downs on the drive. The drive would culminate with Dez Bryant securing a touchdown reception on third and six, extending the lead to 24-7. The score made Bryant the Cowboys all-time leader in touchdown receptions.
Now trailing by three scores, the Redskins offense really put the pedal to the metal on their next possession. Using a no huddle offense they easily marched down the field. Josh Doctson was able to outleap Byron Jones for the touchdown, trimming the lead to 24-14 with most of the fourth quarter yet to play.
On the next drive, the Cowboys did what many expected them to do all season, pound the ball down their opponent’s throats. The offensive line did an outstanding job of opening running lanes for Morris. He continued to wear the Redskins defense out. His one yard touchdown plunge moved the game firmly out of reach at 31-14. Rod Smith would add another rushing score to round out the night, leaving the final score at 38-14. Cowboys win.
This was obviously a must win game for Dallas, but the way in which they dominated the Redskins on both lines of scrimmage was refreshing to see. Now at 6-6, the Cowboys live to fight another week. With the Giants, Raiders, Seahawks, and Eagles left on the schedule, the ‘Boys must win out, get to 10-6, and then hope.