The Dallas Cowboys ended their horrific three-game skid with an easy win over Washington at home by a 38-14 margin.
The win puts Dallas at 6-6 on the season, with playoff hopes still (but just slightly) alive. Washington, on the other hand, can just about forget about the postseason at 5-7.
Dak Prescott didn’t have the best game, but he played better than he has the past few weeks after throwing five picks in two games. He completed just 11 of 22 passes for 102 yards, with a pair of touchdown passes. He suffered an injury to his hand in the second quarter but never missed a play.
Here are the winners and losers from Thursday night.
Loser: everyone but the center
These are always the best penalties in football — well, next to ones against the entire offensive line.
The Cowboys were flagged for a false start, where the referee said, “everyone except the center.”
I guess it’s better to false start as a unit, so one player can’t get singled out. That wasn’t a good sign for a Cowboys offensive line that has been struggling, but it did enough Thursday night to get the win.
Loser: getting burned on special teams
Now it’s time to highlight the failures of another unit: Washington’s special teams.
Rookie Ryan Switzer fielded a punt near his own 20 and simply torched Washington for the touchdown:
Switzer finessed his way through the defense so fast, that nobody on Washington could really get a good angle on him. It also looked like when you put Madden on rookie mode, and players are intentionally trying to not tackle you.
Winner: Dez Bryant’s TD catch
I’m not going to sit here and hit you with some “Dez caught it” line because that’s played out at this point. We know he caught that ball against the Packers.
But Bryant really dominated Bashaud Breeland right here, going up and over the corner who never even had a chance to look back for the ball:
Bryant now has 72 career touchdown receptions, which is the most in Dallas Cowboy history. It seems pretty safe to say he earned the right to wear that No. 88.
Winner: Josh Doctson’s answer
On the ensuing drive, Josh Doctson did his own version of Bryant’s touchdown catch, grabbing it over an outstretched Byron Jones.
Let’s not sleep on this Kirk Cousins pass either. He put it in a place where only his receiver could get it by the narrowest of margins, and it made it a lot easier on Doctson compared to what it could have been:
The best part about this gif is the Cowboys fan in the back with the outstretched hands. I’m not sure if he’s trying to guide the ball into somebody’s hands or if he saw the future and can’t believe Doctson caught that ball.
Loser: lining up with 13 players
It’s not uncommon for a team to get called for 12 men on the field. Normally that 12th man unsuccessfully runs off the field in time.
But Washington just lined up with not just 12, but 13 (!) players:
If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying — or something like that.
Winner: this punt
The Cowboys yet again got the better end of a special teams play on Thursday night — and this time they were punting.
With the Ball on Washington’s 42-yard line, Chris Jones laid down a punt that was fielded perfectly by Kavon Frazier:
No, seriously. This was perfect:
Field position battles often go overlooked in football games, but Dallas never seemed to be on the wrong end of it Thursday night, and the final score reflected that.
Winner: remembering the greats
Monday was the 10-year anniversary since the tragic death of former Washington safety Sean Taylor. Taylor died Nov. 27, 2007 — a day after being shot by an intruder in his home.
Current safety D.J. Swearinger honored Taylor Thursday night by taping up his facemask, like Taylor used to do:
DJ Swearinger taped his helmet up like Sean Taylor for the game tonight. pic.twitter.com/8MTlWe4TX6— Danny (@recordsANDradio) December 1, 2017
It was a subtle but amazing gesture.