The Cowboys improved to 6-6 with a convincing win over division-rival Washington on ‘Thursday Night Football.’
Final score: Cowboys 38, Washington 14
Cowboys 38, Washington 14: Dallas put this game to bed after an Anthony Brown interception, followed by another touchdown four plays later, this one a Rod Smith plunge from one yard out.
Cowboys 31, Washington 14: Dallas got exactly what they wanted to answer the Washington touchdown. The Cowboys marched 75 yards down the field, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown run by Alfred Morris, and took 6:33 off the clock, giving them a 17-point lead with under five minutes remaining.
Washington tried everything, to no avail, including having not 12 but 13 players on the field on one play during the drive:
Cowboys 24, Washington 14: The fourth quarter is all about jump balls in the end zone. This time it was Josh Doctson leaping to catch this 14-yarder from Kirk Cousins to keep Washington alive.
Cousins has completed 25 of 34 passes for 243 yards so far in this game.
Cowboys 24, Washington 7: The first play of the final quarter featured Dallas with a 3rd-and-8, and Dez Bryant went up and got this touchdown pass from Dak Prescott for a 13-yard score, and another 17-point lead for the Cowboys:
Bryant now has 72 career receiving touchdowns, passing Hall of Famer Bob Hayes for most in Cowboys history.
Third quarter: Cowboys 17, Washington 7
Prescott remains in the game, with his hand still the center of attention:
Prescott threw just four passes during the third quarter, completing one, for 11 yards.
Second quarter: Cowboys 17, Washington 7
Prescott came back in the game after not missing an offensive snap. He tried getting his team in field goal range before halftime, but Dallas never got close. Prescott settled for a failed Hail Mary as the clock hit zeroes.
Cowboys 17, Washington 7: Washington gets some much-needed momentum at the end of the half, with Cousing hitting Grant for a 20-yard touchdown and the team’s first points of the night.
Crowder’s been having a nightmare game, but he made a huge play when it mattered, grabbing a desperate Cousins pass for a 33-yard catch-and-run. Naturally, he dropped a pass on the next play.
Cowobys 17, Washington 0: Prescott went into the locker room with an apparent hand injury, but the Cowboys didn’t need him on their next drive. Ryan Switzer took a punt 83 yards to the house, and the rout is on.
Cowboys 10, Washington 0: Things went from bad to worse for Washington when Demarcus Lawrence strip-sacked Cousins and the Cowboys recovered at the 24-yard line. Dallas cashed in with a 24-yard field goal by Dan Bailey.
The injury bug is hitting Washington yet again. Offensive lineman Morgan Moses went down after an ugly-looking play where he got his legs rolled up. He got carted off the field, leaving Washington without another important player on its line.
Cowboys 7, Washington 0: The Cowboys finally got the ball moving when Bryant made his first catch of night, setting them up at Washington’s 19-yard line. Dallas scored the first points of the game when Prescott hit Jason Witten for an 8-yard touchdown.
First quarter: Cowboys 0, Washington 0
Not much in the way of offensive highlights so far, but this beauty of a punt pinned Washington back at its own goal line. It set up an easy three-and-out for the Cowboys defense.
Crowder gave the Cowboys another gift when he muffed a punt at midfield, giving the ball right back to Dallas. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, their offense remains stuck in neutral, and they were forced to punt again.
A roughing-the-passer penalty got Washington into scoring position and Ryan Grant took them inside the red zone. However, Cousins put too much mustard on a bullet pass to Jamison Crowder — the ball bounced off his hands and got picked off by Dallas.
Washington drove into Cowboys territory on its first drive, but punted from the 43 after Samaje Perine got stuffed on a screen pass.
Dallas went three-and-out to start, as Prescott couldn’t hook up with Dez Bryant on third down.
Before the game
After playing on Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys and Washington at least got a full week of rest before heading out there on Thursday Night Football. Washington will try to cling to fading playoff hopes when it hosts its bitter NFC East rivals at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFL Network (live streams at NBC Sports, Amazon Prime, and FuboTV).
Both teams are coming off underwhelming performances on Thanksgiving, but at least Washington eventually got the better of the New York Giants with a 20-10 win. At 5-6 each, the Cowboys and Washington desperately need a win to stay in the NFC Wild Card conversation. The Philadelphia Eagles are well ahead in the division with a 10-1 record, and will clinch the title outright if Dallas beats Washington.
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys still can’t adjust to life without Ezekiel Elliott, losing their last three games to fall out of the playoff picture. Their last loss was particularly humiliating, a 28-6 blowout at home against the Los Angeles Chargers. Dallas has yet to reach 10 points in a game since Elliott started his six-game suspension, getting outscored 92-22 in that span.
It’s been an ell-encompassing collapse, with the only bright spot being the return of left tackle Tyron Smith. Sean Lee is missing another game with his hamstring injury, and the defense has fallen apart without him. The Cowboys really need better play from Prescott if they hope to end this skid soon.
Washington is also dealing with a rash of injuries, but they’ve been somewhat better at handling adversity. Kirk Cousins is doing about all he can while losing weapons left and right — the most devastating one being running back Chris Thompson, who broke his leg two weeks. Washington clearly missed him in the offense last week, but rookie Samaje Perine made up for it with 130 total yards in the Thanksgiving win.
Elsewhere, Jordan Reed and Trent Williams are still questionable to return from multi-week injuries. Reed seems unlikely to play while Williams is a game-time decision.
This might not be the best matchup on paper, but NFC East rivalry games are rarely boring, and there’s an air of desperation that might make this extra spicy. Don’t be surprised if it ends up exceeding expectations, especially with players getting more rest than usual for a Thursday game.
- Hogs Haven writes that Washington’s commitment to youngsters is paying dividends
Perine has achieved career highs in back-to-back weeks and seems he has developed a sense of patience as a back, which in turn allows him to be more physical as well. Josh Doctson has become more of a factor in recent weeks, although his statistics are not very impressive on the year.
- Blogging the Boys notes Dez Bryant is experiencing a historic touchdown drought, all while one away from Cowboys record
This stretch, five consecutive games, is the longest drought without a touchdown that Dez Bryant has ever been a part of.
Prior to these five games, the longest Dez had ever gone without scoring was four consecutive games. He did this twice, both times to start the season, in 2010 and 2012.
How painfully ironic is it that Dez Bryant has literally set a career mark for touchdown-less games all while one touchdown away from having caught more than anybody else in the history of America’s Team?
Perhaps this is a perfect microcosm of the 2017 Dallas Cowboys season.
Dak Prescott is having the worst stretch of his career, but it’s hard to put the blame on his shoulders. He’s played games without his left tackle in Tyron Smith, where Adrian Clayborn was able to get to Prescott five times.
Then of course, Ezekiel Elliott has been out serving his suspension, after leading the NFL in rushing last season. In the three games he played before his suspension, the Cowboys were rolling behind his best performances of the season.