Dallas Survives Washington

Coach McCarthy said Dallas was going to win. He said they would beat Washington on the road. He was almost wrong. Sunday’s tilt against Washington is a tale of two halves. The Dallas offense scored 24 points in the first half but only three points in the second. Dallas was fortunate to hold Washington off late.

What is going on with Dallas? They started the season 5-1 with one of the best offenses in the league. Then, injuries struck. The Cowboys are struggling in large part because Zeke Elliott isn’t fully healthy, and the offensive line has been inconsistent. Those two elements feed Dak Prescott’s inefficiency. He also has not played as well coming off his calf injury. Additionally, the lack of consistent protection and the lack of a consistent run game is affecting his ability to play his best football. However, one element of the Cowboys is getting healthy and that is the defensive line. Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence are back and making an impact.

The Cowboy’s game against Washington went the way the Cowboy’s season has gone. In the first half they executed well on offense. In the second half, they executed poorly. In the first half the offense drove and scored a field goal their first possession, threw an interception their 2nd possession and scored a touchdown their third possession. They also sustained two scoring drives over 50 yards but were only rewarded with two field goals. Meanwhile the Cowboy defense blanked Washington in the first half, forcing an interception, as well as a fumble which was recovered and carried in for a defensive touchdown. Dallas offense, defense and special teams dominated the first half of the game.

In the second half the Cowboys offense became dormant. The main reason is their offensive line broke down. Tyrann Smith went down to injury and La’el Collins was kicked out of the game for throwing a punch. The run game suffered. The pass game withered. Dak threw another interception which was returned for a touchdown after the Cowboys defense was worn down by a 13 play 73-yard touchdown drive the previous possession. Dak hurried throws and the run game was non-existent. They only executed one drive over 40 yards and it was their first drive of the second half which ended in a punt. After losing their premier offensive linemen, the Dallas offense wilted altogether. Dak is still not 100% and was unable to elevate the wounded Cowboy offense. Washington almost took advantage.

The Cowboy defense kept them in the game. They only allowed two touchdowns the whole game. They forced a total of eight punts. They sacked the quarterback five times and hit the quarterback another nine times. They also forced four turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Specifically, they forced three fumbles and an interception. Micah Parsons was a one-man wrecking crew. He sacked the Taylor Heinicke twice and forced the fumble that Dorance Armstrong picked up and carried in for a touchdown. Lawrence and Gregory also collected a sack each. The Dallas defensive line harried the Heinicke so much they knocked him out of the game. Trevon Diggs stuck to Terry McLaurin like glue until he was knocked out of the game late in the 3rd quarter. Diggs did not allow a catch all night. Overall, the Dallas Cowboy defense played extremely well.

So long as the Dallas Cowboy defense continues to play like they did on Sunday, Dallas will be in every remaining game this season. Hopefully the Cowboy offense will catch up by the time the playoffs start. If not, they will be looking at an early exit. Injuries can’t be an excuse. Almost every team in the NFL must overcome them to be successful. The Dallas Cowboys will have to learn to work thru adversity if they are to make a run in the playoffs this year.

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