For the second week in a row, things seemed to go Washington’s way at the beginning of the game. On just the first play, Matt Ioannidis caused Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliot to fumble, and the offense had their first chance on the field just eight seconds into the contest.
Frustratingly and familiarly, Kirk Cousins and his teammates failed to convert a turnover into a touchdown. After a thwarted third down attempt, during which wide receiver Ryan Grant caught the ball short of the sticks, rookie kicker Nick Rose took the field to put Washington on the board with a 38 yard field goal. It’s an area the Redskins continue to struggle in: taking turnovers from the defense and putting seven points on the board instead of just three.
Following the Redskins’ field goal, Dallas drove down the field, leaning heavily on its powerhouse runner and allowing Elliot to make up for his first play fumble. After less than three minutes, Elliot crossed the goal line to put Dallas ahead, 7-3, on a 13 yard rush. Though the defense would break instead of bending a second time in the first half, giving up another touchdown to Elliot, their efforts were largely the reason Washington stayed within striking distance during the opening 30 minutes. Kerrigan earned a sack, making this the sixth out of seven games this season where he’s put the opposing quarterback on the ground and extending the team’s string of games with a sack to 31. The entire unit teamed up to limit Dallas’ progress down the field on the fifth drive of the game, causing kicker Mike Nugent to have to attempt a 49 yard field goal, which he missed.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Redskins kept up as best they could behind their makeshift offensive line. Cousins led his teammates down the field on the drive following Dallas’ first touchdown and answered with a touchdown of their own. Rob Kelley scored on a one yard rush, but the score would come at a price; tight end Niles Paul went head to head with Sean Lee in a scary collision, and the blocking tight end spent several moments on the field being attended to before walking off under his own power and being declared out for the remainder of the game. (On that same drive, Cousins took a big hit to the jaw from linebacker Damien Wilson, but he quickly bounced up after calling for the penalty and continued playing.) They got close enough to bring Rose back on to the field two more times for field goal attempts, one ending in a 42 yard score and one ending with a blocked field goal returned to inside Washington’s 10 yard line. With just over two minutes remaining, Cousins had a chance to halt Dallas’ momentum heading into the half, but Grant had the team’s first drop of the game, Reed left the game with a hamstring injury, and Washington would go into the half down 14-13.
The second half started completely opposite of the first. Cousins couldn’t protect the ball under pressure and he lost it on a sack fumble which was recovered by the Cowboys. After the defense again held Dallas to three again, the Redskins repeated the same mistake: a fumble. On the kickoff return, usually reliable fan favorite Chris Thompson coughed up the ball which, although it looked like Washington had a chance at to recover the ball, ultimately was covered up by the Cowboys.
From there, the momentum seemed to stay in Dallas’ favor, even with gifts to Washington in the form of holding penalties on the Cowboys’ offense and pressure from the Redskins’ defense limiting the Cowboys to nothing but field goals in the second half. The third quarter and most of the fourth quarter was fruitless for the Redskins, who finally found themselves back in the end zone with just under five minutes remaining in the game. On a 14 play drive behind a battered makeshift line that included just one remaining starter, guard Morgan Moses who was playing with two bad ankles, Cousins drove his team 75 yards down the field. A pass interference call in the end zone extended the Redskins’ chances, and Cousins scored on the next play with a high pass, right down the middle, to wide receiver Josh Doctson.
After Rose missed the extra point, the defense made one last effort to give Washington a chance to come back and win the game. The defense stopped Dak Prescott’s third down run, forcing a punt and giving Cousins, his makeshift line, and his dwindling weapons a hopeful chance to drive down the field and score a touchdown to tie, though they’d have to do so without any timeouts. In heartbreaking fashion, Cousins’ second throw of the series was an interception, which safety Byron Jones ran back for a final “nail in the coffin” touchdown.
The biggest story to come out of tonight’s game, however, isn’t the loss. The Redskins are unlikely to catch up with the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East, so falling a game below .500 isn’t earth shattering. The injuries could be, though. During the game, Paul (concussion), Kerrigan (groin), Jordan Reed (hamstring), Ioannidis (hand), Shawn Lauvao (stinger), Stefan McClure (hamstring), Montae Nicholson (shoulder) all left the game, and several of them did not return. The offensive line is beyond decimated, and Cousins is going to have to figure out quickly how to survive behind the changing unit in front of him if he wants to come out of next week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks in one piece.
How would you grade the Redskins’ game against the Cowboys?
This poll is closed