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With Week 8 bye, WFT gets to enjoy big win for two weeks

Winning is fun

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Football Team Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

There were really two blemishes on the Sunday afternoon 25-3 win over the Cowboys.

The first was the dirty hit by Jon Bostic on the Cowboys quarterback, Andy Dalton, as he was sliding to give himself up. The problem wasn’t so much that the stupid play extended a Dallas drive that would have otherwise been stopped, but that Bostic delivered an inexcusable hit on an opposing player that was absolutely dangerous. He was ejected from the game, and he deserved to be.

The second blemish was yet another missed field goal attempt by Dustin Hopkins. This one was a low-pressure kick late in the game when the outcome wasn’t in doubt. It didn’t cost the WFT the victory, but Hopkins’ inconsistency has to be concerning for the coaches, who will need to rely on Hopkins to win a close game sooner or later.

Aside from those two problems, there was an ill-advised pass from Kyle Allen that dropped harmlessly to the ground in the end zone, but which had all the hallmarks of an interception-waiting-to-happen, but that was really the only bad play by Allen on a day when the Washington offense was able to move the ball consistently.

Running back Antonio Gibson had a breakout game, rushing 20 times for 128 yards (6.4 ypc) and a touchdown. The offense put up over 200 yards rushing on the day.

Terry McLaurin led the receivers with 7 receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown, with Logan Thomas adding another 4 catches for 60 yards and a touchdown.

But it was the defense that really shined in this home game, and nobody had a better first half than Cole Holcomb, who managed a quarterback sack and a drive-ending interception to close out the first half.

The defense tallied 6 sacks on the day, with Montez Sweat being credited with two of them. Ryan Kerrigan added to his franchise record for career sacks in the 4th quarter.

Dallas was unable to get anything happening offensively, with the two quarterbacks combining for 11/22 for 114 yards and an interception, and the Dallas running game limited to just 83 yards.

Keys to the game

Earlier this week, I published an article giving the four keys for Washington in this game.

The first key was to blitz the Cowboys relentlessly. Jack Del Rio sent extra pass rushers early and often and simply overwhelmed the Cowboys patchwork offensive line and harassed the Dallas quarterbacks.

The second key was to run the ball. I said in that article that this would be the breakout game we’ve been waiting for in the running game, and it was.

The third key was to win the turnover battle. Officially, the WFT was +1 against Dallas, but when you add in the safety from the defense to open the scoring, this was a strong performance by the defense and offense both.

The final key was to score touchdowns when the Football Team got to the red zone. The offense got into the red zone four times.

  • On the first drive of the game, the offense had 1st & goal from the Dallas 5 yard line, and tried four times to score. On fourth down Kyle Allen was stopped on a QB sneak attempt from the half yard line.
  • On the second drive of the game, Gibson scored on an inside run on 2nd & 3 from the Dallas 12-yard line.
  • The next red-zone possession was in the second quarter, on the 5th offensive drive for the WFT. Kyle Allen threw a 15 yards scoring pass to Logan Thomas on a 3rd & 1 play.
  • A third-quarter drive stalled at the Dallas 12-yard line, with Hopkins kicking a 30-yard field goal.

So, on 4 red-zone possessions, the Football Team came away with two touchdowns and a field goal. Not bad.

Standings

Washington jumped from last place in the division to second-place, just a half-game behind the Eagles.

With a Week 8 bye, Washington players and coaches can relax and enjoy the next 14 days knowing that they they dominated Dallas and that the burgundy & gold remain in contention for the division title.

Dallas visits Philly on Sunday night while Washington enjoys its bye week, with the winner taking sole possession of first place in the division while the loser will fall to 1-2 in the division and face an uphill fight. The Giants play on Monday Night Football against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who won’t yet have Antonio Brown on the active roster, but will, of course, bring Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and a winning record to MetLife Stadium.

For the next two weeks, Washington fans can enjoy the fact that Kyle Allen played a good game, Antonio Gibson played a good game, Terry McLaurin played a good game, Logan Thomas had two big catches. The offensive line played well, and the defense dominated the Cowboys for 60 minutes.

The injured players for the WFT will get an extra week to rest and recover, and when the team plays again it will be at home against the Giants, who are currently 1-6 and who play on Monday Night Football six days before traveling to FedEx Field to face a rested and confident Washington team.

UPDATE:

Ron Rivera should be able to enjoy the mini-break as the bye week not only coincides with the best performance of the year by his football team, but also with the end of his cancer treatments. He won’t be facing hard questions and a skeptical press corps for the next 14 days; instead, the news should all be pretty upbeat.