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Washington Football Team Vs. Dallas Cowboys - Studs and Duds

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in three weeks, we played a legit, complete football team - and we got EXPOSED!

The offense, which has controlled the time of possession and did an excellent job converting third downs in recent weeks, mustered just 224 yards of total offense and scored twice.

Our defense, which held up their end of the bargain against one of the best offenses in the NFL, allowed just one touchdown on the afternoon, and held Dak Prescott to 211 passing yards while picking him off twice. The unit was responsible for another Washington touchdown - a pick-six by linebacker Cole Holcomb.

Overall, it was a game that was almost unwatchable for Washington fans through three quarters, until The Football Team made it interesting in the fourth quarter. Still, a loss is a loss, and this hurts our playoff chances as we enter the home stretch.

Below are my Studs and Duds of the game, followed by some notes.


Studs:

Cole Holcomb - Holcomb was playing well even before his pick-six. As is normally the case, he wasn’t perfect in coverage (we know that’s not his strength), but he was around the football a lot, and his touchdown gave us a chance in a game everyone had written us off in up until that point of the game.

Jonathan Allen - Allen continued his All-Pro type season, garnering seven total tackles (five solo), a sack, two stuffs, and multiple pressures. He did have two offsides though, but I’ll give him a pass on those for his play all season.

Daron Payne - Along with his counterpart Jon Allen, Daron played stout against the Cowboys front five, collecting six tackles (five solo), a sack, and a stuff.

Landon Collins - After missing last week due to injury, Collins returned and had a really nice game. He recorded five tackles (all solo), two sacks (one was kind of a gimme), a stuff, and a big interception. He is becoming a very good player in his new hybrid linebacker role.

Cam Sims - The 6’5” 220 pounder made an OUTSTANDING contested catch in the endzone where he snatched a ball away that looked like it may be knocked down. He was the leading receiver on the afternoon, catching three passes for 69 yards and the TD. We need to see more of him down the stretch...Period!


Duds:

Taylor Heinicke - Both the stat line and eye test will tell you the story today. Heinicke was an abysmal 11/25 for 122 yards, with one touchdown, an interception, and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. I charted him with five turnover worthy plays before leaving with a knee injury later in the game.

It really all boils down to this...Taylor can do enough to give this team a chance to win against poor defenses, but when faced with good ones (and this Dallas defense was firing on all cylinders today), he gets completely exposed, and needs major help from his playmakers and own defense to help this team persevere.

I do hope he can bounce back from the knee injury, and get back (and play well), for this final run.

Antonio Gibson - Gibson has been a workhorse the past few weeks, but the fumble issues that have plagued him all season reared their ugly head yet again Sunday afternoon.

Aside from the fumble (he leads the NFL in this category), he had just 36 yards on 10 carries, caught two passes for five yards, and got absolutely destroyed by Micah Parsons on a blitz.

DeAndre Carter - There was a punt return where I felt Carter could have made the fair-catch; instead letting the ball hit the ground and roll for extra yards, but it was his egregious drop, on a perfectly thrown ball by Kyle Allen late in the fourth quarter, that was the back-breaker to thwart any comeback attempt.

Kyle Allen literally couldn’t have handed the ball to him any better!

The Offensive Line - This patchwork group, that had been playing well as of late, completely fell apart against Dallas. The collective unit (maybe with the exception of Leno before he went out with injury), was a sieve all afternoon, making life difficult for the running backs and quarterbacks alike.


Notes:

- On his birthday, Jamin Davis played a pretty nice football game. He read a screen perfectly in the second quarter, and nearly had a pick. He was credited with five tackles (two solo) on the afternoon - but the biggest thing is that he was not out of place often and wasn’t missing tackles.

- Kendall Fuller had decent coverage and tackled very well (was credited with six), on the afternoon. He just missed an interception on the first series of the game.

- Kyle Allen is probably not the long-term answer at quarterback either for this franchise, but he did show some glimpses of promise against Dallas late in the game. His sideline thrown into a Cover 2 zone was on a rope, and the ball at the end of the game to Carter couldn’t be thrown any better.

- Bobby McCain continued his poor tackling, whiffing on two attempts in the game. However, he didn’t give up any deep passes, so he kept himself off the Duds list.

- William Jackson III played pretty well in coverage, and tackled good against Dallas. He did get called for a pass interference that, in my opinion, was a bad call by the refs.

- Our tight ends were a non-factor.

- Scott Turner was not perfect, but I am not pinning the poor offensive performance on him by any means. Dallas’ defense was firing on all cylinders, and our offense simply could not execute. We ran some nice double-moves which Heinicke simply missed on, and the turnovers and floaters in quadruple coverage were not Scott’s fault.

- Overall, this team was yet again exposed by a GOOD football team. The lack of a quality (healthy), number two receiver, legit tight end (now that Logan is out again), and most importantly, a legit starting quarterback, really hurts.