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Cowboys vs. Washington Game: Handing Out A Game Ball

It is hard to hand out an award after a total hot mess like the Washington game, but there were a few performances of note.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After the 20-17 loss to Washington, there should not be much impetus to seek recognition among the Dallas Cowboys. Judging by what is being reported, there isn't, and most of the players are looking right at the reflection they see in the mirror to try and find answers. But we still want to point out those who go above and beyond each week. There were a few who stood out positively, even in this mess.

DeMarco Murray has to be mentioned just because he had his record-extending eighth 100+ yard rushing game. He is once again nominated for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week (although the competition is a bit stiffer this week). But he also lost another fumble that almost certainly cost Dallas points.

Tony Romo, of course, came back into the game after getting laid out. It was a clear testament to his determination and desire to win. But he was not exactly the picture of efficiency after he went back in. Given that his backup led the team to 10 points (and it should have been more with some better play calling down on the goal line), I do wonder if the team might have been better off protecting his back by keeping him on the sideline.

Speaking of the backup, Brandon Weeden had a very good stretch of play, going 4 of 6 passing for 69 yards and a touchdown. It looks like the Romo Wednesdays at practice have been benefiting Weeden as well as the starter, since Weeden has gotten the extra reps with the first team. He wasn't great, with a fumble thrown into the mix, but he came right back with a 23-yard completion to convert and keep the eventual touchdown drive alive. It looks like he can fill in quite well if called on in an emergency. He was very nearly the pick this week.

But the game ball goes to a player on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Henry Melton had by far his best game of the season, and he accomplished something everyone has been waiting for. He had multiple sacks.

All right, "multiple" in this case means "two", but that is still the first time a Cowboy has gotten more than one. Jeremy Mincey added a third, which made this far and away the most successful game for Dallas for that particular stat. This was a bit of positive news lost among all the bad (such as the fact Washington had two more sacks than the Cowboys). With DeMarcus Lawrence expected to get his first playing time against the Arizona Cardinals, this could be the starting point for getting to the opposing quarterback. Carson Palmer is not the most mobile passer out there.

More importantly, it calms a little of the concern about how seldom the Cowboys got to the quarterback. And Colt McCoy is mobile, so this was not just a case of bringing down someone who couldn't avoid the rush. Melton has also been underperforming the expectations (although not the bargain-basement first year of his contract), so it was also a positive to see him as a standout in the game. This game ball goes to him, even if it was in a losing effort.

Now let's hope I don't have this problem again for a while.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB

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