The last time the Dallas Cowboys blew out the Washington Redskins was in December of 2014, a 44-17 thrashing in Dallas’ 12-4 season. It just doesn’t happen all that often and today’s 14-point victory for the Cowboys came with a lot cardiac episodes for most fans. Since that game in 2014, the winner has been decided by 7.4 points and though the Cowboys swept them last season, it was by a combined nine points. Still, the Cowboys have a little bit of a streak going in Landover, Maryland:
Let’s talk about this game though because it started about as rough as you could imagine. Ezekiel Elliott’s first carry on a dreary, wet day was a fumble at the 29-yard line. It lead to a quick three points after the Cowboys’ defense was able to soften the blow of the turnover.
It could have been much worse but just think about how well Elliott takes care of the football, it was his first fumble since last year...in Washington.
Entering Week 8, Ezekiel Elliott had 131 carries without a fumble, most among RBs this season— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 29, 2017
Zeke’s last fumble lost: Week 2, 2016 vs WAS
It’s okay though because that fumble only made him hungrier and he quickly made up for it.
The Dallas Cowboys defense also looked like they were about to let a makeshift Washington offense that was decimated by injuries just walk over them. Damien Wilson was called for roughing the passer on third down and it allowed Rob Kelley to give the Redskins a 10-7 lead.
Newly signed kicker Mike Nugent would attempt and miss a game-tying 49-yard field goal and folks were screaming Dan Bailey to the heavens.
No one will replace Dan Bailey but we accept Mike Nugent as back-up!— somekindashannon (@sdmc_mzde) October 30, 2017
Heal quickly Dan Bailey; we miss you!
Washington then marched 38-yards and put another three points on the board thanks to Nick Rose. The Cowboys’ ensuing drive was a disaster as a holding penalty ended up forcing the punt. Down 13-7, the Cowboys allowed Washington to pick up two first downs before David Irving finally broke through and sacked Kirk Cousins on third-and-six.
As Rose was lining up to give Washington a 16-7 lead, both Irving and Tyrone Crawford stuck their hands up, blocking the attempt, Orlando Scandrick would take it to the five-yard line.
Two plays later, Elliott had his second feeding of the day and the Cowboys got a huge swing of momentum.
Irving would get his second sack of the game to send this one into halftime maintaining a one-point lead. Irving has been beasting and it’s incredible to think he’s done it in such a short time.
David Irving has played in 3 games since he rejoined the team Oct. 2.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) October 30, 2017
To date, he’s got 7 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 PD & a blocked FG
After halftime, the rain started picking up and that’s when this game got a little wacky. The Redskins’ got the ball to start the second half and Tyrone Crawford was back for more:
Tyrone Crawford having a big day. Already with a game-changing blocked field goal, now gets the sack of Kirk Cousins to force the fumble that is recovered by DeMarcus Lawrence.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) October 29, 2017
Still, the Cowboys found trouble converting a third-down pass that landed at the feet of Jason Witten. Out marched Nugent to a sound of grinding teeth but he put the 36-yarder through and Dallas took a four-point lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Cowboys’ special teams got a huge boost from Keith Smith:
On that Redskins fumbled kickoff, Cowboys FB Keith Smith forced the fumble and CB Bene Benwikere recovered it.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) October 29, 2017
Once again, the Cowboys offensive line was questionably penalized for holding, their fourth penalty and third for Tyron Smith on the night. It was incredibly uncharacteristic of a line headed up by three All-Pros and Dallas was forced to settle for a field goal attempt. Nugent walked out with the rain pouring down and drilled a 48-yarder giving the Cowboys a seven-point advantage.
One of the most lethal offenses over the last month wasn’t able to make the Redskins pay the ultimate price for consecutive turnovers. Cowboys Nation was getting a little restless as the lead didn’t feel comfortable.
Cowboys might regret kicking all those field goals earlier.— Rachel ✭ (@RClovesherboys) October 29, 2017
It didn’t stop there either as two Redskins’ punts ended with Nugent kicking his third and fourth field goals of the game. It kind of reminded you of the Patriots’ game from earlier in the day.
If you liked the Patriots kicking non-stop field goals today you'll love the Cowboys kicking non-stop field goals today.— Aaron Schatz (@FO_ASchatz) October 29, 2017
Despite this, points are points and the Cowboys were mainly in control thanks to Mike Nugent’s rebound:
Money Mike Nugent with his fourth field goal to make the score 26-13.— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) October 29, 2017
That was until Kirk Cousins converted four straight times to keep the drive alive. On fourth and 10, with less than five minutes to play, Anthony Brown was flagged for pass interference. The call itself gave Washington 22-yards but was another questionable decision to say the very least.
Troy Aikman: "I didn't see much there. I think Anthony Brown has every right to be arguing that call." pic.twitter.com/D5WzIbyNsQ— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) October 29, 2017
Anyway, it lead to Kirk Cousins making it look easy with a connection to Josh Doctson in the back of the end zone. Most importantly, Washington was given life.
Nick Rose missed the extra point and the Cowboys remained in the lead 26-19. The Cowboys went with their methodical control-the-clock offense. Ezekiel Elliott continued to pad his stats as he got to 150 rushing yards and Dallas took almost five minutes off the clock.
Unlike the Packers game, Scott Linehan kept it on the ground and forced Jay Gruden to use all of his timeouts. With less than a minute, Kirk Cousins finally connected on the interception he was trying to throw to Taco Charlton and Jaylon Smith earlier but they couldn’t hang on. This time, there was no doubt about it as Byron Jones took it to the house and ended this one, 33-19.
Anytime you fight through a game where both teams commit mistake after mistake, it’s about committing one less than the opponent. Dallas struggled early but snagged two fumbles, an interception, and blocked a kick. The Cowboys were able to get a lot of redemption in 60 minutes of football. Elliott ran wild over a Redskins’ defense that was allowing less than 100 yards per game. Mike Nugent made four consecutive field goals and all his extra points after his first miss. The defense picked up four more sacks, giving them 25 on the season.
Dallas may have missed a few opportunities as Dak Prescott threw for less than 150 yards with zero passing touchdowns but they got the win in a hostile and messy environment. That’s really the only thing that ever matters in the NFL.