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10 thoughts on the Cowboys win against the Redskins

The Cowboys needed to play good football in a big way and that’s exactly what they did.

Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After three straight games where the Dallas Cowboys have struggled on both sides of the ball, the team made a statement against the Washington Redskins with a convincing win. The energy was there and some of the year’s biggest playmakers showed up after a quiet month of November. But even better than that, some new guys flashed some great play as the team played one of it’s better games of the year. Oddly enough, Dak Prescott would throw for a career low 102 yards, yet the team still thrived. How did they do it? Here are 10 quick thoughts on the game.

1. Slow start

The Cowboys were committed to running the ball early and the Redskins were committed to stopping it. Washington would come at Dallas with loaded boxes and run blitzes yet the Cowboys offense would keep firing. It was a battle of the trenches and the Redskins were winning early. Alfred Morris would have 12 carries in the first half, but at a paltry 3.2 yards per carry. The Cowboys offense would go three and out on their first four possessions. In a game where we were all hoping for the offense to breakout of their slump, it didn’t start out good.

2. Gimme that ball!

The Cowboys would catch some great breaks early as the Redskins turned the ball over three times in the first half. Jeff Heath would catch a pass that went through the hands of Jamison Crowder that squandered a red zone opportunity for the Redskins. Then, Crowder would give the ball up again when Kyle Wilber stripped the ball from him on a punt return. If you’re wandering who came out of that pile with the football on that play, it was none other than Cowboys long snapper, L.P. Ladouceur.

This is the second-straight “color rush” game where Wilber has had a strip during a punt return. Last year he did it against the Minnesota Vikings and it ended up being a game-changing play.

But it wasn’t just good fortune as the Cowboys made a lot of their own luck. DeMarcus Lawrence had a sack/strip that was recovered by Maliek Collins. And Anthony Brown would pick off Kirk Cousins after David Irving deflected the pass.

They would’ve had another one if the referees would have counted that great upside down strip by Anthony Hitchens.

3. The Rookies

In my five things to watch piece, I talked about how the Cowboys could see an increase in contribution from the rookies. Right on cue, they delivered. Taco Charlton got his second sack of the season. Chidobe Awuzie wasted no time making his presence know with some outstanding pass break-ups. But the biggest play came from a player that was drafted just for that purpose.

But if I’m going to make a guess on which rookie shines the most, it’s going to be Ryan Switzer. He has been getting closer and closer to breaking loose and taking a kick return for a score. Could this be the game it happens?

As it turns out, yes.

4. Cousins and nobody else

In what has been the norm when these two teams face off, Cousins played well, but the Cowboys still ended up winning. The defense did a pretty good job most of the time, but the Redskins would still come up with some big plays thanks to the escapability of Kirk Cousins. It would be the only offense Washington would get though as the Cowboys defense made them one-dimensional.

5. Sacks are back

Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence was trying to make up for lost time as he got back in the sack-saddle again. Tank would have 11.5 sacks after the first nine games, but had gone the last two games without recording a sack. Lawrence had two sacks against the Redskins. Taco would also get one, but the one that Cousins felt the most was when David Irving ran into him like a freight train.

6. Young Secondary

The coaching staff made some big changes in the secondary, allowing a lot of the younger guys get reps. What a great idea that was. Chidobe Awuzie was outstanding.

Chido has been an afterthought after being slowed down with a hamstring injury, but man it was great to see what a healthy Awuzie can do.

It was also a great showing from second-year safety Kavon Frazier who demonstrated a great physical presence. After Hitchens, Frazier was second on the team with tackles, including one for a loss.

7. No passing game, no problem

I can’t remember a team only have 102 yards passing and still win the game, let alone in convincing fashion. But that’s what happened. Even when they were going heavy with the running game, they couldn’t really get play-action to work for them. I kept thinking this would open up an opportunity for a big play, but it took a while. Prescott just couldn’t seem to locate any open receivers as many of these play-action passes failed. Once the running game started firing on all cylinders in the second half, the passing game improved. It wasn’t anything to write home about, but with a swollen hand Prescott was very efficient, throwing two touchdowns and the best part - no picks.

8. Dez gets the record

Dez Bryant started the season off hot, scoring four touchdowns over the first six games of the season, tying Bob Hayes for the Cowboys record with 71. After a five game drought, Dez finally broke the record and sits alone as the Cowboys all-time leading touchdown receiver.

And what a nice grab it was.

9. Morris got it going

It took him a while to get warmed up, but once he did - Alfred Morris was great. The veteran running back would churn out almost 100 yards in the second half alone. He had some big runs that ignited two fourth quarter touchdowns, including one he scored himself. It was a great game against his former team.

The Redskins had no answer for Morris and when they did, the refs wouldn’t allow it.

10. The young guns

There was nothing more satisfying seeing such much of the team’s success come from the young players on this team. First-year right tackle La’el Collins made Ryan Kerrigan look invisible. David Irving was a flat out beast. Awuzie was making plays that make him look like the second-round steal we all thought he would be. Frazier had the best game of his career. Even in the dog-house, Anthony Brown had a nice interception.

That’s really good news, Cowboys fans.

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