Sunday was a big day for the 2018 Dallas Cowboys as they got a huge win on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. Right about the time that Leighton Vander Esch intercepted Matt Ryan in the game, something big was happening elsewhere within the NFC East.
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith broke his tibia and fibula during the team’s loss to the Houston Texans. With only a game lead on the Dallas Cowboys and a date against them on a short week this Thanksgiving, this is one of the biggest things to happen across the division this season.
No Alex Smith means that Washington will have to start their backup quarterback against the Cowboys on Turkey Day. Those who follow college football, especially in the state of Texas, will know him well... as will Dallas Cowboys fans. Colt McCoy will get yet another chance to shine in Arlington.
It was four years ago that McCoy started for Washington while they dealt with injuries ahead of him. Dallas entered that Monday Night Football matchup riding a six-game win streak, but the energy of their night and season was sucked out of AT&T Stadium when Tony Romo was knocked from the game with a back injury (it feels like so long ago, doesn’t it?).
Brandon Weeden drove the bus while Romo was out but ultimately Tony would come back and the Cowboys would lose in overtime. McCoy was 25/30 for 299 yards and scored with a rushing touchdown. It was quite embarrassing for Cowboys fans that he managed to lead the Redskins to victory over a squad that was on such fire.
Things are very different for the Cowboys four years later
There was no Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, or Amari Cooper on that 2014 Cowboys team. Defensively there was no DeMarcus Lawrence just yet, no Jaylon Smith, no Leighton Vander Esch, no Byron Jones. The Cowboys defense, this Cowboys defense, was not there and as a result Colt should be in for a much tougher time this Thursday.
The Cowboys defense is ballin’ at some unreal levels right now. They just handled Atlanta in Atlanta in a way that nobody handles Atlanta in Atlanta. On paper they’d have every advantage as this short week game is a home one for them and McCoy will have even less time than a normal backup being thrust into the starting role as things are going to move so quick this week.
It’s definitely better for the Cowboys to face Colt McCoy than it would have been for them to face Alex Smith, but it’s not a foregone conclusion that they’ll win. There’s no question that this is a gift of sorts and the Cowboys have to do their part to capitalize on it. They couldn’t four years ago against Colt, hopefully they can this time around.