The Dallas Cowboys will visit our nation’s capital for a football game on Sunday afternoon. It’s a tale as old as time, a tradition that’s been going on for what I think is 500 years.
Recent history has seen the game in Washington go the Cowboys way more often than not. Since 2016, the Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott era, Dallas has won all but one contest against their division rival. Their only loss came at the very place that they’ll visit in a few days just last year, but if not for a ridiculous snap infraction penalty things might have gone completely different.
On the subject of things that are different, Washington will be trotting out a different quarterback against the Cowboys. This has become quite commonplace over the last two-plus years.
Washington will start their fourth different quarterback in a row against the Cowboys
Sunday will mark Dak Prescott’s seventh game in a row for the Cowboys against this particular division rival (as did last week’s game against the Giants). Washington is absolutely not in such a position of continuity as there has been quite the carousel of quarterbacks to play for them in recent memory.
- 2017 at Dallas: Kirk Cousins (left in free agency to Minnesota Vikings)
- 2018 at Washington: Alex Smith (lost for season due to injury)
- 2018 at Dallas: Colt McCoy (still on the Washington roster)
- 2019 at Washington: Case Keenum (acquired by Washington this past offseason)
Interestingly enough, while the Cowboys played against Kirk Cousins at AT&T Stadium in 2017 (the night Dez Bryant broke the receiving touchdowns record), Case Keenum was helping lead the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship Game. It was then Cousins joining the Vikings that sent Keenum on a different path that saw him join the Denver Broncos before being traded to Washington just one offseason later.
Keenum isn’t the only quarterback that Washington has traded for in recent memory, just one year prior to acquiring the former Houston Cougar they traded for Alex Smith who they thought would be a bridge for the franchise that would last for a few years. His injury last season against the Houston Texans disrupted that plan which is why Colt McCoy had to start against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
Dallas recently started four quarterbacks in a row in this rivalry, too
While looking at a statistic like this generates thoughts of “wow this franchise is dysfunctional” it’s important (sad, too) to note that not too long ago the Cowboys were in this position themselves.
Think back to just before Dak Prescott became the Cowboys quarterback. He was actually the fourth different one in a row to start against Washington just like Keenum will do against Dallas this week.
- 2014 at Washington: Tony Romo (the regular season finale to quite a fun year)
- 2015 at Washington: Matt Cassel (who tried to tread water and actually won)
- 2015 at Dallas: Kellen Moore (now the team’s offensive coordinator)
- 2016 at Washington: Dak Prescott (the first of his)
Issues at quarterback are never something that an NFL franchise wants to be experiencing and thankfully the Cowboys found their solution with number four, no pun intended. Washington does have their own promising young signal-caller in Dwayne Haskins, and for what it’s worth, he could make it five in a row for them when they visit the Cowboys in Week 17 of this season.
Change is never easy, but it happens quite a lot in the NFL.