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Cowboys news: Dallas beats Washington on the back of their defense

The Cowboys win a defensive battle, McCarthy provides clarity on Tyron Smith’s late-game injury, recapping the victory, and more.

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Football Team Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

DAL 27, WAS 20: Cowboys Survive the Football Team’s Second-Half Rally - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Despite a late-game surge from Washington, the Cowboys get it done against their division rival.

The Cowboys nearly squandered a 24-0 halftime lead, letting Washington fight their way back throughout the second half. But the rally fell just short and Dallas held on for a 27-20 victory, improving to 9-4 and taking a major step forward toward winning the NFC East.

Dallas’ defense was the star today with Micah Parsons and Randy Gregory taking the lead. Parsons had two sacks in the first half, one of which caused a fumble that Dorance Armstrong returned for a touchdown.

Gregory had an interception in the first half, tipping the ball to himself and securing the catch for the takeaway. Then on Washington’s final possession, Randy all but sealed the game with a sack-fumble to end the Football Team’s comeback.

DeMarcus Lawrence and Neville Gallimore, playing in his first game this year after a preseason elbow injury, also added a sack each. The Cowboys defense only allowed 14 points and 224 total yards on the day.

Unfortunately, the offense didn’t do enough to make it a one-sided affair. Dak Prescott threw two bad interceptions, one of which was taken to the house by LB Cole Holcomb to make things scary late in the game.

Dallas Cowboys’ defense great enough to save team from Dak Prescott - Kenneth Wilson, The Landry Hat

Safe to say it wasn’t Dak Prescott’s finest showing, but the defense showed up.

The Cowboys’ defense helped save a struggling Dak Prescott to secure a Dallas victory

This Cowboys defense is a force strong enough to help carry the Cowboys to a deep run. The three fumbles, interception, and the five sacks for 51 yards on Washington’s offense all display that very fact. But a defense can’t do it alone. They have to be able to get help from the other side of the ball. Specifically, quarterback Dak Prescott can’t derail them. He has been bad for a few weeks now… really bad.

Here’s the thing, though. Prescott did make a few key plays when they were needed. Luckily for him, that can be just enough when your defense plays as they did. However, the last thing the Cowboys need is Prescott putting them in a position to lose a game they have no business losing.

In fact, you’d like Prescott to be a huge part of the reason you win. He made a few key runs when they needed it on Sunday, but his decision-making and execution were poor at times – especially coming down the stretch.

Mike McCarthy applauds La’el Collins defending his QB, which resulted in ejection- Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk

McCarthy respected the support Collins showed, even if it resulted in an ejection.

It was last season in Washington that Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy questioned his players after a loss to Washington. McCarthy didn’t appreciate that none of his players came to quarterback Andy Dalton‘s defense after an illegal hit by Jon Bostic that concussed Dalton.

The Cowboys, who were playing with four backup offensive linemen, didn’t get into Bostic’s face.

Fast forward to Sunday when La’el Collins earned an ejection for defending quarterback Dak Prescott.

“LC did exactly what you’re supposed to do there,” McCarthy said after the Cowboys’ 27-20 win over Washington on Sunday.

Washington defensive end William Bradley-King hit Prescott along the Cowboys sideline as Prescott threw away the ball. Collins went after Bradley-King, throwing punches that got him ejected.

Bradley-King’s only penalty was offsides, which was superseded by Collins’ penalty.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was not in the game at the time, also got involved. He shoved Bradley-King several times but was not penalized.

Updates: Tyron Smith To Be Re-Evaluated Monday - Nick Eatman, David Helman & Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com

We have to hold our breath and hope that everything is positive.

5:11 p.m. – The Cowboys had to finish the game without both starting tackles, including Tyron Smith, who left in the fourth quarter with a left ankle injury.

That’s the same ankle that caused him to miss two games and parts of others in the last month.

A Cowboys team spokesman said after the game that Smith would be re-evaluated on Monday back in Dallas.

With Smith out and La’el Collins ejected, the Cowboys used Terence Steele at right tackle and Ty Nsekhe on the left side.

Cowboys basically clinched the NFC East, looking at NFC’s top seed - Braulio Perez, FanSided

Up three games on the division with four to play, get the hats and t-shirts ready.

Dallas went on to record a clutch 27-20 victory over Washington. With that result, the Cowboys have essentially locked up the NFC East title. Now that they’re at 9-4 as well, Dallas remains in the hunt to capture the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Will this team be able to get that job done?

Dallas has what it takes to earn a first-round bye in the postseason

What makes Dallas so special right now is the fact that the defense is really playing on another level. The kind of pressure they put on Taylor Heinecke from start to finish in Sunday’s win was out of this world.

We’ve of course got to bring up the play of rookie pass-rusher Micah Parsons. Parsons had two sacks on the day, plus a forced fumble that Dallas returned for a touchdown. Parsons is most definitely in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.

Game Recap: Defense Leads To 27-20 Win- Kurt Daniels, DallasCowboys.com

The recap for the first three quarters is much more fun to read than the fourth quarter recap.

First Quarter

The Cowboys did something they hadn’t done in their last three games – put up points on their opening possession. Prescott pushed his team 54 yards in 12 plays before the drive stalled, but out came Zuerlein for a 35-yard field goal. Which was a good sign considering Dallas came into this game undefeated, 6-0, when scoring first.

And by the end of the quarter, the game seemed essentially over.

The Cowboys would go on to reel off 15 more unanswered points to take a commanding lead, thanks primarily to the play of their defense. It started when Gregory, back after missing four games due to a calf injury, tipped a pass at the line and then hauled it in himself to give Dallas the ball at the Washington 41-yard line.

Five players later, the Cowboys were on the board again after Prescott threaded a pass to Amari Cooper in the back of the end zone for the score. And thanks to a roughing the passer penalty on Washington, the Cowboys were successful on their two-point conversion.

But the defense wasn’t done yet. With Washington going for it on fourth-and-2 at the Dallas 46-yard line, Parsons powered his way to the quarterback, strip-sacking Heinicke. The bouncing ball was then picked up by defensive end Dorance Armstrong, who went 37 yards untouched for the touchdown and an 18-0 lead.

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