The regular season has come to an end for the Dallas Cowboys as they finished things off on a positive note with a 38-10 smackdown over the Washington Commanders. The Cowboys needed the win to secure the division, and they got it, but it was also good to see them leave on a positive note. Here are 10 thoughts on the Washington whooping at FedEx Field.
1. QUICK-RELEASE OFFENSE
It was a little bumpy at first when the Cowboys' first three possessions all went into Washington territory, but only one of them resulted in a score. Despite the results early, the offense looked sharp, and the universe quickly corrected itself as the offense proceeded to score touchdowns on their next four possessions. It was an efficient offense that contained productive runs and quick passes. It was a great way to keep their quarterback upright (zero sacks) with two backup guards playing. Sure, it was against a bad Commanders’ defense, but they looked extremely comfortable.
After his amazing 200+ yard game last week, CeeDee Lamb finished up with an encore performance. On Sunday, he caught 13 passes for 98 yards, with two of them being touchdowns. He completes the regular season with 135 catches (Cowboys record) and 1,749 yards (Cowboys record). It felt like Lamb had cloned himself and just kept popping up all over the place. Everywhere that Dak looked, that little Lamb was sure to follow.
3. NICE SHOWING FROM THE RUN GAME
The offense was humming, but they weren’t one-dimensional this time. Tony Pollard had 70 yards on 17 carries and Rico Dowdle added another 46 yards on nine carries. As a team, they rushed for 131 yards, with many productive runs throughout the game. During the Cowboys' five-game win streak, they ran for at least 100 yards in each of them but hadn’t reached that mark over the last three games. It was nice to see them get the run game back on track, even if it was against the Commanders.
4. DEFENSE LOCKED IN
Washington got 10 points in the game, and all of them were off of a turnover and blocked kick. While there were moments early when the Commanders were moving the ball, the Cowboys defense started clamping down. They never got in scoring position in the second half. The defense finished the day with four sacks, two interceptions, and a turnover on downs. They only surrendered 180 total yards, including just 50 yards on the ground, their lowest rushing yards allowed total of the year.
5. HANK, TANK, AND THE SPLASH MAKERS
Is it a coincidence that the Cowboys' defense allowed just 50 yards on the ground the game Johnathan Hankins returned from injury? Maybe, but maybe not. And how many times does DeMarcus Lawrence get his big mitts on something that causes a problem for the opposing offense? A lot. A lot is the answer you’re looking for. And what is up with Jourdan Lewis and Donovan Wilson who have suddenly become the splashiest of defenders, both with two-straight games with a takeaway? It’s nice to have the defense playing well as everyone is doing their job.
6. GILMORE SCARE
The team got a scare late in the second quarter when Stephon Gilmore went down after defending a pass near the sideline. The veteran corner exited the game with a shoulder injury. From that point on, the team relied on third-year corner Nahshon Wright to step in. The team is already without Trevon Diggs so losing their other starting outside corner is not good. While we haven’t heard anything official injury report, Gilmore feels optimistic he’ll be ready to go next week.
Additionally, the Cowboys appeared to come out of this game relatively unscathed which is a huge victory in its own right heading into the postseason.
7. PERFECT NO MORE
Entering the game, Brandon Aubrey was 35/35 on field goal attempts. All he had to do was survive this game clean and he would finish the season perfect. Well, it was not to be as the Commanders snuck through the left side and blocked a 32-yard attempt. It’s unfortunate to see his field goal streak come to an end in this manner, but it may have not mattered because Aubrey doinked his next attempt off the left upright in the second half. This brought back some bad Brett-Maher-excellent-regular-season-but-gets-the-yips-in-the-playoff vibes, but thankfully Aubrey came in later and knocked down a 50-yarder.
8. SPECIAL TEAM MADNESS
The Commanders blocking the field goal was tough to stomach, but the Cowboys special teams got in on the action themselves in the fourth quarter when Peyton Hendershot-through-a-cannon and blocked a punt. The offense had already built a lead when they scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half, but this blocked punt that followed was just the icing on the cake. The Cowboys scored a touchdown three plays later and just like that it was 35-10. Ballgame.
9. THE NON-STREAK, STREAK CONTINUES
With the Cowboys winning, they are NFC East Champions. Over the last 10 years, the Cowboys have won the division five times, matching what all the other NFC East teams have done combined (Philadelphia four times, Washington once). The Cowboys jumping the Eagles means that the NFC East will once again not have a repeat division winner for the 19th-straight year.
10. ALL THE STARS ALIGNED
Not only did the Cowboys win, but the Eagles lost just to keep that skid going, and I mean, who doesn’t enjoy that? While they didn’t need any help, it provided a bonus in the sense that the victory by the New York Giants worsened their draft position, but hey, it’s not like those guys can draft well anyway. Any thoughts of going for one of the top collegiate quarterbacks just got more difficult as it could be more years of Daniel Jones on the horizon. Hooray!
Not only that, but the Los Angeles Rams pulled off a late-game victory (thanks to Carson Wentz) keeping them at the no. 6 seed, and sending the more desirable matchup, the Green Bay Packers. to AT&T Stadium next week. What a nice day it ended up being.