After the Dallas Cowboys 31-23 win over the Washington Redskins tonight we break down our four takeaways from the game that put the Cowboys over .500 and tied atop the division.
First Down- Defense
The Cowboys defense flexed it’s muscles tonight. They entered the game with just 10 takeaways on the season and left with 13. Nickel back Anthony Brown, who has had his share of struggles this season, came away with the first takeaway on an interception. In the third quarter defensive end Demarcus Lawrence came up with his first career interception off a deflection and safety Xavier Woods came up with a key interception of his own late in the fourth quarter. They also limited the Redskins to 80 yards on the ground and notched three sacks. More performances like this are needed moving forward.
Second Down- Amari Cooper
Two and 130. Those are Coopers catch and yards total on back-to-back drives in the third quarter both resulting in touchdowns. The first he took 40 yards to the house and the next one he took a slant 90 yards for the score. He finished with eight catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets. Cooper lived up to the hype again tonight and will need to have similar production moving forward.
Third Down- Offensive Line
Struggled. That would be the best way to describe the performance of the offensive line tonight. The patchwork unit allowed four sacks all in the first half and while the numbers were better in the second half it didn’t account for the times Dak Prescott was flushed out of the pocket or avoided sacks. They did a better job on the ground helping the Cowboys control the line of scrimmage and the clock. The pass protection needs to improve moving forward.
Fourth Down- Ezekiel Elliott
Elliott was a key force behind the win. His 26 carry 121-yard one score day not only pushed him past 1,000 yards on the season but helped control the clock. He converted third downs and even got the Cowboys some breathing room when pinned deep. At an average of 4.7 yards per carry, he was able to take the pressure off of Prescott and the passing game creating balance. More of this is necessary when they face the New Orleans Saints Thursday night.