A strong defensive effort proved Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy’s declaration of victory true in a 27-20 road win over the Washington Football Team. As a team, Dallas forced three turnovers, with one leading to a touchdown, along with five sacks. Offensively, a disjointed unit nearly lost the game with stagnant drives and a late turnover. Two first-quarter turnovers helped Dallas take a commanding 18-0 lead that they never relinquished. Washington made a spirited effort late, outscoring Dallas 20-3 in the second half. Washington’s final drive ended on a Randy Gregory strip-sack on third and three recovered by Dallas. Below are the four biggest takeaways from today’s game.
Defense Dominates Again
In what has been a trend in the second half of the season, the Cowboys’ defense once again proved to be one of the league’s best, suffocating an overmatched Washington offense. Leading the way was star rookie Micah Parsons who noticed two sacks and a forced fumble that led to a 34-yard Dorrance Armstrong scoop and score. Parsons now has 10 sacks on the season and registered his sixth straight game with a sack, second-most by a rookie since 1992. Fresh off the injured reserve, tackle Neville Gallimore notched his first full sack of the season, while end Demarcus Lawrence notched a sack as well. Topping it off, Gregory tipped an interception to himself, the first of his career. It’s encouraging to see the defense hitting their stride down the home stretch.
Offensive Struggles Continues
While the final numbers might look decent, once again the unit settled for too many field goals kicking four. Quarterback Dak Prescott tossed two interceptions and nearly a couple more. His second pick was returned for a touchdown cutting the lead to seven with 4:13 left. He also missed open receivers with high passes. On the ground battling a knee injury and without backup Tony Pollard, running back Ezekiel Elliott managed just 45 yards on 12 carries and 60 total yards on 13 touches. Third-string Corey Clement led with 40 yards on 11 carries. Out wide, CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper both went for at least 60 yards. The most disappointing part of the unit was the offensive line, who allowed four sacks, opened little holes, and left with a banged-up Tyron Smith. Moving forward. the unit has to be better, and the offense must establish a consistent rhythm.
Rising to the Occasion
McCarthy was on the verge of sticking his foot in his mouth by guaranteeing victory if his team lost. Fortunately for him, his team came out strong and did just enough in the second half to stave off a comeback attempt by an injury-riddled team. While being confident in your team is one thing, guaranteeing victory in the NFL is never a smart move and is hopefully something he never does again.