The Washington Football Team snapped a five-game losing streak and beat the Dallas Cowboys 25-3 to improve to 2-5 on the year.
Head Coach Ron Rivera wanted to see how his team would respond after coming up short in New York last week. The team responded in a big way against a bad football team. The Cowboys are a mess.
Here are a few takeaways from Sunday’s matchup.
Washington played a complete game
For the first time all year, Washington put together four quarters of football in its most lopsided win over the Cowboys since 2005. It started with the opening drive, as the team went 74 yards but came up short on fourth, and inches from the Cowboys’ one-yard line. Six plays later, Landon Collins had a strip-sack and a fumble on Andy Dalton.
The ball was recovered by Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz in the end zone, where he was tackled by Jonathan Allen for a safety.
Kyle Allen looked comfortable all day in leading the offense, finding some rhythm with Terry McLaurin to the tune of a 52-yard touchdown reception. McLaurin finished with a team-high seven catches for 90 yards. The Cowboys had given up over 30 points a game for five straight weeks, and Washington was well on its way to that mark. But with a 22-3 lead at halftime, Rivera’s team just put it on cruise control in the second.
Antonio Gibson has emerged as a threat
The rookie had a career-high 128 yards, 94 of which came in the first half. He had a 40-yard run as well as a 12-yard touchdown run. Washington knew it had a chance to run the ball effectively, because Dallas entered the game giving up nearly 180 rushing yards per game.
Washington finished with 208 yards on the ground. It was even more impressive because starting left tackle Geron Christian missed the game with a knee injury.
The defense had a day
Jack Del Rio’s unit knew it had a chance to take advantage of a Dallas offensive line that was suffering due to injury. In its best performance since the opener against Philadelphia, Washington recorded six sacks on Dallas quarterbacks, forcing Andy Dalton into a 9-for-19 day with just 75 yards before he left the game with a concussion on a nasty hit by Jon Bostic. Bostic was ejected and will likely face discipline by the league.
Dallas was held to just 142 total yards on the day and had the ball for just over 23 minutes. Zeke Elliott carried the ball 12 times for only 45 yards.
Is the NFC East really there for the taking?
It’s really hard to fathom that at 2-5, Washington is only half a game out of first place in the NFC East, and the team it’s trailing is the team it beat in week one.
With a convincing win over Dallas and the Giants coming to town in two weeks after the bye, Washington has actually put itself in a very good position. If the two-point conversion was successful a week ago, this team would be 3-0 in a bad division. The group now has a week off before a chance to avenge a loss to the Giants.
Washington safety Landon Collins suffered a noncontact ankle injury and did not return. He immediately grabbed the back of his ankle and had to be carted off the field. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday, but it is feared that he has a torn Achilles.
Ron Rivera has continued to say he wants his team to show progress and show that it is developing into a team that is improving week after week. On Sunday, he saw just that.
The big question is whether or not Washington can take another step forward without taking a step back.