By Shawn Lealos
The Dallas Cowboys went into their Thanksgiving Day game against one of their toughest opponents, the Washington Redskins, at 9-1. This was the second time the two teams have played this season, with Dallas scoring the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter of the first game in Week 2. Thanksgiving Day saw another close matchup, but Dallas won a tough one late in the game for a final score of 31-26. The Cowboys’ Turkey Day win came despite the fact that both teams scored a combined five touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and Dallas now extends their NFL-best record to 10-1.
The Dallas Cowboys struggled in the first half against the Washington Redskins and still went into halftime with a 17-6 lead. The Cowboys opened the game with a seven-play, 75-yard drive capped off by an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown run. Elliott ran for 41 yards on that first drive and then the Redskins shut him down until the fourth quarter. Even against a very tough run defense, Elliott finished with 97 rushing yards and two touchdowns and added 23 yards on two receptions in the game.
Dak Prescott did what was needed to win, but he wasn’t tasked with too much. He completed 17 of 24 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown while running for 39 yards and another touchdown. The Cowboys had gained over 400 yards a game for the past eight games, but only needed 353 yards to win this one. Dez Bryant caught five passes for 72 yards to lead the team in receiving.
The Dallas Cowboys gave up a ton of yards through the air, which makes the fact they gave up only two field goals in the first half impressive. As a matter of fact, Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins missed two field goals in the first half, so that means the Cowboys defense gave up enough to lose, but the team pulled out the win anyway.
Kirk Cousins had a monster game, throwing for 449 yards and three touchdowns. Dallas never sacked him once and didn’t finish with a single turnover in the game. The best thing that can be said about the Dallas defense is that they stopped the Redskins from scoring touchdowns in the first half. The Cowboys did shut down the Redskins’ rushing attack, only giving up 56 total rushing yards on 19 carries.
Special Teams: A-
One positive for the Dallas Cowboys on special teams was that the Redskins missed two field goals in the game. However, when it comes to the Cowboys, Dan Bailey hit his only field goal and all four extra points. Chris Jones punted the ball twice, putting both of them inside the 20. The Cowboys only had one kick return for no yards and no punt returns. However, what really won this game was that the Washington Redskins kicked two onside kicks – one expected and one unexpected – and Dallas recovered both of them.
The Dallas Cowboys have complete trust in Dak Prescott. Despite the Cowboys not moving the ball strong in the first half, they still trusted Prescott to win the game, and he didn’t let the Cowboys down. On the defensive side of the ball, Dallas couldn’t seem to stop the pass. They gave up 449 yards through the air and almost lost the game.
The Dallas Cowboys travel to Minnesota next Thursday night to take on the Vikings. This will be a tough game for Dallas because the Vikings have one of the NFL’s top defenses. However, the Cowboys moved the ball well against a strong Baltimore and Washington defense in back-to-back weeks, so they have proven that their offense is strong enough to beat anyone.