Roof Prescott and Amari Cooper broke out the Washington Redskins defense when reopening Dallas Cowboys picked up their third straight…
Roof Prescott and Amari Cooper broke out the Washington Redskins defense when reopening Dallas Cowboys picked up their third straight win to move into a first tie in the NFC East. Here’s what we learned from Cowboys 31-23 win on Thanksgiving Day:
1. This game marked the big game. Early it was the big and big back game that was interesting, with Trey Quinn who set the table for his own touchdown reception with a long-term return. Another long term puts Washington in position to add more points when it goes down with several points. And of course it was Amari Coopers second half explosion, first on a 40-yard touchdown reception created by a well-managed route and later a 91
-yard catch where he made a pair of defenders miss and outran guy before the Alabama star Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the end zone. It was a nice surprise from two teams who have not really won the big game during much of the season.
2nd Cooper is such a big addition to this cowboy team, which has turned almost completely around since he arrived on the trading day. His introduction has made it possible for Dallas to spread crime more, resulting in an increase in the use of eleven staff (more about this), more room for Ezekiel Elliott to work and more seats for Prescott to join the ball. Cooper’s above-mentioned big game was the clear difference on Thursday, but his impact goes beyond the big game – and makes the cowboys look better and better at both production and ability forward. Do not look any further than Prescott’s game as proof.
3rd This game was charged as one that could have been decisive for how the NFC East shakes out, and it feels even more like a fork on the way for two teams after the fact. What was a close game quickly became a blowout, and Redskin’s reputation was like a threatening opponent. Without Alex Smith, Washington becomes a team that needs to take an early lead and pound it out on the field with Adrian Peterson, or else risk placing the ball in the hands of Colt McCoy. Pro tip: You do not want to do it. We still have more than a month of football left, but it certainly felt like Washington’s first swing song.
Dallas rolls in the meantime. I dare not say that I make them do a deep run in the playoffs, but they look like a clear favorite to win the division at this time, with neither of the three members counting enough to move beyond a trot. The cowboys gallop however and seem to be more comfortable with their own identity with each week.
4th This has been a recurring theme for Redskins in recent years and feels even bigger this year: Injuries have decimated this team. The blocking front has fallen considerably without multiple starting lines, and the loss of Smith is the most obvious. We are not sure where this game will be on the list of importance, but it is first that really showed how staff losses have left this weakly in several areas.
Redskins may be competitive against Colt McCoy on quarterback, but they have a rather steep rise to win more games. This was no more obvious than when McCoy hit a four-time interception in the fourth quarter, a passport thrown behind his intended recipient and into a handful of Cowboy defenders. It ended in an interrogation and sent a frustrated McCoy to the sidelines, which seems to ask how such a passport could contend next to its intended goal. There were plenty of other examples in between, and coach Jay Gruden referred McCoy’s lack of time with entrees until Thursday saying that the quarterback did not have a single rope with the group in practice. So there is room for improvement. But we also know the roof of McCoy, a long-term backup for a reason.
5th A current topic for Cowboy’s latest round (since Troy Aikman’s lambasting of the organization, really) has been a stifling defense that has been enormously improved over the past month. It got a lot of headlights in Dallas’s surprising victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, just beat Atlanta Falcons and caused many problems for Washington. The opportunist Cowboy’s defense intercepted McCoy three times and made a touchdown on one of the subsequent possessions that all buried Redskins. Prescott’s mourning points put Dallas forward 31-13 and the courage where he did it – scrambling and avoiding multiple would-tacklers – being demoralizing for Redskins. The forced switches also frustrated McCoy and left him as the last quarterback to be fluffed by the Dallas defense.
If they continue this game on this side of the ball, it seems like the best thing is to come for the Cowboys who are ready to win at least three of their last five games and can do it four with a similar effort to Indianapolis Colts in week 15.