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Cowboys beat Redskins 27-23 behind go-ahead TD by Alfred Morris

Cowboys beat Redskins 27-23 behind go-ahead TD by Alfred Morris

LANDOVER, MD— The Redskins had many chances to put away the Cowboys but mistakes kept Dallas in the game. But the Redskins left the door open once too often and the Cowboys put together a fourth-quarter drive to win the game 27-23. To add insult to injury, the winning touchdown was scored by former Redskins back Alfred Morris, who performed his trademark home-run celebration in the end zone.

The Redskins had a late chance to get a touchdown to pull off a miracle win but Kirk Cousins’ Hail Mary pass went incomplete on the last play of the game. The loss puts them at 0-2 with both losses coming at home.

Kirk Cousins had his moments but starting from when he over threw a wide open Jamison Crowder on the Redskins’ first series he made some critical mistakes. The worst came midway through the fourth quarter when the Redskins had a chance to increase their three-point lead. But he threw a “how didn’t he see him” interception to Barry Church and they came away empty.

On the other hand, Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott played mistake-free football, not throwing an interception and finding prime target Dez Bryant 7 times for 102 yards.

Next up for the Redskins is a trip to the Meadowlands on Sunday to play the Giants. They will be in a desperate situation to pull out a win when they get there.

Injury Updates:

DL Kedric Golston sustained a hamstring injury in the first quarter and he has been ruled out.

DE Chris Baker left the game in the second quarter with a rib injury. He returned before halftime.

LB Will Compton left the game with cramps but he returned.

Scoring drives:

First quarter

FG Bailey 22

Drive: 13 plays, 76 yards, 5:35

Drive summary: The Cowboys got this drive going with a couple of third-down passes from Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant. The first one covered 18 yards, the second one 17. Then Prescott found Cole Beasley over the middle and a missed tackle let him advance to the five. But the defense held there and Bailey came in for the short field goal.

Cowboys 3, Redskins 0 9:25        

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Elliott 1 run (Bailey kick)

Drive: 9 plays, 94 yards, 5:13

Drive summary: The Cowboys got a drive going from deep in their own territory. From their own six they got out of the hole quickly with a pass from Prescott to Whitten that covered 29 yards. A couple of Ezekiel Elliott runs of nine yards each helped move the Cowboys into Redskins territory. The Cowboys faced a fourth and one at the 30 and they made the play, with Prescott finding tight end Geoff Swain for 28 yards to the two. A few plays later Elliott powered his way in for the touchdown.

Cowboys 10, Redskins 0 1:39     

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Second quarter

Jones 14 run (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 3:31

Drive summary: A play action pass from Cousins to Jordan Reed on the first play of the drive got the Redskins 25 yards to midfield. Two plays later Cousins went to Pierre Garçon for nine yards and a first down at the Dallas 37. Shortly after that, Cousins got 12 on a pass to DeSean Jackson to the 14. On the next play, Matt Jones dashed off of the left side, got to the second level, and stretched the ball over the goal line.

Cowboys 10, Redskins 3 13:08   

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Bailey FG 31

Drive: 10 plays, 43 yards, 4:31

Drive summary: The Cowboys started in good field position at their own 44 after a punt. On third and four Prescott found Lance Dunbar all alone for a gain of 17. Then Elliott got seven yards up the middle to convert a third and one. They got as far as the 13 but an incomplete pass on third and five ended the drive and Bailey came in to kick the field goal.

Cowboys 13, Redskins 7   4:34   

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FG Hopkins 36

Drive: 12 plays, 56 yards, 4:08

Drive summary: The Redskins started from their own 26 and right off the bat Cousins scrambled for 10 yards on a bootleg. A couple of plays later he fired to Jordan Reed over the middle for 15 yards to the Dallas 49. The Redskins converted a third and seven when Reed made a leaping catch for nine yards to the Dallas 37. After a pass to Vernon Davis picked up 10 yards the drive stalled and Hopkins kicked the field goal.

Cowboys 13, Redskins 10 0:28

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Third quarter

Crowder 11 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 3:44

Drive summary: This one got going in a hurry. Cousins found Garçon for 16 yards and went to Vernon Davis over the middle for 32 yards to the 23. A short sideline pass to Ryan Grant got a first down at the 11. Two plays later Cousins found Jamison Crowder in the back of the end zone for the TD.

Redskins 17, Cowboys 13 11:16

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Prescott 6 run (Bailey kick)

Drive: 10 plays, 75 yards, 5:35

Drive summary: The Cowboys answered the Redskins’ TD drive to open the second half with one of their own. Prescott again found Whitten on a bootleg for 14 and then Elliott runs of nine and 21 yards got them into Redskins territory. They kept it going on third and 11 when Prescott went to Bryant for a gain of 16 yards to the six. Two play later Prescott dropped back to pass and scrambled up the middle for the touchdown.

Cowboys 29, Redskins 17 5:41

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FG Hopkins 29

Drive: 6 plays, 21 yards, 2:57

Drive summary: The Redskins got great field position when Dallas tried a surprise onside kick. The ball didn’t travel 10 yards and the Redskins took possession at the Dallas 38. A seven-yard Matt Jones run got one first down and a 10-yard Cousins scramble got another one. But on third and six Cousins had to throw it away and Hopkins came in for the field goal to tie it up.

Redskins 20, Cowboys 20 2:06

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FG Hopkins 22

Drive:  5 plays, 30 yards, 1:35

Drive summary: Again the Redskins got good field position, this time on an Ezekiel Elliott fumble forced by Josh Norman and recovered by Dashaun Phillips at the Dallas 34. On the next play. Cousins threw to a wide open Niles Paul for 16 yards and a roughing the passer penalty pushed it to a first down at the nine. On thrd and goal from the four, Cousins’ throw was off target and they again had to settle for a field goal.

Redskins 23, Cowboys 20 0:04   

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Fourth quarter

Morris 4 Yd Run (Bailey Kick)

Drive: 11 plays, 80 yards, 5:50

Drive summary: After taking possession an interception the Cowboys got going on a 21-yard pass from Prescott to Bryant. The Redskins then gave them some help, getting hit for 15 yards on a roughing the passer penalty and five yards for hands to the face. They then converted a third and 11 with a 12-yard pass to Cole Beasley. Two plays later Alfred Morris went up the middle for the score and performed his home run celebration.

Cowboys 27, Redskins 23 4:45

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MORE REDSKINS: Golston injury again thins defensive line

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

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When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

At halftime of the Redskins’ Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, Samaje Perine had three yards rushing and his team had three points. Washington had racked up all of 113 yards.

Coincidence? Not entirely. Although the Redskins are primarily a passing team they need to run the ball to pass effectively.

“We had to get the running game going,” said Jay Gruden after the game.

In the second half, Perine and the offense did get it going. Perine ran for 97 yards and Redskins put up 210 yards and 17 points. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t a coincidence.

The Redskins didn’t make any halftime adjustments to get the ground game in gear.

“We just had to stay the course,” said Perine. “We knew they were going to come out fired up, they just came off a big win. We just had to stay the course and then things started going our way.”

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS OF THE WIN

Perine was more steady than spectacular. His longest run was 16 yards. He came out of the locker room and ran for six and 10 yards on his first two carries. Later in the third quarter the Redskins were backed up at their own 10. Perine ran four straight plays for 39 yards and the Redskins were near midfield.

Although they didn’t score on that drive they did change field position. That was part of the Redskins’ strategy playing with an injury-depleted offense.

“If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good,” said Gruden.

Not only did the running game flip the field, it flipped the time of possession. In the first half, the Giants had the ball for 17:40 compared to 12:20 for the Redskins.

“We had to get on the field and control some of the clock,” said tackle Morgan Moses. “We had to give our defense a rest. Samaje put his foot in the ground and got extra yards when needed and we were able to move the chains.”

Moses wasn’t the only one enjoying seeing Perine pile up some yards.

“As a defensive player, you want to see that,” said safety D.J. Swearinger. “We say, keep running it. Keep running him. Let him keep getting those carries, put a dent in the defense. It was a good sight to see.”

RELATED: FIVE KEY MOMENTS IN RESKINS VS GIANTS

Swearinger got to watch a lot of Perine. The Redskins piled up 22:17 in possession in the second half, while Swearinger and his defensive mates had to defend for just 7:43.

Last night was the second time in four days that Perine has rushed for 100 yards or more; he had 117 in New Orleans on Sunday. No Redskin has rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games since Alfred Morris did it in November of 2013.

He will have a chance to extend that streak to three on Thursday against the Cowboys, who are ranked 17th in rushing defense. That would put him in some elite company in Redskins history, including Larry Brown (twice) and Stephen Davis.  A steak of three straight 100-yard games was last done by Morris in 2012.

It may be a little early to look forward, but the Redskins record is five straight 100-yard games, held by Clinton Portis (twice) and Ladell Betts.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.