Washington lost its pair of starting defensive ends before Sunday’s matchup with the Cowboys, its starting quarterback and best offensive player during it and, eventually, the game itself, too — but only after a hectic fourth-quarter comeback attempt.
A Jonathan Williams rushing touchdown and a Cole Holcomb pick-6 turned a 27-8 affair into a 27-20 battle, but a late (and dubiously upheld) Kyle Allen fumble cost Washington a chance to pull off an improbable victory.
Before exiting in the fourth quarter with an injury, Taylor Heinicke provided almost nothing for Washington, especially in the first half. The running game that had powered Ron Rivera’s club to its winning streak was also absent all afternoon, and Dallas held a 24-0 lead at the half.
The defense, all things considered, pieced together a solid effort against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys, but Heinicke’s crew was totally overmatched and left their comrades out to dry. A deep TD to Cam Sims was really the offense’s lone highlight prior to garbage time. As for a list of the lowlights, three turnovers and Terry McLaurin's premature departure certainly lead the way but have plenty of additional company there.
What made the afternoon even more appalling from Washington’s perspective was the scene at the stadium.
The promising news is that Rivera, who craved “butts in the seats,” got exactly that. The issue was that at least 50 percent, and probably more, of those butts had Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper jerseys on their accompanying torsos.
After pulling itself up to a .500 record since coming back from the bye, Washington now stands at 6-7 with four more divisional matchups on its schedule to go. The Cowboys, at 9-4, officially own a three-game advantage over the Burgundy and Gold.
The final margin of victory proved to be more friendly to Rivera’s side than the actual contest, which was a thorough disappointment until Allen’s last couple of possessions. Now, the postseason isn’t by any means out of reach, but the NFC East sure looks to be.
For a coach who prides himself on assembling a resilient roster, Rivera will need that quality to show itself this week and next Sunday in Philadelphia. “We want Dallas” turned into “We got Dallas-ed,” and it’ll be crucial for Washington to bounce back physically and mentally before its other Wild Card competitors pull away.