Commanders

Washington's win over Dallas was a breakout game for Scott Turner

Commanders

Over 30 million viewers tuned into Washington's Thanksgiving thumping of the Dallas Cowboys, the most of any NFL game this season.

Besides a dominating Turkey Day performance from the road team, those 30 million-plus folks also witnessed the breakout performance of Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner, who without a doubt called his best game of the season in the Burgundy and Gold's 41-16 victory.

From the beginning of the game, Turner seemed to be in full control and comfortable with his offense.

After Washington went three-and-out to begin the afternoon, the unit responded with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take the lead -- a sequence that had a little bit of everything.

On the second first-down play of the drive, Turner dialed up a reverse to tight end Logan Thomas. Once Thomas took the handoff from Smith, the former Virginia Tech quarterback uncorked a dime to standout receiver Terry McLaurin for a 28-yard gain.

The drive, which was perfectly balanced between the run and the pass (six plays of each) was capped off by a five-yard touchdown rush by rookie Antonio Gibson.

Turner and Gibson were just getting started, though.

On the next Washington drive, with the team in the red zone once again, Turner dug even deeper into his bag of tricks, with a little bit of help from his head coach.

With Washington facing second-and-6 from the Dallas 16, the Football Team ran the sport's version of baseball's hidden ball trick, a play-design inspired from the 1994 movie "Little Giants."

 

“We nicknamed it the ‘Bumerooski,’" Rivera explained to the media, a reference to longtime coach Bum Phillips. 

The drive resulted in a field goal, but Turner sent a message to Dallas in the first half: he wasn't going to leave anything in his playbook.

In the second half, Washington got away from the trickeration and rode the back of Gibson to wear down the Dallas defense.

Spoiler alert: it worked.

Over the final 30 minutes, Washington outscored Dallas, 24-3, and allowed just 73 yards of total offense. It was a total team effort and an impressive display of complementary football.

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Even when the game was close, to begin the second half, Turner stuck with the run game, something he hadn't done in weeks past. Gibson would reward his offensive coordinator, finding the end zone twice in the second half en route to his best game as a pro.

By the end of Thursday's tilt, Washington eclipsed 40 points (with an assist from defensive end Montez Sweat) for the first time since 2016.

For those who have followed Washington over recent weeks, this offensive explosion seemed like it was coming -- just a matter of time as to when.

Over the first six weeks of the season, Washington's offense struggled. That's putting it lightly. The group averaged just 18 points per outing and converted third downs at a lowly 34.1 percent clip. Washington went 1-5 over that stretch.

Over the last five weeks, Turner has really started to come into his own as a coordinator. Washington has won three of its last five, with the offense averaging 26.6 points per game over that span while converting third downs at a 46.8 percent rate.

Washington's victory was the team's fifth consecutive game of 20-plus points, something it hadn't accomplished in three years.

Remember when Washington went 15-plus quarters without scoring a touchdown just last season? That seems like ancient history now.

It may just be his first year as a full-time offensive coordinator, but Turner has really impressed over the past few weeks. If Washington hopes to eke out a division title this season, the offense must continue to improve and produce the way it has.