The Redskins were bealeagured by injuries and sloppy conditions on Sunday, falling to the Dallas Cowboys 33-19 at FedEx Field.
After taking a 10-7 lead in the first quarter, a blocked field goal and lengthy return changed the complexion of the game, with the Cowboys scoring 19 straight points. The injuries piled up and Kirk Cousins and the offense could not mount a comeback.
Here are Rich Tandler's observations.
— The Redskins are getting hit in their nickel defense. In Dallas’ opening drive, Ezekiel Elliott ran for eight and 13 yards, the last one for a touchdown. They need to tighten up their run defense in nickel or go more base on first down.
— In the early going, the Redskins were not running very effectively, but the commitment to running helped them when Cousins got away from the short and horizontal passing game and went deep to Jamison Crowder, setting up the Redskins’ first touchdown.
— Cousins was sharp in the early going, completing seven of 10 passes for 80 yards. But he sailed a third-down pass to Pryor just a bit high and the receiver couldn’t quite get two feet down and they had to settle for a field goal.
— The Redskins have not made many positive plays on special teams but they have mostly avoided making negative plays. Until today. Tress Way had problems getting the ball down on a field goal attempt. It was blocked but went forward a few yards. Orlando Scandrick got an 86-yard return and two plays later what looked like was going to be a nine-point Redskins lead turned into a one-point Dallas lead. Now the special teams owe a big play.
— The makeshift offensive line is playing as well as can be expected. No penalties, a couple of sacks but for the most part Cousins has had time to throw. At the half only nine rushing attempts for Washington so it’s hard to judge the performance there.
— The Redskins’ first turnover of the game caused some damage. Cousins was sacked and had the ball knocked away during the first drive of the second half. Dallas recovered near midfield and turned it into a field goal. The Redskins can’t afford to give away any points.
— But they did. On the kickoff following the field goal, Chris Thompson was hit and fumbled. Two Redskins had the ball in their arms but they couldn’t squeeze it and the Cowboys recovered. A holding penalty negated an Elliott touchdown run but it did set up another field goal. With about six minutes left in the third quarter, the Redskins had given the Cowboys 13 points on the field goal block and the two fumbles.
— The Redskins’ defense is starting to wear down late in the third quarter. After a three and out, which happened because Josh Doctson couldn’t hold on to a deep sideline pass that would have given the Redskins a first down in Dallas territory, Dallas go the ball near midfield. Elliott found running room Prescott completed a couple of passes and Nugent kicked another field goal to give the Cowboys a 10-point lead. In the third quarter the Redskins had the ball for slightly over five minutes.
— The Redskins are running out of bodies. By the end of the third quarter, LG Shawn Lauvao (stinger), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder), TE Jordan Reed (hamstring), and DE Matt Ioannidis (hand) were all sidelined with various injuries. While Dallas was getting stronger, the Redskins were fading.
— On a positive note, Jamison Crowder became the first Redskins receiver this year to top 100 yards receiving. He caught one for 41 yards early and kept it rolling. The two who are supposed to be leading the charge, Terrelle Pryor and Doctoson, had two receptions for six yards between them with five minutes left to play.
— The Redskins got a couple of breaks on two near-interceptions that Dallas defenders couldn’t hold on to and a touch pass interference penalty in the end zone but they did get a touchdown that pulled them to within seven. The extra point was missed, another special teams gaffe.
— The Cowboys are going to leave FedEx Field with a win that wasn’t entirely a gift. However the team that couldn’t afford to make many mistakes, the one that had to play a clean game, made too many mistakes—dropped passes, turnovers, special teams gaffes, and more. The Redskins had their shots but they just gave Dallas too many opportunities.