By: Greg Rector
DALLAS COWBOYS 31 WASHINGTON REDSKINS 21
Keys to Victory:
A far more balanced attack than in week one. Elliott went for 111 yards and a touchdown, Prescott added another 69 yards on the ground, overall 213 yards rushing, to go along with 261 passing yards. The offensive line dominated in both run and pass blocking. Again this week everyone contributed, including Devin Smith, who was great in camp with a beautiful 51 yard TD catch to get the Cowboys on the board in the 2nd quarter, after a slow start the Cowboys just as they did last week scored on 5 straight drives.
The maturing of Prescott continued this week. Despite a tipped pass INT early on, he was 26/30 with 3 TD passes. The early struggles didn’t phase him, and he did not fall into the old pattern of trying to do too much when it wasn’t needed. His 42-yard scamper on a read-option play was simply beautiful. I want to see this continue especially against the teams they should beat. If it keeps going like this I might even be okay with a payday closer to his current asking price.
Especially important as I wrote about in my preview, the offense went 7/11 on 3rd downs. Staying on the field longer, leading to mistakes in coverage’s by the Redskins, and their defense looked tired in the second half. In the red zone, Dallas went 3/4.
Despite giving up 21 points the defense overall was much better this week. The Redskins only had 47 rushing yards. Definitely, a bend don’t break kind of a day. Penalties though were an issue, with two Redskins touchdown drives succeeding after penalties kept the drives alive. Keenum was pressured but only sacked once. Definitely an area they must improve on. No turnovers for the unit, something you know Kris Richard, and Rod Marinelli, will not be pleased with.
I was wrong about the need for a good start in each half. The crowd at Fed-Ex Field had a huge number of blue and white jerseys especially in the lower bowl. Cowboys Nation was very well represented on the day. The Coop chants after his catches were loud and clear. Overall this was a very good road game for the Cowboys. There was no panic after the rough start to the game at all.
The balanced attack and the poise showed on both sides of the football in a hostile environment shows me that a lot of these players have learned from last years road woes. 2-0 overall and within the division as well, a start that could pay off in an even bigger way if they add another divisional victory against the Eagles next month. You really get a sense following them that they are determined to be the first back to back NFC East champs since 2004.