Cowboys vs. Commanders score, takeaways: Cooper Rush wins third game in a row as Dallas topples Washington

The Cowboys are now one of the hottest teams in the NFL with Cooper Rush as their starting quarterback, winners of three consecutive games, after their 25-10 victory against the Washington Commanders in the comforts of AT&T Stadium. Rush became the first quarterback in franchise history to win each of his first four career starts after completing 15 of 27 passes for 223 passing yards and two touchdowns. 

The Cowboys have won eight straight games against NFC East teams dating to last season with today's win coming thanks to timely plays by wide receivers CeeDee Lamb (six receptions, 97 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown) and Michael Gallup in his first game back off of a torn ACL in his left knee (two catches, 24 receiving yards, one touchdown). Cornerback Trevon Diggs (three passes defended and one interception), chipped in as well on the defensive side. 

This game started slowly with five punts on the contest's first seven drives, but after the Cowboys took a 6-0 lead following Brett Maher's second of a career-high four made field goals, Carson Wentz (25 of 42, 170 passing yards, one passing touchdowns, and two interceptions), commanded the Washington offense down the field. He capped a seven-play, 65-yard drive with a perfectly placed over-the-shoulder pass to rookie Jahan Dotson, his fourth receiving touchdown in as many career games. Dallas proceeded to finish the game on a 19-3 run with Gallup's 9-yard receiving touchdown coming just before halftime, and Lamb's 30-yard walk-in receiving touchdown off a smooth double-move extending the lead to 22-10 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Rookie fifth-round draft pick DaRon Bland, playing his first defensive snaps of the season in Week 4, intercepted Wentz on a third-and-9 deep in Washington territory that set up Maher's final field goal from 29 yards out with just under four minutes left in the game. 

For a more detailed breakdown of how this game unfolded, check out our main takeaways.

Why the Cowboys won

What Rush did against the Washington Commanders on Sunday is what he has done in each of his four career starts for the Dallas Cowboys: Play steady, controlled football while limiting turnovers and finding his playmakers at the right time. 

He got Gallup, playing in his first game since Week 17 against the Arizona Cardinals last season, involved early by targeting the pass catcher on the first Dallas pass play of the game. Rush and Gallup showcased high-level chemistry on the Cowboys' first touchdown of the day. The quarterback sprinted toward the right sideline, and Gallup remained in line with Rush across the back line of the end zone, hauling in Rush's laser through the Commanders secondary to take a 12-7 lead into the break. Rush hit Lamb for a touchdown for the second straight game, this week on a wide-open toss for 30 yards after needing to place the ball perfectly in the back corner of the end zone on "Monday Night Football" against the Giants. Rush has yet to throw an interception this season and has been sacked only four times in three starts. Rush either gets the ball out to his intended target quickly or throws the ball away, managing the game the exact way head coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore have drawn it up. 

Even though the Cowboys defense pressured Wentz on just 17.8% of his dropbacks and recorded only two sacks as a team, the Cowboys secondary was glued to the Commanders pass catchers all afternoon, making Wentz work hard on every throw. Diggs is playing the best football of his career, either deflecting or intercepting all three of the passes in his vicinity when he was the intended target's primary defender. Outside of linebacker Micah Parsons and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence each not recording a sack, the defense played about as well as it could have. Only the most diehard of Cowboys fans could have predicted this team would win every game Prescott has missed this season with a fractured thumb. The Cowboys are now in the thick of the very early NFC playoff picture at 3-1. 

Why the Commanders lost

Everything seems hard right now on both sides of the ball of Washington. The Commanders receiving corps had difficulty separating from the Dallas secondary, leaving their defense in a spot where it needed to hold the Cowboys under 20 for a chance to win. A season-high 11 penalties didn't help either, including an ill-timed intentional grounding penalty by Wentz that killed a Commanders drive and resulted in a punt as well as an illegal contact flag that erased what would have been a Rush interception. Losers of three in a row, the Commanders have some soul-searching to do. 

Turning point

Midway through the second quarter and trailing 7-6, Rush uncorked a deep ball down the field toward receiver Noah Brown. However, the football was underthrown thanks to pressure applied by the Commanders defensive line, and second-year cornerback Benjamin St-Juste undercut the throw for what appeared to be Rush's first interception of 2022.  

However, an illegal contact penalty wiped away the turnover after St-Juste gave Brown a slight hug at the beginning of the play before the takeaway. That ended up being critical since it allowed the Cowboys to continue their drive, which concluded with their first touchdown of the game: Rush's scrambling scoring strike to Gallup with 1:04 remaining in the first half. Dallas took a 12-7 lead into the break, and Washington never got closer than five points throughout the rest of the game. 

Play of the game

Lamb's double-move on this post route was the kind of route running Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones expected to see from the former first-round pick when he decided to trade away the established Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for multiple late-round draft picks. The fluidity and ease of Lamb's cut upfield after gliding off the line of scrimmage are the natural qualities that make it easy to project the 23-year-old as their long-term, top wide receiver. The touchdown catch gives the third-year wideout consecutive games with a receiving touchdown for the first time since Weeks 5-6 of last season against the Giants and Patriots. 

The score extended the Cowboys' lead to 22-10, providing Dallas a double-digit lead it would not relinquish. 

What's next

From here, the Cowboys will head west for their first game of a coast-to-coast road trip, facing the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in Week 5. This could potentially be the game where Prescott returns under center. As for the Commanders, they'll return home to play host to Derrick Henry and the Titans.

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The Cowboys have won three in a row under fill-in starting quarterback Cooper Rush, securing a 25-10 home victory over the Washington Commanders behind Rush's two passing touchdowns. He is now the only quarterback in franchise history to win each of his first four career starts, the first coming last season in Week 8 at the Minnesota Vikings. Washington quarterback Carson Wentz and the rest of the Commanders offense could only muster one touchdown drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown toss to rookie Jahan Dotson. Dallas outscored Washington 19-3 the rest of the way to improve to 3-1 this season. The Commanders have now lost three in a row after their Week 1 home win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

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Trevon Diggs with another huge pass defended, three or four huge ones in key moments. A deflection to end multiple Washington drives plus an interception to conclude the first half. Diggs, a 1st-Team All-Pro a year ago, playing the best football of his young career at home today. Cowboys lead 25-10 at the two-minute warning. 

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Brett Maher has now tied his single-game career-high with four field goals today after his fourth from 29 yards out gives the Cowboys a 15-point advantage, 25-10, with just under four minutes left in the game. After a rocky couple seasons, it seems like Dallas has re-stabilized their kicker position with an old friend. 

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Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland, a fifth round pick in the 2022 draft, intercepts Carson Wentz on a key third-and-eight inside Washington territory to give Dallas the opportunity to go up 15 points or more with under five minutes left to play. 

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Commanders head coach Ron Rivera felt the need to go for it all on fourth down from the 16, trailing by 12, 22-10. Understandable since his offense hasn't shown an ability to sustain many drives today, but Wentz's heave wide receiver Terry McLaurin's way in the back left corner of the end zone was easily knocked away by Trevon Diggs. The failed conversion has seemingly stifled all momentum the Commanders appeared to have following the Cowboys' prior three-and-out.  Dallas leads 22-10 halfway through the fourth quarter. 

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The Cowboys' last possession couldn't have been scripted any better for the Commanders. Washington forces a three-and-out, and Dallas punter Bryan Anger shanked his punt from the Dallas end zone, allowing the Commanders to start on their opponent's 30. Exactly Washington needed to get back into this game, knocking on the door of the red zone. 

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The Commanders punt for the sixth time today after a four-play drive gains just 22 yards. This game feels like it could slip away from them with another Cowboys score. Dallas leads 22-10 with 12:35 left in the game and will take over on their own nine following the punt. 

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CeeDee Lamb leaves the Commanders defense in the dust off of a double-move, waltzing into the end zone for a 30-yard score. It's the first time Lamb has totaled consecutive games with a receiving touchdown since Weeks 5-6 last season in wins against the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Lamb allows Dallas to exhale a little as they now lead 22-10 to start the fourth quarter. 

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Commanders kick Joey Slye drains Washington's first field goal attempt of the season from 45 yards out, trimming the Cowboys lead to five, 15-10, with 1:27 left in the third quarter. Washington giving Dallas a nice fight this afternoon. 

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The Cowboys have taken four drives inside the Washington 40, but they have settled for field goals on three of them. This time, it's a 28-yard make for Brett Maher, who is now three-for-three today. Dallas leads 15-7 with 4:56 left in the third quarter. Washington's defense has held up for the most part with their backs against the wall this afternoon. 

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Seven-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time First-Team All-Pro guard Zack Martin limps off the field after his leg gets rolled up on by a teammate. Second-year player Matt Farniok replaces Martin on the Cowboys offensive line. 

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Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush comes out firing to start the drive, splitting two defenders deep and hitting wide receiver Noah Brown for 45 yards. Dallas already in the red zone looking for more breathing room. 

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After both teams combined for six punts in the first half, it's been more of the same to begin the third quarter with two punts from the Commanders and one by the Cowboys. Dallas getting set for their second possession of the half, still leading 12-7. 

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The 2021 season leader in interceptions, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs (11 in 2021), grabs his second interception of the season on a Carson Wentz deep ball down the left sideline intended for Jahan Dotson. Interceptions have been in key moments for Diggs this season, intercepting New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones to seal a Week 3 win, and now this one to ensure the Cowboys take the lead into the locker room at halftime. Dallas leads Washington 12-7 after 30 minutes of action with Michael Gallup's nine-yard touchdown catch, the Cowboys' only touchdown in the half, serving as the separator. 

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Cooper Rush showcases some mobility, scrambling toward the right sideline, before hitting Michael Gallup in the back right corner of the end zone for the first Dallas' touchdown of the day and Gallup's first since his 21-yard touchdown reception in Week 17 against the Cardinals last season when he injured his knee. However, the Cowboys celebration doesn't last long as a blocked PAT leaves the score at 12-7, Dallas in front with 1:04 remaining in the first half. 

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Michael Gallup, the Cowboys number two wide receiver who signed a five-year, $57.5 million extension this offseason, hauls in his first catch since tearing the ACL in his left knee back in Week 17 last season for 15 yards and a first down. A likely huge sigh of relief for the 26-year-old and the Cowboys organization.  

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An illegal contact penalty wipes away a Cooper Rush interception after Commanders cornerback Benjamin St-Juste gives Cowboys wide receiver Noah Brown a slight hug before picking off Rush. It was a correct call, and it could end up being a decisive play in today's game.  

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Commanders' rookie wideout Jahan Dotson hauls in his fourth career touchdown reception in as career games on an over-the-shoulder pass from Carson Wentz. Dotson displayed some nice wiggle before cutting up and out to the back corner of the end zone. The Commanders lead 7-6 with 7:05 left in the half. 

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Washington going up-tempo after running back J.D. McKissic's 33-yard run, looking to capitalize on their first red zone drive in the first half since Week 2.

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Defensive bout developing at Jerry World as the Cowboys go three and out for the second time in their first four possessions. The furthest Washington has advanced is the Dallas 45. Cowboys lead 6-0 thanks to two Brett Maher field goals. Commanders taking over on their own 35 with 10:40 remaining in the first half.  

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The Commanders once again trip themselves up, this drive with an intentional ground penalty after Carson Wentz was pressured by Micah Parsons. Washington gains 42 yards on the seven-play possession (had 23 total yards on their first two drives), but they once again have to punt the ball back to Cooper Rush and the Cowboys offense. 6-0 Cowboys with 11:33 remaining in the first half. 

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Washington running back Jonathan Williams rips off an 18-yard gain to get the Commanders into Dallas territory. Washington is still looking for their first red trip in the first half since the start of Week 2. Maybe this is the drive it happens. 

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Maher drains the 45-yard field goal, Dallas leads 6-0 with 14:56 remaining in the first half. CeeDee Lamb hauled in all three of his targets for 56 yards on the drive, a nice start after his career-high three drops a week ago at the New York Giants. Nice showing by the Commanders defense to hold when the Cowboys advance to their side of the field.

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A quick first quarter comes to an end in Arlington, TX with the Dallas Cowboys leading the Washington Commanders 3-0. The Cowboys have a chance to double their lead with another Brett Maher field goal since they're facing a fourth-and-six from the Washington 27. Dallas out-gained Washington in the first quarter 101-23 in total yards. The Commanders having been the worst first-half team in the NFL across the last two weeks. 

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Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore dialing up back-to-back pass plays that end up with CeeDee Lamb gaining over 15 yards with each catch for consecutive first downs. Moore continuing to show faith in his WR 1 after the big drop last week on Monday Night Football. 

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Cooper Rush may have had a first down if he tucked the ball and scrambled, needing on three yards to gain. Commanders successfully collapsed the pocket around him, led by defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, who records the sack. Through three drives, each team's defense has held their own. 

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Cowboys defensive tackle Neville Gallimore's first sack of the season derails the Commanders' opening drive, pushing them back into third and 21. Dallas linebacker Micah Parsons was lined up on the edge as Gallimore burst right through the heart of the Washington offensive line. More Cowboys pressure forces a Wentz throw into the turf on third down, Commanders forced to punt. So far, the Dallas defensive front is generating the level of pressure expected from the team that entered Week 4 with the most sacks in the NFL (13). 

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Two consecutive runs by Antonio Gibson and then a dump down pass to Gibson from Carson Wentz to start the Commanders' first possession. Washington showing they want to get their quarterback into rhythm via the run and quick passes a week after Wentz was sacked a career-high nine times against the Eagles in Week 3.

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Brett Maher drains his 14th career made field goal of 50 or more yards, he's four for five on those kicks this season. Maher entered this week with 13 in his career, tied for the 11th-most in the NFL since 2018 when he made his Cowboys debut. Dallas leads 3-0 early after the game's first possession. Carson Wentz and Washington taking the field for their first drive. 

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Cooper Rush has shown a high level of composure in each start this season including that the pass for 31 yards to Ezekiel Elliott. He goes through his reads, sees nothing open downfield, and hits the checkdown for what becomes a huge gain after the catch. It sounds simple, but Rush is operating in a way that many teams would like to see out of their quarterbacks. 

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