Another week, another matchup wherein the Dallas Cowboys couldn't get out of their own way, leading to a 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team when Dallas could least afford one. After getting a huge opening-drive halt on fourth-and-1 to shut down a likely scoring drive by the Washington Football Team, tight end Dalton Schultz became a turnstile in pass protection and allowed Landon Collins to blow past him en route to a strip sack on Andy Dalton. Schultz recovered the fumble, stumbled into the end zone and Washington took the lead with a safety.
From there, things got much uglier for the Cowboys, who couldn't stop the run or the pass, and couldn't get anything going on offense. To make matters worse, Dalton left the game with a concussion following an illegal hit that also puts his availability for Week 8 in question. The helmet-to-helmet shot got Jon Bostic ejected and thrust Cowboys backup Ben DiNucci into the mix, where he was treated to the same shellacking as Dalton before him.
Both QBs were under siege behind an injury-ravaged offensive line, and Ezekiel Elliott couldn't get going either -- mostly due to the same O-line issues. With Washington's Antonio Gibson running wild, Kyle Allen making timely throws and Dak Prescott not running out of the locker room to save them, the Cowboys put another embarrassing outing on film.
And for the second straight week.
Why Washington won
Pressure can make diamonds, but it can also burst pipes, and the Cowboys are no gemstones.
Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio knew they could pin their ears back early and send the wolves at Andy Dalton, considering the absence of Tyron Smith, La'El Collins, Joe Looney and Zack Martin. Fielding arguably the best defensive line in football, it was a huge task for the Cowboys to slow down the Washington front, and they failed miserably. Dalton was sacked three times and hit six times total before an illegal hit by Bostic knocked him out of the game with a concussion. Things didn't get any easier for backup and rookie seventh-round pick DiNucci, who himself got sacked on his first drive.
Not only did Washington dominate defensively, they owned the game offensively as well, both on the ground and in the air. After having had no rushers exceed 60 rushing yards through six games, they mauled the Cowboys for a total of 208 yards on the ground -- led by rookie Antonio Gibson (128 yards, 1 TD on 20 carries). From there, Kyle Allen did the rest, blowing the game open with two passing touchdowns in the first half and putting the Cowboys in a hole they were never in position to climb out of.
This was an absolute beatdown, both literally and figuratively speaking.
Why the Cowboys lost
Granted, there wasn't much the Cowboys could do about being forced to field an injury-ravaged offensive line, but the fact Dalton continues to hold the ball longer than he should only exacerbates the protection issues. So did Dalton Schultz, for that matter, after dressing up as a turnstile for Halloween and allowing Landon Collins to blow past and get a strip sack on Andy Dalton in the first quarter, only to then recover the fumble and give up a safety -- as noted above. The Cowboys had great momentum when their beleaguered defense got a stop on fourth-and-1, but 12 real life minutes later, Washington had jumped on them with a score of 9-0.
That stole whatever small amount of heart the Cowboys might've had when they walked into FedEx Field, and there was no sign of a pulse from that point forward. By the time Allen connected with Terry McLaurin for a 52-yard touchdown and then with Logan Thomas for another -- when Jaylon Smith was just indecisive enough to get posterized -- you could smell the rigor mortis setting in for Dallas.
Now sitting at 2-5 on the season and mostly in shambles due to injuries, scheme issues, lack of execution, and anything else you can name -- they're looking more and more like a cold John Doe waiting to be identified.
Down 22-3, the Cowboys were threatening to score before starting the second half with possession. This would've turned the tide in their favor, but they instead drowned beneath it, when a poor pass from Dalton flew off of Elliott's hands and into those of Cole Holcomb -- who had both an interception and a sack on the day.
This was an early nail in the Cowboys coffin.
Play of the Game
Two words: Terry McLaurin.
The Cowboys are a snoozefest
"These guys are putting me to sleep." - Mike Leslie of WFAA Channel 8 in Dallas
The Cowboys take a two-game losing streak into another important divisional match, this time against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, while Washington heads into a restful bye week.
Catch all the highlights and action from you might've missed in the live blog below.