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Cowboys Season Ends with 34-23 Loss to Redskins

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Season Ends with 34-23 Loss to Redskins

It's finally over. The nightmare that has been the 2015 Dallas Cowboys season ended today with a 34-23 home loss to the NFC East champion Redskins.

Washington would strike first after three consecutive punts to start the game. Starting from their 49, it took just two plays for Kirk Cousins to find the end zone. First he connected with Jamison Crowder for 44 yards, before following it up with a touchdown pass to a wide-open Ryan Grant.

The Redskins would then turn a Kellen Moore interception into another touchdown as the Cowboys picked up their first, first down of the game before being forced into a third and long. Moore sailed a pass too far past Jason Witten, and Will Compton intercepted it with a return to the Dallas 43.

Three plays later, Pierre Garcon burnt Deji Olatoye for a bomb of a touchdown, and the Redskins led 14-0. The Cowboys would yet again turn it over on the next drive, as a big run by McFadden was followed by a fumbled snap and Redskins recovery.

Crowder would go in for Washington's third TD of the day, as they jumped ahead 21-0. The Cowboys would then avoid a turnover but still be forced to punt. It led to a long drive resulting in a Redskins field goal, as they went up 24-0 with just over eight minutes to play in the half.

Moore and the Cowboys would respond with their first points of the day on a nine play drive sparked by a fake punt to Jeff Heath. On the first series, Heath caught the direct snap and pushed through the middle to move the chains. Terrance Williams, who had a huge game when it mattered the least, picked up a 36-yard reception to set up first and goal.

Three plays later, Jason Witten was in for a touchdown on a play that required a challenge from Jason Garrett. After the review, Dallas trailed 24-7. They would add another touchdown before the half, as Colt McCoy replaced Cousins on the next drive and promptly went three and out.

Moore completed seven straight passes to march the Cowboys 86 yards and cut the Redskins lead to 10 with a strike to Cole Beasley for a touchdown.

However, this would be as close as the Cowboys would get. After the teams traded punts to open the second half, another clock-killing drive by Washington led to another field goal to extend the lead to 27-14. These would be the only points of the third quarter, as the Cowboys ran just seven plays on offense in the third.

Washington all but sealed the deal on the first play of the fourth, as a blown coverage allowed Rashad Ross to run uncontested downfield for a 71-yard score. Trailing now by 20, the Cowboys would appear to be driving on their way to answer with a touchdown.

The drive would end at the two-yard line though, as Moore was intercepted for the second time. Will Blackmon brought the ball back to the line of scrimmage, where the Redskins would have it backed up.

Alfred Morris would take a carry in the end zone, and the Cowboys defense swarmed to him - forcing a safety. With the score at 34-16, Dallas went back on offense at the 33. Darren McFadden appeared to have a touchdown on a third and ten toss, which would have been the first third-down conversion of the game for the Cowboys, but instead fumbled the ball into the end zone.

The resulting touchback was not only a microcosm of this lost season for the Cowboys, but it put the nail in the coffin for their 12th loss of the year. The Cowboys would force another punt, which did lead to Beasley's second TD of the day - and Moore's third - but that was as close as they got.

The 34-23 final sent the Redskins to the playoffs on the right side of momentum, ending the year at 9-7.

The Cowboys now look ahead to a long offseason full of decisions, as well as a high draft pick. If the Chargers defeat the Broncos, they will hold the third overall pick. If the Broncos will, they will still secure the fourth spot in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Season Ends with 34-23 Loss to Redskins" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

Game Notes

NFC East Showdown: Cowboys Offense Primed to Dominate Redskins

Brian Martin

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Will Dallas' Recent Offensive Success Continue Against Washington?

The Dallas Cowboys are probably as confident as they have been all season as an offense after completely manhandling the Jacksonville Jaguars defense last week. They were able to put up 40 points on the Jaguar's top-ranked defense and now have to do the same against their division rival, the Washington Redskins.

I don't think there would be any argument if I were to say the Washington Redskins defense isn't nearly as talented as the Cowboys faced last week with the Jaguars. In fact, the Redskins are ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every defensive category, which should have Dallas' offensive players primed for this matchup.

As things stand right now, the Washington Redskins are giving up 21.2 points per game which ranks 24th in the NFL. They are also giving up 344 total yards (25th in the NFL) and 227.2 passing yards a game (24th). The lone bright spot of their defense is stopping the run, where they are currently ranked 12th in the NFL and are only allowing 116.8 rushing yards to opposing running backs.

Luckily, the Dallas Cowboys and Quarterback Dak Prescott looked to have found a groove with their passing game last week against the Jaguars top-ranked passing defense. With the Redskins ranked near the bottom of the league in passing defense, I think the Cowboys should and probably will build upon the success they had last week.

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

Now, I fully expect the Cowboys passing game to find success once again against the Redskins, but I also believe Running Back Ezekiel Elliott to dominate on the ground like he has in the past against Washington.

Zeke only played in one game against the Redskins last season, but absolutely dominated in that contest. He rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns a year ago and I wouldn't be surprised if he is close to that milestone this week as well, even if it is against the strength of Washington's defense.

I'm really hoping I'm not a being a little overconfident here, but I guess I'm just buying into the success the Cowboys had on the offensive side of the ball last week. The offense finally started to do the things that have made them successful in the past and I'm expecting that to carry over into this week.

I believe we will see Prescott using his mobility once again, although I don't know if he will rush for 83 yards. I'm also expecting to see Wide Receiver Cole Beasley heavily involved in the passing game again because Washington doesn't have a defensive back who can cover him. Of course, let's not forget Ezekiel Elliott. I'm expecting him have a big game as well.

Overall, I really don't see the Washington Redskins defense giving the Dallas Cowboys any problems on the offensive side of the ball as long as they execute the way they did last week. I know when these two teams square off against one another it's usually a slobber knocker, but I think the Cowboys are the better team and is the one that comes away with the victory.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys offense will dominate the Redskins defense?



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Game Notes

Can Dak Prescott Continue His Washington Domination On Sunday?

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott, Redskins

There has been a lot of change within the Dallas Cowboys since 2016.

Veteran playmakers like Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are no longer around, Tony Romo lost his starting quarterback job, and Dallas has jumped from league best to worst to average seemingly every week.

One thing hasn't changed these past two years, however, and that is the Cowboys beating the Washington Redskins. In fact, since Dak Prescott took over as the starting quarterback in Dallas the Cowboys are 4-0 against Washington. Even as the sky was falling in Dallas a year ago, and the Cowboys offense looked like the worst in football, they still found a way to dominate Washington 38-14 and snap their then-three game losing streak.

In his four career games against Washington, Dak Prescott has quarterback ratings of 103.7, 108.9, 82.2, and 93.4. To put this into context, Prescott's average quarterback rating this season is 85.5 and that is really driven by his outlier positive rating of 118.6 against the Detroit Lions. To be fair, however, his 54.5 rating against Seattle was also a heavy outlier.

Prescott isn't the only Cowboy who has exercised this dominance over Washington, though. As Staff Writer John Williams has pointed out, Jason Garrett is 11-4 against the Redskins since becoming the Cowboys head coach, and Dallas has won six of their last eight against Washington since 2014.

So heading into Sunday's rematch with their division foe, history says the Cowboys should be feeling rather confident, right?

Well there's another streak occurring the Cowboys will actually be looking to break on Sunday. That, of course, is their winless start on the road this season.

Ironically the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys have actually been a good road team until now, going a combined 12-4 the past two seasons. And, since the new stadium opened in 2009, the Cowboys have been historically better on the road than at home, making this year's 3-3 start even more bizarre.

To put it simply, "somethings gotta give" on Sunday. Either Dak Prescott and the Cowboys will continue to beat up on the Redskins and get a leg up in the NFC East, or this horrendous road start will continue for another week.

Either way, I'm sure the takes will be hot on Monday morning.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Defense Getting Players Back at the Right Time

John Williams

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Could Any of These 3 Cowboys Disappoint Cowboys Nation in 2017?

The Dallas Cowboys have played really well on defense this season allowing the seventh fewest rushing yards per game, the third lowest yards per carry, and the eighth fewest passing yards per game this season. They've done it for most of the 2018 season without Defensive Tackles Maliek Collins and David Irving, and Linebacker Sean Lee, who's missed the last three games with a strained hamstring.

This week the Cowboys play the NFC East leading Washington Redskins, making this a very important matchup for the Cowboys playoff chances. The Dallas Cowboys are 2-2 in the NFC in 2018, so a win against the Washington Redskins on Sunday carries much more importance. If the Cowboys have hopes of making the playoffs, they're going to have to improve their record against the NFC and they can on Sunday with their defense getting back to (nearly) full health.

Still awaiting word on Chidobe Awuzie's availability for this week.

Antwaun Woods, Tyrone Crawford, and David Ross have held up really well on the Cowboys defensive interior without Irving and Collins, which makes their return even more important. Better depth along the defensive interior is only going to help those guys have more productive snaps. Both Collins and Irving are explosive penetrating defensive tackles that give interior offensive lineman fits with their combination of strength and quickness. They play the run and pass with equal effectiveness and make life a lot easier for the linebackers and the defensive ends.

In their first game back in week six, Irving and Collins combined for two quarterback pressures, a quarterback hit (Irving) and a sack (Collins). Irving also drew a holding call on a punt.

Getting them back takes so much pressure off the defensive ends to generate pressure in passing situations. With better pressure from the interior of the defense, DeMarcus Lawrence and the other defensive ends will have better opportunities for sacks because opposing quarterbacks won't be able to step up in the pocket with as much ease as they have through the first five games of the season.

The linebacker duo of Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch have been one of the best position groups for the Cowboys this season. As good as they've been, Sean Lee is still one of the better linebackers in the NFL. Though he's leading the Cowboys in solo tackles with 43, Leighton Vander Esch probably sees a decrease in his snaps with Lee returning. They'll all play, however, and the Cowboys will look for ways to have them all on the field together.

Getting Lee, Irving, and Collins on the field at the same time with the defensive parts that the Cowboys already boast in Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Byron Jones is going to make playing offense nearly impossible.

How do you attack these guys?

The Washington Redskins rank in the bottom third in passing yards, yards per attempt, and are 18th in the NFL in passer rating. Washington ranks in the top half of the league in rushing yards per game, but rank 23rd in yards per attempt.

If there's an area where the Dallas Cowboys defense has been susceptible this season it's against the pass and having all of their best defensive players available for this week seven NFC East matchup is going to make all the difference. They'll be able to generate pressure with fewer blitzes because of the ability of Irving and Collins to generate pressure from the interior.

Though the Redskins have had some success on the ground in 2018, it's going to be tough sledding for Adrian Peterson and the Redskins run game. Lee, Vander Esch, and Smith all play the run extremely well and with the improved talent at defensive tackle, Peterson is going to find very few open lanes against the Dallas Cowboys defense.

The elite defense that we imagined this team could be may be right around the corner. Having everyone healthy and on the field together as the Dallas Cowboys get ready for the stretch run of the NFL season is huge.

Get ready NFL. Points are going to be really hard to come by.



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