Believe it or not, many Cowboys fans came into this Thanksgiving matchup with Washington with a sliver of hope.
Hope that they could cobble together enough competent quarterback play to remain competitive this season, and potentially earn an NFC East crown. Hope that at the very least, this team would be well coached, looking like they had turned a corner last week in Minnesota.
Tonight, however, we saw the same 2020 Cowboys we’ve seen since Dak Prescott’s injury.
Despite a strong start offensively and a quick 10-7 lead, injuries quickly compromised an already banged up offensive line. Without starters Zack Martin and Cameron Erving, Dallas fell back into some more conservative play calling than we saw earlier in the game.
Just when the game looked to be slipping away in the third quarter, Aldon Smith got to Alex Smith to force a bad pass. Jaylon Smith was in the right place at the right time, intercepting the ball and setting the offense up with a first and goal from the four yard line. Dallas actually lost yardage on first and second goal, before CeeDee Lamb dropped a potential touchdown on third down. They had to settle for a field goal, and would never see a scoring opportunity again.
The big stories from this loss will be that play calling sequence after the interception, and a head-scratching fake punt on fourth and long the next possession. Dallas gave this game away in the second half, and let Antonio Gibson run for 115 yards and three touchdowns, while their franchise back fumbled the ball away in his own territory.
Overall the Cowboys looked lost during the second half, and ultimately fell to Washington 41-16. Now at 3-8 on the season, it’s tough to imagine the Cowboys fighting back into the divisional race.
The Cowboys will travel to Baltimore to face the 6-5 Ravens next Thursday.