*ARLINGTON, Texas *– Ryan Switzer’s 83-yard punt return for a score might have been the highlight of the game, but it was the timing of the play that can be overlooked.
All games have those plays that can get lost in the shuffle, but still play a huge part in the final outcome. Check out the five from this game that turned the tide.
*Hitchens’ Tackle for Loss Sets Up Pick – *Midway through the first quarter, it appeared as if the Redskins were on the move to score the first points. A first down at the Cowboys’ 15-yard line had the Redskins in business until Anthony Hitchens made a tackle for a 1-yard loss. While it only set up a second-and-11, it was the third rushing attempt of the drive, all of which totaled minus-2 yards. So it forced the Redskins to take to the air to try and move the chains. On second down, the pass went off Jamison Crowder and into the hands of Jeff Heath for an interception that kept the game scoreless.
Frazier Downs Punt at Redskins’ 1 – Kavon Frazier was all over the field, especially on defense where he rotated snaps with Byron Jones. But he’s consistently been the Cowboys’ best special teams player and he had another big play Friday, downing a first-quarter punt at the 1-yard line. The Redskins couldn’t get a first down and their next punt gave the Cowboys favorable field position at their own 45. From there, the offense did the rest and punched it in for a touchdown early in the second quarter. But the downed punt by Chris Jones and Frazier tilted the field in the Cowboys’ direction.
Switzer’s Punt Return Bought Time – Usually, an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown that breaks the game wide open is nowhere close to this list, which is reserved for the hidden plays you might forget. But there was something else rather beneficial for the Cowboys about Ryan Switzer’s 83-yard punt return score in the second quarter. One player who didn’t see it live was Dak Prescott, who was in the locker room getting his right hand examined after taking a hit from a helmet. Had Switzer not scored, the Cowboys likely would’ve had to play with backup quarterback Cooper Rush for a series and a 10-0 lead. Instead, the Cowboys bought some time, and once the offense went back on the field, Dak was in the lineup again.
Frazier Turns Back Redskins Once Again – The third quarter has been the Cowboys’ Achilles’ heel all season and with Washington driving again, looking to trim into the 17-7 lead, they had the ball near midfield. But on second-and-5 from the Cowboys’ 49-yard line, Frazier darted through the line to stop Semaje Perine for a 3-yard loss. On third down, Cousins threw an incomplete pass and the Redskins had to punt. That tackle for loss again set the Redskins on their heels.
Four Straight Morris Runs – The Redskins had just scored to cut Dallas’ lead to 24-14 with 11:28 to play in the game. The game was still in doubt and the momentum was leaning Washington’s way. And with the Cowboys quarterback dealing with an injured right hand, the running game went to work. So it’s not just one play for this list, but four. The Cowboys took over at the 25-yard line and handed the ball off to Alfred Morris on four straight carries, totaling 9, 6, 15 and 11 yards. That put the ball deep in Washington territory, and from there, the offense scored to put the game away. But it’s that type of running that has been the staple of this team. Even without Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys found a way to “run” out the clock.