LANDOVER, Md. – The Cowboys picked up their 12th win of the season, improved to 8-0 on the road and reached several individual milestones in the process.
There were some big plays by both teams, but all games have those hidden plays that can be forgotten, but ended up playing a huge factor in the outcome. Here are five that changed this game:
Short rollout to Williams – On the Cowboys first drive of the game, Romo used the play-action to roll out for a comeback route to Terrance Williams, who hauled in a 14-yard completion. With the Redskins gearing up to stop the run, that type of play helped soften their run fronts for most of the game. It also established Williams on one side, freeing up Dez Bryant, who had two first-quarter touchdowns.
Near pick could've been disastrous – On the first drive of the game, Romo's pass over the middle was nearly intercepted by Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson, who had a lot of green in front of him and might have scored. Instead, he dropped the ball on third down, allowing the Cowboys to kick a field goal and take a 3-0 lead.
Morris stuffed on first down – The Cowboys had just grabbed a 17-7 lead to seize the momentum but Washington was ready to answer. On first down, Alfred Morris was stopped for a two-yard loss, putting the Redskins behind the sticks. Two plays later, it was time to punt again. The Cowboys were able to take that next possession and add a field goal to their lead. Keeping the Redskins somewhat one-dimensional allowed the Cowboys to keep Griffin in the pocket, forcing him to throw more than he wanted.
Illegal use of hands extends drive – The Cowboys led 17-7 but appeared to have a stalled drive when Romo's pass to Dez Bryant fell incomplete. Bryant was hoping for a pass interference call but instead, the Cowboys were
bailed out on an illegal use of hands foul on Redskins' DB Bashaud Breeland. The penalty kept the offense on the field and just five plays later, Murray scored to give the Cowboys a 24-7 lead.
Carter snatches another pass – As much as Bruce Carter gets criticized for not living up to draft expectations, the linebacker picked off his fourth pass of the year late in the third quarter, stalling a promising Redskins drive. The Cowboys led 27-10 but Washington had a fourth-and-1 at the Cowboys 8 when Robert Griffin fired a pass over the middle. But Carter read the play from the start and rose up for the pick, his fourth of the year to lead the team outright. Carter's return to the Cowboys' 40 all but sealed the win for Dallas. However, Carter eventually got his fifth pick early in the fourth quarter with the Redskins driving again.