ARLINGTON, Texas – Plenty of storylines to go around with this game. Cooper Rush is now 4-0 as a starter and 3-0 this year since Dak's injury. Michael Gallup had a smashing season debut with a touchdown catch and three penalties forced.
But there were other plays that led to this 25-10 Cowboys win.
Here are five hidden plays that changed the outcome of this game.
Washington's first Intentional grounding – The Commanders were down 6-0 in the second quarter and on the move to get on the board. But on first down at the Dallas' 44, pressure by Micah Parsons and Israel Mukuamu forced an intentional grounding penalty on Carson Wentz. That pushed it back to second-and-22 and the Commanders eventually had to punt, stalling the drive.
Illegal contact wipes out INT – Leading 7-6, Washington appeared to get the ball back again with an interception by Benjamin St.-Juste near midfield. But an illegal contact penalty on St.-Juste at the line of scrimmage wiped out the pick. Instead, the Cowboys kept the ball and drove the rest of the way for a go-ahead touchdown.
Intentional Grounding ... Again – Perhaps the biggest play of this game occurred late in the third quarter with Dallas leading 15-7 but the Commanders driving with a second-and-8 at the Cowboys' 17. Carson Wentz was rushed and lofted a pass from the pocket that went out of bounds. The officials ruled that no player was actually close to the area of the ball, resulting in an intentional grounding flag that made it third-and-22 from the 31. The Commanders had to settle for a field goal and a 15-10 deficit.
Another pick negated by a flag – Early in the third quarter, the Cowboys were pinned back near their goal line again and Cooper Rush was picked off on the sideline. But this time, Washington was flagged for defensive holding. The Commanders were going to have the ball at the Cowboys' 30 but Dallas kept the ball and punted to the Washington 39.
Cowboys survive short punt – After an uncharacteristically poor punt by Bryan Anger of just 22 yards, the Cowboys defense went out on the field with Washington at the 30-yard line. But despite allowing one first down, the defense got a big sack on third down at the 10 by Dante Fowler. That set up a fourth-down play from the 15, resulting in Trevon Diggs' pass deflection in the end zone.