LANDOVER, Md. – Before the game even started, we were talking about predictions and then benches and anything else to pump up some excitement for this divisional matchup.
When the game finally kicked off, the Cowboys dominated the first half and held on for a big road win in the second, thanks to a steady dose of defense.
Of course, there are always a few plays that can go unnoticed but still play a factor in the game. Here are a handful from Sunday's win at FedEx Field.
Dropped pick on first drive – The Cowboys were looking to score on their first drive as Dak Prescott led the offense into Washington territory. But on a first down from the WFT 42-yard line, Prescott miscommunicated with his receivers and errantly threw a pass to the left side that was nearly picked off by Washington cornerback Kendall Fuller, who dropped the ball in the open field. The Cowboys were able to continue the drive with another first down and eventually made a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. But a pick thrown by Prescott on the first drive could've changed the entire sequence.
Defense answers after Dak's INT – The Cowboys had a 3-0 lead but Prescott threw an interception over the middle to Landon Collins, giving WFT the ball at the Dallas 37-yard line. But on the next two plays, the Cowboys defense stiffened, stuffing a first-down run, followed by an incomplete pass. On third down, Randy Gregory made a ridiculous interception to give the ball right back to Dallas, who went on to score. But it was those first two plays on defense that put WFT behind the chains.
5-point offside penalty – The Cowboys had a third-and-10 from the 12-yard line late in the first quarter. A short 7-yard pass to Amari Cooper seemed to lead to a field goal but WFT was flagged for offsides. Taking the penalty to set up third-and-5, the Cowboys went back to Cooper, who got free in the end zone for a touchdown. With a 2-point conversion to follow, that penalty changed the game from 6-0 Dallas to an 11-0 lead.
CeeDee's first down – The Cowboys led 18-0 in the second quarter, but were pinned back with a third-and-10 from their own 20 with momentum starting to slowly shift towards Washington, especially if they got the ball back close to midfield. But a short pass to CeeDee Lamb resulted in a few missed tackles and a 12-yard gain. The Cowboys kept the drive going and extended the lead with a field goal to go up 21-0.
Cowboys' mini goal-line stand – The defense didn't exactly keep Washington from scoring late in the game, but holding them on the first three downs proved to be beneficial. Washington nearly scored on a run to the 3-yard line with 6:50 to play. But the Cowboys were able to stop them on second and third down and by the time WFT finally scored, there was only 5:12 on the clock. That 90 seconds would've been good for Washington as the Cowboys were able to run out the clock in the final two minutes.
Missed deep pass to Carter – In the fourth quarter, with Washington now down by a touchdown, a deep ball to receiver DeAndre Carter nearly connected that would've changed the game. But the second-and-3 pass fell incomplete, setting up a third down pass that ended up being Washington's last offensive play. A sack and fumble by Gregory gave the ball back to Dallas, but it could've been different with that deep ball.