FRISCO, Texas – It’s much more fun reviewing my game notes when the Cowboys manage to get a win – especially a lopsided win within the division.
A lot of stuff has to go right if you’re going to beat a divisional rival by 24 points, so let’s get right into how this game shook out:
- I can’t say enough about the coverage on the initial sack by DeMarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys went with their dime package and got a matchup where they had three defenders against two Redskins receivers on the outside -- on both sides of the field. By the time Kirk Cousins looked from his left to his right, it was too late. Lawrence was right on top of him for the sack.
- I thought the play that got the Cowboys offense going was the third down scramble by Dak Prescott for 13 yards and a first down. What made the play work was that pre-snap, there was a great deal of confusion by the Redskins defensively. There were five defenders to the left of Travis Frederick with only two to his right. Once Prescott made his read down the field, there was natural space for him to take the ball up the middle of the field once Zack Martin and La’el Collins were able to pin their guys to the outside.
- The Cowboys caught a huge break on the Jeff Heath interception when Jamison Crowder took a peek up the field to see Jaylon Smith closing on him. Crowder had Xavier Woods beat cleanly on the route, and if Smith had not been in the position he was in, Crowder would’ve caught that ball for a first down and had the Redskins at the goal line for a chance to take an early lead.
- It was good to see Cole Beasley have a nice catch and draw a pass interference call on Kendall Fuller. Beasley made such a sharp move to the inside that it forced Fuller to have to grab the back of his jersey to pull himself in position to make a play on the ball. Even with the tug, Dak Prescott put the ball in a great spot to allow Beasley to come up with the catch.
- Taco Charlton was able to take advantage of Samaje Perine getting in the way of Ty Nsekhe to get around corner and record a sack. Perine was confused where he needed to fit on the protection, and, instead of staying wide to the outside, ran right into the back of Nsekhe and it created a natural pick for Charlton. With his blockers out of the way, he was able to capture Kirk Cousins -- who had slid toward his right and into Charlton’s path.
- Really smart play by David Irving to mirror Kirk Cousins in order to get a hand on the pass that was intercepted by Anthony Brown. Irving was facing a double-team block by Tony Bergstorm and Brandon Scherff, so he was stuck along the line of scrimmage. Instead of trying to fight the blocks, he worked along the line of scrimmage, reading Cousins’ eyes. Once Cousins loaded up to fire the ball down the middle of the field, he timed his jump and was able to get his right hand on the ball. The deflected pass ended up right in Brown’s stomach, as the young corner was in perfect position to make the play.
- I’d like to know, on the David Irving sack, why he and Tyrone Crawford decided to switch positions? Crawford rushed from the inside while Irving came from the outside. Crawford and Irving ran a twist stunt to their side, while Maliek Collins and DeMarcus Lawrence went on a straight rush. It might have been Crawford’s call feeling like he could get enough penetration to allow Irving to have a free run at Cousins -- which he did.
- Not many receivers have three targets against Josh Norman and come away with receptions, but Terrance Williams did. Heck of a route on third down by Williams to shake loose from Norman with the offense needing a clutch play. Williams kept fighting up the field and was able to get Norman off balance just enough to break back to the inside. Dak Prescott made a gutsy throw with the pocket closing down around him. Prescott put the ball right between the 8 and the 3 on Williams’ jersey and he was able to do the rest.
- I believe the reason that Dez Bryant was able to catch the touchdown over the top of Bashaud Breeland was due in large part to the release that he got off the line. Bryant got by Breeland so cleanly that Breeland had no choice but to interfere with him. With Bryant clear, he didn’t have to fight during the route in order to get himself in position to make the catch. Once he was in position, all he had to do was locate the ball and make the play.
- If Maliek Collins doesn’t stumble chasing Kirk Cousins, I don’t believe he makes that throw to Jamison Crowder for 33 yards. Tony Bergstorm got just enough of Collins with a push that he lost his balance, which allowed Cousins two or three extra steps to get the ball off before Collins could get there.
- Kavon Frazier has had his share of defensive snaps where he didn’t tackle well, but this wasn’t one of those nights. Tremendous job by him overall and one of his big plays was the space tackle that he made on Samaje Perine on the crack toss for a loss of three. Frazier played the play perfectly by splitting the blocks of Trent Williams and Arie Kouandijo and wrapping up Perine before he had the opportunity to get his momentum going downhill. It initially looked like the play had a chance but Frazier snuffed it out well.
- I might be wrong about this, but I’ll throw it out there -- I believe the last time that Kyle Wilber caused a fumble on special teams was Minnesota last year? Which was on a Thursday Night and a Color Rush game, as well. Wilber did a fine job of avoiding the block of Joshua Holsey to put himself in position to make the play. Give a tip of the cap to L.P. LaDouceur, who outfought Josh Harvey-Clemons for the ball once it hit the turf.