After showing some progress the past few weeks, the Dallas Cowboys defense came crashing back to earth.
3 – The number of 3rd downs the Dallas Cowboys defense forced on Washington’s second drive of the game.
The only problem is that Washington only needed to convert one of them to score a touchdown.
On 3rd and 4 from the Dallas 30 Alex Smith threw incomplete, but Rashard Robinson was flagged for defensive holding: 5 yards and an automatic 1st down to the Dallas 25.
Facing 3rd and 5 from the Dallas 20 Alex Smith again threw incomplete, but Jourdan Lewis was flagged for illegal contact: 5 yards and an automatic 1st down to the Dallas 15. 4 plays and 15 yards later Washington took the lead.
Now, the second penalty can really be argued because it seemed that Jourdan Lewis was penalized for a broken play when Terry McLaurin ran into him on a scramble drill. Lewis seemed to be standing still holding his ground when McLaurin decided to change direction and run right into Lewis. How this is a penalty is beyond me. It must be really frustrating for to play defensive back in the NFL right now.
1 – The number of multi-sack games Randy Gregory has in his career.
The game was this one. Gregory has only played 5 games this season, but he has been playing really well, which is great for him and the team. However, his playing time has been questionable. In this game he only played on 29 snaps which was 42% of the snaps. Last week against the Vikings he only played 16 snaps which was only 25% of the snaps.
This is curious given his production. So below is a blind player test showing the statistics and rates of quarterback pressures and sacks in the last 5 games (the only games Gregory has played) and 2 other Dallas Cowboys defenders:
|7 (5.7%)||12 (5.5%)||3 (1.3%)|
|2 (1.6%)||3.5 (1.6%)||1 (0.4%)|
Player A is Randy Gregory
Player B is DeMarcus Lawrence
Player C is Aldon Smith
Gregory is playing about as well as DeMarcus Lawrence based just on a pass rush rate statistic, and is way outplaying Aldon Smith over the past 5 games. Smith has actually received more defensive snaps (234) over the past 5 games than DeMarcus Lawrence (220). Meanwhile Gregory has only played 122 during his 5 games.
Perhaps this is simply a conditioning issue after he has been out of football for awhile, or maybe he is playing the run much worse than I realize, but it seems on the surface Gregory needs to be on the field as often as possible.
21/23 – The touchdowns allowed by the Dallas Cowboys defense on goal-to-go opportunities on season.
The defense gave up 2 touchdowns on 3 such opportunities for Washington this game.
On Washington’s 2nd possession they managed to get a 1st and goal from the 10-yard line, but Dallas was able to hold them to a field goal.
The only other time the Cowboys did not allow a touchdown on a goal-to-go situation was also against Washington in their first meeting. Kyle Allen got Washington to a 1st and goal from the Dallas 5, but was unable to punch it in from the 1-yard line on fourth down.
Dallas has redzone issues on both sides of the ball this season. When an offense gets inside the Dallas 20, a touchdown is most likely coming. When Dallas enters the opposing 20, a field goal is the most likely outcome.
0:12 – the COMBINED time it took Washington to score TWO touchdowns in the fourth quarter. These two touchdowns sandwiched their 76-yard, nearly 6-minute touchdown drive.
It took only 6 seconds for Washington to move the ball 23 yards for a touchdown 1 play after Dallas’ disastrous fake punt.
Dallas punted to Washington on their following drive after only managing to move the ball 9 yards. Washington marched the length of the field in 5 minutes and 50 seconds to make it an 18-point game.
Seven seconds after that back-breaking touchdown drive it was a 25-point deficit when Andy Dalton threw the ball right at a leaping Montez Sweat who intercepted the pass and took it 15 yards for a touchdown.
We may need to come to terms with the fact that the team without a name is better than the current version of the Dallas Cowboys.
7 – Number of seasons since Washington has swept the Dallas Cowboys in the season series.
The last time this Football Team was able to accomplish this feat was 2012 when they also beat the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. That was the day when RG3 threw for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns. Lost in the memory of that game is that Tony Romo threw for 441 yard and 3 touchdowns.
The second loss came in the de-facto NFC East division play-in game where Tony Romo threw three interceptions and Dallas failed to capitalize on RG3 completing only 50% of his throws for 100 yards. This is because the Dallas defense gave up 274 rushing yards on 42 attempts (6.5 yards per rush).
66.67 – The Football Team’s winning percentage with Alex Smith starting.
More from Dallas Cowboys
- Dallas Cowboys Linebackers: 2023 Position Overview
- Ballhawk University: Why the Cowboys will be takeaway leaders
- Dallas Cowboys Player to Watch: Sleeper TE John Stephens, Jr.
- Dallas Cowboys: The impact of Micah Parsons and a well-rounded secondary
- Dallas Cowboys still unsure about their left guard position for 2023
We may need to conclude that Alex Smith makes Washington the Good Football Team. Before he got injured, Smith had Washington at a 6-3 record and first place in the NFC East. In between his starts the Football Team went 6-25, but are now 2-1 with him as starter.
That means over the past 3 seasons Washington wins 66.7% of their games with Alex Smith and only 19.3% of their games without him.
This defense seems legit, and Smith does just enough to let the offense sneak out wins. It seems this season at least, that Washington is the best team in the division as long as Alex Smith is starting. #2020
4 – The current Dallas Cowboys 2021 draft pick.
While Team Win-the-Division-With-6-Wins were frustrated after eating turkey, Team Tank had a good evening.