Rookie running back Antonio Gibson capped Washington’s ensuing drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to give the home team a 9-0 lead with 3:48 remaining in the first quarter. The rout — against a historically porous Dallas defense — was on. Washington took a 22-3 lead into halftime, as the Cowboys became the first team to allow at least 20 points in the first half of six straight games. They did so against a Washington offense that hadn’t eclipsed 20 points in a game since the season opener. The second half was a formality, and Washington finished the day with a 397-142 advantage in total yards.
Antonio Gibson leads strong rushing attack: Washington came into Sunday averaging 82 rushing yards per game, the fewest in the NFL through six weeks. The team eclipsed that total on its first two drives against the Cowboys. Gibson finished with a career-high 128 yards on 20 carries, including 94 in the first half. Forty of those yards came on a single play on Washington’s opening drive, the team’s longest run of the season. Gibson’s previous career high was 55 yards rushing in Week 2 at the Arizona Cardinals.
J.D. McKissic had five carries for 35 yards as part of Washington’s 208-yard rushing attack, which was even more impressive given that left tackle Geron Christian Sr. was inactive with a knee injury. Allen even got in on the act, scrambling for 13 yards on third and nine to extend a drive that culminated in a touchdown in the second quarter. Dallas’s defense is allowing 178 yards rushing per game through seven weeks.
Kyle Allen looks comfortable: Perhaps in part because of Washington’s effectiveness running the ball, Allen took more shots and had more success throwing the ball downfield than in his previous two starts. In the second quarter, he connected with McLaurin on a 52-yard touchdown after the second-year wideout burned Dallas rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs. Allen, who also had a 26-yard completion to tight end Logan Thomas and a 22-yard completion to wide receiver Cam Sims, finished 15 of 25 for 194 yards and two touchdowns.
Most importantly, Allen took care of the ball after he committed two costly turnovers in last week’s loss to the New York Giants. He got away with an ill-advised pass that he threw up for the grabs in the end zone early in the fourth quarter but otherwise made good decisions and spread the ball around. Allen had thrown eight interceptions over his previous six starts dating back to last season. McLaurin was his favorite target Sunday, with a team-high seven catches for 90 yards.
Washington’s defense feasts: Playing behind a decimated offensive line, Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton was 9 for 19 for 75 yards and an interception before he was knocked out in the third quarter by an unnecessary hit to the head by Washington linebacker Jon Bostic, who was ejected. Dalton was evaluated for a concussion and did not return. His replacement, rookie Ben DiNucci, a seventh-round pick out of James Madison, was overmatched in his NFL debut, leading two drives that resulted in three-and-outs and taking three sacks.
Washington finished with six sacks, the team’s most since it had eight in the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Second-year linebacker Cole Holcomb had a solid game, with one sack and an interception before halftime on a pass that deflected off the hands of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott at the Washington 5-yard line.
Washington limited Elliott to 45 yards on 12 carries and didn’t allow a completion to a Dallas wide receiver other than Amari Cooper. Washington played the second half without Collins, who suffered a noncontact ankle injury in the second quarter.
Read below for highlights from the game.
Final: Washington 25, Dallas 3
Dallas had all three timeouts, but didn’t bother stopping the clock on Washington’s final drive, which included an 11-yard run by Peyton Barber on third-and-9 that iced the game.
Washington improves to 2-5 and is a half-game behind the 2-4-1 NFC East lead after its biggest blowout of the Cowboys since 2005.
Dustin Hopkins misses field goal, but Washington still leads 25-3 late in fourth quarter
Washington took another 7 minutes off the clock on a nine-play drive that culminated in a 44-yard field goal attempt by Dustin Hopkins that sailed wide right. That’s four misses on the season for Hopkins. (Washington 25, Dallas 3, 4:39 left in the fourth quarter)
Who is Ben DiNucci? Cowboys rookie QB takes over after Andy Dalton injury.
The Post's Scott Allen wrote recently about Ben DiNucci, the unheralded rookie out of James Madison University who became the Cowboys' backup quarterback after the season-ending injury suffered by Dak Prescott. Now DiNucci has taken the field against the Washington Football Team with Andy Dalton sidelined by injury.
“He’ll do everything he can to put himself in the best position through preparation,” JMU Coach Curt Cignetti told Allen of DiNucci. “He’s an extremely confident guy. If it comes to that, where he ends up playing, he’s going to go on the field with a lot of confidence, and he’ll be ready.”
DiNucci was the 2014 Gatorade Pennsylvania high school player of the year who took a roundabout road to success at JMU, a Football Bowl Subdivision powerhouse.
Washington extends lead to 25-3 in fourth quarter on Dustin Hopkins field goal
Washington added to its lead with a 30-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins to cap an 11-play, 63-yard drive early in the fourth quarter.
Already without safety Landon Collins, who was ruled out with an ankle injury he suffered in the first half, and linebacker Jon Bostic, who was ejected for a late hit on the Cowboys’ previous possession, Washington may also be without Montez Sweat for the remainder of the game. The defensive end is being evaluated for a concussion. (Washington 25, Dallas 3, 13:24 left in the fourth quarter)
Washington’s defense greets Cowboys’ backup QB Ben DiNucci with a pair of sacks
Ben DiNucci’s first career NFL pass attempt was a 32-yard completion to Amari Cooper. The rest of DiNucci’s first drive in relief of Andy Dalton didn’t go as well. The seventh-round pick out of JMU was sacked on two of the Cowboys’ next three plays, the second one resulting in a fumble that was recovered by Dallas’s Terence Steele for a loss of 14. L.P. Ladouceur came onto punt. (Washington 22, Dallas 3, 3:01 left in the third quarter)
Jon Bostic ejected for hit on Cowboys QB Andy Dalton; rookie Ben DiNucci enters game
The Cowboys began their next drive at the own 3-yard line after a perfectly placed punt by Tress Way. On third-and-long, quarterback Andy Dalton took a shot to the head by Washington linebacker Jon Bostic as he slid short of the line to gain. Bostic was subsequently ejected for the hit, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.
Ben DiNucci, a rookie from James Madison, came into the game to replace Dalton. (Washington 22, Dallas 3, 6:35 left in the third quarter)
Leading 22-3, Washington forces a punt on opening possession of the third quarter
Dallas managed a first down on the opening possession of the third quarter, but the Cowboys were forced to punt after Montez Sweat sacked Andy Dalton on second down and the Dallas quarterback threw incomplete on third-and-long. The Washington defense has sacked Dalton three times. (Washington 22, Dallas 3, 12:56 left in the third quarter)
Washington takes 22-3 lead into halftime after Cole Holcomb interception
With all three of its timeouts, Dallas’s offense finally got going before halftime. An 18-yard completion from Andy Dalton to Amari Cooper on third-and-10 after the two-minute warning put the Cowboys in Washington territory. Eight plays later, Washington safety Deshazor Everett broke up a pass intended for CeeDee Lamb in the end zone. On Dallas’s next snap, Washington linebacker Cole Holcomb intercepted a pass that deflected off Ezekiel Elliott’s hands at the 5-yard line to preserve the home team’s 19-point lead. (Washington 22, Dallas 3, end of the first half)
Washington extends lead to 22-3 on Kyle Allen’s TD pass to Logan Thomas
Washington extended its lead with a 10-play drive capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Allen to Logan Thomas, who broke a tackle by Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith before scampering into the end zone. Allen converted a third-and-9 with a 15-yard scramble earlier in the drive, adding to Washington’s impressive rushing total in the first half. Led by Gibson, who has 94 yards rushing on 11 carries, Washington has 126 yards rushing on 17 carries as a team.
Washington is outgaining Dallas in the first half, 253 yards to 40. The Cowboys have four first downs on four possessions and are averaging 1.8 yards per play. (Washington 22, Dallas 3, 3:08 left in the second quarter)
Washington safety Landon Collins ruled out with an ankle injury
Washington safety Landon Collins, who had a strip-sack that led to a safety in the first quarter, was carted off the field after suffering a noncontact ankle injury in the second quarter. Washington announced that Collins is out for the remainder of the game. (Washington 15, Dallas 3, 7:13 left in the second quarter)
Terry McLaurin’s 52-yard touchdown reception gives Washington a 15-3 lead
After an offside penalty on Montez Sweat set up a third-and-5 from the Washington 49, Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton scrambled and dove for a four-yard gain. Dallas Coach Mike McCarthy left his offense on the field, but Dalton failed to convert, overthrowing Michael Gallup deep down the middle.
Two plays after the turnover on downs, Kyle Allen found Terry McLaurin wide open for a 52-yard touchdown pass. McLaurin beat Cowboys rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs on the play. Washington went for two, but tight end Logan Thomas couldn’t come down with a tight throw in the back of the end zone. (Washington 15, Dallas 3, 9:54 left in the second quarter)
Behind strong rushing attack, Washington takes 9-3 lead into the second quarter
Washington’s third drive stalled near midfield after Everson Griffen sacked Kyle Allen on third-and-4, resulting in Tress Way’s first punt of the game. It was a promising first quarter for Washington’s offense, which has already eclipsed its rushing average for a full game this season with 91 yards on 12 carries.
Washington outgained the Cowboys 138 yards to 6 in the first quarter, while controlling the ball for nearly 11 minutes. (Washington 9, Dallas 3, end of the first quarter)
Dallas trails Washington, 9-3, late in first quarter after 45-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein
Tony Pollard gave the Cowboys a spark with a 67-yard return on Dustin Hopkins’ kickoff after Washington took a 9-0 lead. Jimmy Moreland’s third-down tackle on rookie wide receiver Cee Dee Lamb forced Dallas to settle for a 45-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein. (Washington 9, Dallas 3, 1:52 left in the first quarter)
Washington leads Cowboys, 9-0, in first quarter after Antonio Gibson’s TD run
Washington moved the ball with ease on its possession after the safety. Kyle Allen converted a third-and-6 with a nine-yard pass to running back J.D. McKissic. Two plays after a 26-yard completion to tight end Logan Thomas put Washington in the red zone, rookie running back Antonio Gibson ran for a 12-yard touchdown. Gibson already has 66 yards rushing on six carries. (Washington 9, Dallas 0, 3:48 left in the first quarter)