Perhaps Elliott couldn’t corral the ball because he knew Holcomb was in the vicinity and he didn’t want any part of him again. Earlier in the second quarter, Holcomb came on a blitz and absolutely obliterated Elliott en route to sacking Dalton. “I was like, ‘Man, I can’t get blocked by Zeke,’ ” Holcomb told reporters after the game. He elaborated on his mentality on the play on the postgame radio show.
“We’ve been taught, if you’re blitzing, come with a purpose, and hit it hard and fast,” Holcomb said on the radio postgame show. “On that play, I said, ‘Listen, I’m going to go in there and wreak some havoc.’ ”
Fail: Jon Bostic
Bostic wreaked unnecessary havoc in the third quarter, when the Washington linebacker lowered his shoulder into Dalton’s head after the quarterback had started to slide short of the line to gain on a third-down run. Bostic was immediately ejected for his vicious hit, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down. Dalton was evaluated for a concussion and did not return. He was replaced by rookie Ben DiNucci, a seventh-round draft pick who became the first former James Madison quarterback to throw a pass in an NFL regular season game.
“You’d like to tell Jon he has to be smarter than that,” Washington Coach Ron Rivera said after the game. “Jon’s a savvy, veteran guy, and that’s a mistake he shouldn’t make.”
Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t happy with much of anything Sunday. That included his team’s response to Bostic’s brutal hit.
“We speak all the time about playing for one another, protecting one another,” McCarthy told reporters after the Cowboys fell to 2-4. “It definitely was not the response you would expect.”
Hail: NBA stars tweeting about the Washington Football Team
Rookie running back Antonio Gibson ran for a career-high 128 yards on 20 carries, including a 40-yard carry on Washington’s opening drive and a 12-yard scamper for a score later in the first quarter. Gibson celebrated his third touchdown of the season by mimicking Cowboys fan LeBron James’s familiar pregame chalk toss.
King James noticed and shouted out Gibson on social media, tweeting, “Salute and great game!!” Fellow Cowboys fan John Wall didn’t weigh in, but Prince George’s County native and Washington Football Team fan Kevin Durant was feeling good about the burgundy and gold’s performance.
Fail: Riling up Terry McLaurin
It isn’t wise to provide McLaurin with any extra motivation, as Trevon Diggs learned the hard way in his first matchup with Washington’s second-year wide receiver. One play after the Cowboys’ rookie cornerback took a swipe at McLaurin when the two got tangled up after a short run, McLaurin blew past the former Alabama standout and hauled in a 52-yard touchdown catch.
“I’m a competitive person as well, [but] for the most part I’m pretty calm throughout the game,” McLaurin, who finished with seven catches for 90 yards, said after the game. “When you kind of poke at me a little bit, it kind of ups my play and energy a little bit more.”
Hail: Washington’s defense
Washington snapped its three-game losing streak in the series with its largest margin of victory against its biggest rival since a 35-7 win at FedEx Field in December 2005. The Cowboys’ three points were their fewest ever against Washington in the regular season and equaled the total they scored in a loss to Washington in the 1972 NFC championship game. Washington outgained Dallas 397-142 and limited Elliott to 45 rushing yards, and the Cowboys’ 59 net passing yards were their fewest in a game since 1976. Montez Sweat had two of Washington’s six sacks, the defense’s most since it had eight in a season-opening win against the Eagles.
Fail: Dallas’s “defense”
Dallas became the first team in NFL history to allow at least 20 points in the first half of six consecutive games. The Cowboys clinched the dubious mark against a Washington offense that hadn’t scored more than 20 points in a game since the season opener. Washington averaged 7.4 yards per play in the first two quarters and took a 22-3 lead into halftime. The home team controlled the ball for nearly 13 minutes more than the Cowboys and converted 9 of 15 third-down opportunities.
Hail: Tress Way
Way wasn’t Washington’s MVP for a change, but he made the most of his opportunities, dropping both of his punts inside the 20-yard line. His second punt, midway through the third quarter, was a thing of beauty and was downed by Danny Johnson at the Dallas 3-yard line. It’s important to appreciate Way’s greatness during the team’s rare good times as well as the bad.
Fail: Another potentially serious injury
Washington safety Landon Collins was carted off the field and into the tunnel after suffering an injury in the second quarter. He was immediately ruled out for the remainder of the game. Collins, who signed a six-year, $84 million deal with Washington in March 2019, had struggled with missed tackles this season but got the scoring started against the Cowboys with a sack fumble of Dalton that led to a safety. Collins is scheduled to get an MRI exam Monday. Multiple reports after the game suggested he suffered a season-ending Achilles’ tendon injury.
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