Thursday’s game wasn’t a must-win for Washington’s playoff hopes, but it was an important one. The burgundy and gold improved to 4-7 and has its first winning streak of the season, but the schedule is about to get a whole lot tougher. Washington will face the Steelers, 49ers and Seahawks over the next three weeks, before ending the season with games against the Panthers and Eagles. Washington is a half-game ahead of 3-6-1 Philadelphia, which hosts the Seahawks on “Monday Night Football.”
Antonio Gibson burns the Cowboys again: After rushing for a career-high 128 yards on 20 carries in his first meeting with Dallas, Washington’s rookie running back was every bit as good in his nationally televised encore. Gibson capped Washington’s second possession with a five-yard touchdown run, and he was just getting started. The third-round pick out of Memphis had touchdown runs of 23 and 37 yards in the fourth quarter to ice the game, becoming the first rookie to score three touchdowns on Thanksgiving since Randy Moss caught three touchdowns in the Vikings’ 46-36 win at Dallas in 1998.
Gibson finished with 20 carries for 115 yards against Dallas’s 31st-ranked rushing defense and also had five catches for 21 yards. He has eight touchdowns in his last five games and 11 for the season, which leaves him two touchdowns shy of tying Alfred Morris for the franchise rookie record. With Morgan Moses starting at left tackle and David Sharpe at right tackle for the second straight week, Washington rushed for 182 yards as a team on 36 carries.
Washington takes better advantage of excellent field position: Washington scored 17 points on three drives totaling 57 yards that started on Dallas’s side of the field. With Washington leading 20-16 early in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys ran a fake punt from deep in their own territory. It was a colossal failure, and on the first play of Washington’s ensuing drive, Gibson scored his second touchdown of the game to give the visitors a two-score lead.
With 5 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Washington cornerback Ronald Darby, who was burned for a touchdown by Amari Cooper earlier in the game, broke up a pass intended for CeeDee Lamb on fourth-and-short from the Dallas 34. After a personal foul penalty on tight end Dalton Schultz, Washington’s offense took over inside the red zone and Alex Smith threw a touchdown pass to Logan Thomas five plays later.
Meanwhile, Dallas settled for a field goal while trailing 20-13 late in the third quarter after linebacker Jaylon Smith intercepted a pass and returned it to the Washington 4-yard line. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin hustled to make a touchdown-saving tackle on the pick, which was the play of the game at the time.
Cowboys can’t overcome injuries: The Cowboys’ marched right down the field and took the early lead on a short field goal on their opening possession, but the drive came at a cost, with left tackle Cameron Erving and right tackle Zack Martin both leaving the game for good with injuries. Without two key members of their already decimated offensive line, Dallas did an admirable job protecting quarterback Andy Dalton, as Chase Young registered Washington’s only sack in the first half after the two-minute warning.
The Cowboys had less success establishing the run. Ezekiel Elliott, who managed only 45 yards on 12 carries against Washington in October, was limited to 32 yards on 10 carries on Thursday. Elliott lost his fifth fumble of the season on Dallas’s first drive of the second half, which led to a Washington field goal. On the next series, Elliott’s longest run of the game was negated by a holding penalty. Washington’s defense finished with three sacks, and Montez Sweat capped the scoring with an interception return for a touchdown.
Washington moves into first place in NFC East with 41-16 win over Cowboys
Antonio Gibson rushed for three touchdowns and Washington completed its first season sweep of Dallas since 2012 to improve to 4-7 and take over sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
Montez Sweat adds to the rout with interception return for a touchdown
On Dallas’s first play from scrimmage after Antonio Gibson’s third touchdown, Montez Sweat batted an Andy Dalton pass into the air, intercepted it and returned it 15 yards for Washington’s second touchdown in 7 seconds. It’ll be a very happy Thanksgiving for the Washington Football Team. (Washington 41, Dallas 16, 3:24 left in the fourth quarter)
Washington takes 34-16 lead on Antonio Gibson’s third touchdown run of game
After Dallas stopped Antonio Gibson on third-and-short at the Dallas 46-yard line with 5 minutes remaining, Washington Coach Ron Rivera kept his offense on the field. Peyton Barber rewarded Rivera’s gamble with a hard run up the middle for the first down, extending a drive that had already burned more than 4 minutes off the clock.
Three plays later, Antonio Gibson raced 37 yards for his third rushing touchdown of the game. Gibson, who had a career-high 128 yards rushing against the Cowboys in October, has 115 yards on 20 carries today. (Washington 34, Dallas 16, 3:31 left in the fourth quarter)
Antonio Gibson gives Washington a 27-16 lead in fourth quarter after failed fake punt
On third-and-three from the Dallas 31-yard line, Tim Settle sacked Andy Dalton for a loss of seven. On the ensuing play, Dallas ran an unsuccessful fake punt, with Cole Luke and Khaleke Hudson combining to tackle Cedrick Wilson well short of the line to gain.
It took one play for Washington to capitalize on its great field position, with Antonio Gibson rushing for a 23-yard touchdown, the rookie’s second of the game. (Washington 27, Dallas 16, 12:07 left in the fourth quarter)
Alex Smith’s interception leads to a field goal, as Cowboys cut lead to 20-16
After Cole Holcomb and Daron Payne combined to sack Andy Dalton and force a punt on Dallas’s second possession of the third quarter, Washington began its next drive from its own 5-yard line. Nine plays later, on third-and-10 at midfield, Alex Smith backpedaled in the face of pressure and made an ill-advised throw directly into the arms of Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Terry McLaurin chased Smith down and made a touchdown-saving ankle tackle at the 4-yard line, which could prove to be a pivotal play in the game, as Washington’s defense forced the Cowboys to settle for a short field goal. (Washington 20, Dallas 16, 2:32 left in the third quarter)
Washington takes 20-13 lead in third quarter on Dustin Hopkins field goal
Washington settled for a 36-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins after recovering Ezekiel Elliott’s fumble to extend its lead to seven.
On third-and-one from the Dallas 13-yard line, DeMarcus Lawrence sacked Alex Smith for a loss of five. Washington Coach Ron Rivera was livid that Lawrence, who appeared to time the snap perfectly, wasn’t flagged for being offsides on the play. (Washington 20, Dallas 13, 10:48 left in the third quarter)
Washington recovers an Ezekiel Elliott fumble deep in Dallas territory early in second half
Ezekiel Elliott, who managed only 15 yards rushing on five carries in the first half, got the call on Dallas’s first two plays of the third quarter. The second resulted in a fumble that Jonathan Allen recovered at the Dallas 34-yard line. Elliott now has six fumbles this season, and he’s lost five of them.
Elliott was initially ruled down by contact, but after a Washington challenge and a replay review, officials ruled that he lost control of the ball before his knee hit the ground. (Washington 17, Dallas 13, 14:22 left in the third quarter)
Cowboys cut Washington’s lead to 17-13 before halftime
Rookie Chase Young registered Washington’s first sack of the game after the two-minute warning, but Dallas still managed a field goal before halftime. The Cowboys converted a fourth-and-short on a quarterback sneak by Andy Dalton and benefited from a 28-yard pass interference penalty on Ronald Darby before Greg Zuerlein drilled a 32-yarder. (Washington 17, Dallas 13, :19 left in the second quarter)
Logan Thomas’s touchdown catch gives Washington a 17-10 lead late in first half
Washington capitalized on its best field position of the day, with Alex Smith finding Logan Thomas for a five-yard touchdown pass to cap a short drive. Smith took a sack on the first play after Washington’s offense took over on downs, but connected with J.D. McKissic for a 12-yard gain on third-and-long two plays later.
McKissic and Antonio Gibson have combined for seven catches for 42 yards out of the backfield for Washington. (Washington 17, Dallas 10, 2:26 left in the second quarter)
Dallas rolls the dice on fourth down, turns ball over deep in its own territory
On fourth-and-short from the Dallas 34-yard line, Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy kept his offense on the field. Andy Dalton dropped back to pass and threw incomplete for CeeDee Lamb, who was blanketed by Ronald Darby on the play. After a personal foul penalty on Dallas tight end Dalton Schultz, Washington’s offense will take over inside the red zone. (Washington 10, Dallas 10, 5:22 left in the second quarter)
Washington ties game, 10-10, on short field goal by Dustin Hopkins in second quarter
Dustin Hopkins tied the game with a 23-yard field goal after a 14-play drive that took nearly 7 minutes off the clock. Alex Smith was 5 for 7 on the march and is 10 for 13 for 53 yards in the game.
Washington broke out its second trick play of the first half, with Smith taking the snap, stepping to his right and handing the ball off to running back J.D. McKissic through McKissic’s legs before he ran for six yards and a first down. (Washington 10, Dallas 10, 7:13 left in the second quarter)
Cowboys go back on top, 10-7, on 54-yard touchdown catch by Amari Cooper
One play after Washington appeared to have running back Tony Pollard stopped for a loss on third-and-short, Andy Dalton connected Amari Cooper for a 54-yard touchdown. Cooper, who burned Washington for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns when these teams last played on Thanksgiving in 2018, beat cornerback Ronald Darby on the play. (Dallas 10, Washington 7, 14:08 left in the second quarter)
Washington takes 7-3 lead on Antonio Gibson’s touchdown run
Washington took the lead on its second possession with a five-yard touchdown run by rookie Antonio Gibson to cap an impressive 12-play drive. The big play on the march was a 28-yard pass from tight end Logan Thomas, who played quarterback at Virginia Tech, to wide receiver Terry McLaurin on a trick play. Washington also benefited from defensive holding and illegal contact penalties that resulted in automatic first downs before Gibson scored his ninth touchdown of the year.
Dallas’s offense will be shorthanded when it returns to the field. Cowboys right tackle Zack Martin has been ruled out for the remainder of the game, while left tackle Cam Erving is questionable to return. (Washington 7, Dallas 3, 1:37 left in the first quarter)
Cowboys take 3-0 lead in the first quarter, suffer two injuries on the offensive line
Greg Zuerlein capped the Cowboys’ first possession with a 33-yard field goal to give Dallas the early lead. Chase Young tackled Ezekiel Elliott for a loss on the march, but Dallas picked up a couple of key first downs on a scramble by Andy Dalton on third-and-long and a 25-yard completion to Amari Cooper.
Dallas left tackle Cameron Erving was injured on the drive and headed to the locker room for further evaluation. all-pro right tackle Zack Martin, who missed the Cowboys’ first meeting with Washington, hobbled off the field after appearing to injure his left knee later in the drive. (Dallas 3, Washington, 8:30 left in the first quarter)