Cowboys delay Eagles celebrations with Redskins win
The Philadelphia Eagles will have to wait a few more days to clinch the NFC East after the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Washington Redskins 38-14 in the NFL on Thursday.
A Cowboys loss would have given the Eagles (10-1) the division title but Dallas reigned supreme at AT&T Stadium.
Philadelphia can still clinch the division with a win over the Seattle Seahawks (7-4) on Sunday.
The Dallas offense had struggled mightily without suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott, failing to score at least 10 points in three straight games for the first time in franchise history. They got off to a slow start on Thursday with a trio of three-and-outs to start.
But once Dak Prescott used his legs to pick up a first down late in the first quarter, the Cowboys offense ignited. Prescott only threw for 102 yards, but tossed a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another 28 yards.
"I just trusted myself and trusted in my teammates," Prescott told NBC Sports. "We played like a team that was hungry and needed this win."
Behind a Cowboys offensive line that dominated the way it did all of last season, Alfred Morris churned out 127 yards on 27 carries as the Cowboys ran for 182 yards as a team.
Prescott was sacked just once as Cowboys tackles Tyron Smith and La'el Collins kept the Redskins pass rushers at bay.
COWBOYS DESPERATELY NEEDED THE WIN
The Cowboys (6-6) played with a desperate hunger and it showed. They were the aggressor throughout and, despite a sluggish start by the offense, the defense led the way. As the Cowboys defense set the tone with four turnovers, Prescott and Morris helped the offense convert those turnovers into points.
After an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten got the Cowboys on the board, a strip-sack of Kirk Cousins by DeMarcus Lawrence led to a 24-yard Dan Bailey field goal. The Cowboys then broke it open on Ryan Switzer's 87-yard punt return.
The Cowboys even got a big night from Dez Bryant, who came up with clutch catches. Bryant finished with five receptions for 61 yards and threw up the X after going over Bashaud Breeland for a 13-yard score.
Between the defense pressuring Cousins, the offensive line dominating and special teams playing well, it was a complete win for a Cowboys team that desperately needed a win to stop their losing streak.
SLOPPY REDSKINS FAIL TO CAPITALISE
It is easy to blame injuries, but the Redskins (5-7) have been too sloppy and inconsistent all season. The Redskins lost both starting tackles, Morgan Moses and Trent Williams, on Thursday and have used 23 different offensive line combinations because of various injuries. While injuries have been a huge factor in Washington's struggles this season, it does not excuse careless fumbles, dropped passes and penalties.
Cousins was 26 of 37 for 251 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions that were not really his fault. One was the result of a dropped pass and the second came on a deflection at the line.
Washington have had multiple opportunities this season to leapfrog the Cowboys in the division and have failed at every turn.
LAWRENCE MIGHT BE THE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
DeMarcus Lawrence had two sacks to increase his season total to an NFL-best 13.5. He was the catalyst for the Cowboys defensive front and has been the one constant this season. Even without defensive leader Sean Lee, the Cowboys defense dominated Washington's beat-up offensive line. Lawrence was dinged up after David Irving's huge hit on Cousins knocked the quarterback back into Lawrence.
The fourth-year defensive end from Boise State was fine and he is a big reason why the Cowboys are still alive in the NFC playoff hunt.