ARLINGTON, Texas— Lots of storylines in this game. Cooper Rush is now 4-0 as a starter and 3-0 this year since Dak’s injury. Michael Gallup had a stellar debut of the season with a touchdown catch and three enforced penalties.
But there were other plays that led to that 25-10 Cowboys win.
Here are five hidden games that changed the outcome of this game.
Washington’s first intentional grounding – The Commanders were 6-0 down in the second quarter and were on their way to getting onto the board. But on the first down at the Dallas’ 44, pressure from Micah Parsons and Israel Mukuamu Carson Wentz forced an intentional penalty on the floor. That pushed it back to second and 22 and the commanders eventually had to stab and stall the drive.
Illegal contact wipes out INT – Leading 7-6, Washington seemed to regain the ball with an interception near midfield by Benjamin St.-Juste. But an illegal contact penalty on St. Juste at the line of scrimmage nullified the pick. Instead, the Cowboys kept the ball and drove the rest of the way for a go-ahead touchdown.
Intentional grounding…again – Perhaps the biggest game of this game came late in the third quarter when Dallas led 15-7 but the Commanders led by a second and 8 at the Cowboys’ 17. Carson Wentz was rushed and threw a pass out of his pocket that went out of bounds. Officials ruled that no player was actually anywhere near the ball area, resulting in an intentional grounding flag that took it from 31 to third and 22nd. The commanders had to settle for a field goal and a 15-10 deficit.
Another choice negated by a flag – Early in the third quarter, the Cowboys were again pinned near their goal line and Cooper Rush was picked off on the sideline. But this time Washington was flagged for defensive holding. The Commanders went for the ball at the Cowboys 30, but Dallas kept the ball and punched to the Washington 39.
Cowboys Survive Short Barge – After an unusually poor punt by Bryan Anger from just 22 yards, the Cowboys defense came out with Washington at the 30-yard line. But even though the defense conceded a first down, the defense got a big sack on the third down on Dante Fowler’s 10. That led to a fourth play down from the 15, resulting in a pass deflection from Trevon Diggs in the end zone.