Without a cascade of holding penalties committed by the Dallas offense, this game might have been a route.
But the Dallas defense made plays when it mattered in helping to force two of Washington’s three turnovers.
Beyond Irving’s tipped pass that was intercepted by Jones, the 6’7” monster with the wingspan of a B-52 bomber picked up two more sacks and logged two more tackles for a loss. Anyone who thought that the Cowboys would not miss this somehow undrafted third-year phenom in their first four games simply hasn’t watched very much football.
As if Irving’s performance wasn’t enough for an obliterated Redskins offensive line to handle, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence continued his career season with another sack, a tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery. Had Lawrence not taken Cousins down on that play, Jaylon Smith would have.
Opposite Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford proved his value as an end, as opposed to an interior defensive tackle, in picking up another sack that also forced the first turnover of the day by the Redskins offense when Cousins failed to hold onto the ball. Lawrence was there for the recovery.
And let’s put to rest the idea that not having linebackers Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens on the field together doesn’t matter much, shall we?
Last week’s blowout win at San Francisco saw featured running back Carlos Hyde rush for just 68 yards on 14 carries – nice average per rush, but not nearly enough carries to make any difference in that game. Only because rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard picked up 30 yards on five carries did the 49ers come anywhere close to their total of 103 yards on the ground that day.
The Redskins weren’t even that effective with their group of running backs that combined for just 49 yards on a total of 15 carries – an average gain of only 3.3 yards per rush.