The Dallas Cowboys were on their last leg heading into a Thursday Night matchup against their bitter rivals from Washington. Having lost three straight games in blowout fashion with the margin of defeat in each case at 20 or more points, a bounce-back victory looked bleak for the team many thought would win the division for the second straight year and a third time in four seasons.
The Cowboys had to win the game to keep any hope of a playoff berth alive.
The offense started slow but by the end of the contest the team would beat Washington handily for the second time this season to improve to 6-6 on the year and end the slide. Jason Garrett improved his record to 11-4 against Washington and Dak Prescott remained undefeated in four career games.
Here are the five players who stood tall.
So far in Frazier’s short career he has been used primarily as a core special teamer, often making many plays along with Jeff Heath. The Cowboys decided to shake things up with a revamped look in the secondary and gave Frazier an opportunity. Kavon Frazier responded.
Frazier has shown he has a nose for the ball and it continued throughout the game against Washington. Frazier recorded six combined tackles which really doesn’t seem like much but the team really struggled with tackling in recent weeks. Frazier's big hit ability perhaps earned him the right for more playing time moving forward.
Alfred Morris has received a bulk of the carries since Ezekiel Elliott had his suspension re-instated. The Cowboys were hopefuly that Morris could have enough of an impact to hold down the fort until Zeke returns against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16. While he has had some solid performances, it just hasn’t been enough.
In the three games since the suspension Morris has averaged 60 yards per game. He took that to another level in this game. The former rival for Washington finished the contest with 27 carries for 127 yards. The best moment coming in the 4th quarter when Morris was able to celebrate a touchdown with his patented home run swing. A sight that his former team was all too familiar with.
Bryant has been looking for that record-breaking touchdown over the last five weeks but with the offense struggling, it just hasn’t happened. However, in second half against Washington, Bryant was able to bring down a vintage Dez jump ball over Bashaud Breeland to surpass “Bullet” Bob Hayes for the most receiving touchdowns in Dallas Cowboys history.
While Dez Bryant still hasn’t eclipsed the 100-yard mark in over a season, he was effective when called upon with five receptions for 61 yards and the record breaking touchdown. The touchdown pass from Prescott to open the 4th quarter really put the game out of reach at 24-7.
Lawrence hasn’t had the type of impact in recent weeks as he did through the first six weeks of the season. The man nicknamed Tank must have been salivating when he saw the injury report for the Washington offensive line.
Lawrence sacked quarterback Kirk Cousins twice including one that led to a fumble. His performance with constant pressure on Washington's veteran QB helped out the young secondary.
It was difficult to single out a single offensive lineman who stood taller than the others. For the first time this season, it felt the offensive line was clicking on all cylinders. The offensive line not only paved the way for the running game but for the most part kept Prescott upright. Washington recorded just one sack all game and Dallas saw its first 100-yard rushing performer since Zeke's suspension.
The best part of this game is that the Cowboys offensive line came out of the game healthy. Now they have 10 days to continue to heal up before heading to New York to take on another division rival.
The Cowboys victory keeps the slim hopes for the playoffs alive. The Cowboys needed to win five straight games to have any shot at the postseason. The team still has to take it one game at a time but the win Thursday night was a step in the right direction after dismantling Washington 38-14.
Are you feeling better about the Cowboys after they ended their abysmal losing streak on Thursday night? Share your thoughts with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys.