Cooper Rush remained perfect, Michael Gallup made a triumphant return and the Dallas Cowboys' defense continued its dominance during an impressive 25-10 win Sunday in Arlington.
10. COWBOY COMEBACK - Receiver Michael Gallup's peculiar, productive timeline went TD catch-Torn ACL-TD catch spanning 10 months. In his first game back from the severe knee injury suffered while catching a score last Jan. 2, Gallup's second catch against Washington (and of the season) was a broken-play, ad-libbed 9-yarder from quarterback Cooper Rush just before halftime. His speed was a factor in the second half as well, drawing a 27-yard pass interference penalty and also 38-yarder on Commanders' cornerback William Jackson to set up CeeDee Lamb's touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 22-10 lead.
9. BLACKOUT - The Commanders debuted their all-black uniforms which were - at best - confusing. Is that part of their color scheme? Are they mimicking New Zealand's iconic legendary rugby team, the All Blacks. Or, with a three-game losing streak and already in last place in the NFC East, did they merely dress for a funeral? All that was missing was former Cowboy Harvey Martin's funeral wreath, which he tossed into the Redskins' locker room in Texas Stadium after a miraculous comeback victory and what turned out to be Roger Staubach's final career win in 1979.
8. NOT HALF-BAD: Opponents' halftime point totals of Dallas' four games this season: 12, 3, 3 and 7. And the 7 comes with an asterisk (see item No. 4.) Micah Parsons and his crew aren't yet "Doomsday" 4.0, but allowing only six field goals and a tainted touchdown is pretty salty. For that matter, the Cowboys have been pretty dang good over entire games. No team has gotten to 20 points on Dallas yet. Said of Rush of his team's defense, "They're the reason we're winning."
7. RIVETING RIVALRY? - Once upon a time Dallas and Washington played for not only division supremacy and playoff seeding, but also Super Bowls. All the sudden the Cowboys last won a championship in 1995; Washington in 1991. In the last 26 years, the two once-proud franchises have combined to win only six playoff games. Long about 12-7 deep in Sunday's sluggish third quarter we were actually pining for a live break-in for an Aaron Judge at-bat for a little excitement. Said Rush after the game, "It’s the NFL. It’s always ugly sometimes.”
6. EAST BEAST - In the last 10 years the Cowboys are now 43-19 against the NFC East for a winning percentage just under 70. They've won three in a row against Washington, and eight consecutive and 14 of 16 at home against the division. Admit it, you're already licking your chops about the Sunday night game at Philadelphia in two weeks aren't you?
5. DALLAS DUST-UP: The Cowboys never felt threatened in this one, benefitting from 11 Commanders' penalties, two turnovers and a hapless offense that scored only one questionable touchdown (see below). This was either a total, violent domination in Arlington or perhaps - in the view of Commanders' defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio - perhaps just a little "dust-up."
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4. PENAL ... TD? - The first, first-half touchdown of the season allowed by the Cowboys' defense shouldn't have been a touchdown at all. The play clock clearly reached :00 before the ball was snapped to Carson Wentz, who then lofted a perfect pass to rookie receiver Jahan Dotson in the corner of the end zone for a 7-6 Commanders' lead. Instead of touchdown, should've been a delay-of-game penalty. This seems like a new "unwritten rule" in the NFL, giving offenses "a beat" after the clock expires. Imagine the chaos if the NBA adopted the same zany philosophy? Yeah, the clock struck :00 but referees gave Luka Doncic "a beat" after to get off the winning shot. Really, why even have a clock? Just let officials judge the game on feel.
3. PASSING FANCY - In a league geared toward offense and where the standard passing threshold is 300 yards, the Cowboys' defense has yet to allow a quarterback to throw for even 215. We're not about to mistake horribly inept Commanders' quarterback Carson Wentz for Tom Brady or Joe Burrow, but the streak is legit. The Cowboys added two sacks to their league-leading total and Trevon Diggs - who has 13 picks in his last 21 games - dominated with an interception and two fourth-down deflections in the fourth quarter. Quarterbacks passing yards against the Cowboys: Brady 212, Burrow 199, Daniel Jones of the New York Giants 196 and Wentz 170. In four games, they have allowed only four touchdowns. On a personal note, I have a friend in Philadelphia who - amidst the frenzy of Wentz' MVP-caliber season in 2017 - named his newborn son "Carson." I cringe at the thought of him someday explaining to his son whatever became of his namesake.
2. WHIPPING WASHINGTON - Cowboys have never lost to the Commanders. Obviously they're 1-0. In the fabled series history Dallas went 73-43-2 against the Redskins and split 2-2 with the Football Team. In the last three meetings, regardless of name, the Cowboys are 3-0 against Washington by a combined 108-44.
1. CLEAN COOPER - Rush wasn't perfect. He was a bit lucky, with two interceptions negated by Washington penalties and a deflected pass in the end zone somehow falling harmlessly at the feet of a couple Commanders' defenders. But in a bottom-line league where results are separated by thin lines, he's 3-0 this season and now the only quarterback in Cowboys history to start his career 4-0. Against the Commanders he scrambled outside the pocket for the touchdown to Gallup. Threw a perfect deep ball to Noah Brown for a 45-yard completion to set up a field goal. And put the game away with a gorgeous 30-yard dart to Lamb. Rush's vitals as an NFL starter: 79 of 129 (61 percent) for 998 yards, six touchdowns and only one interception. Shocking stat none of thought we'd see in 2022: Through Week 4 there are only two undefeated quarterbacks: Jalen Hurts and Rush.
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