Antonio Gibson and the Washington Offense Strike Down the Evil Empire
The Vegas books knew something. They smelled it in the air as the week went on. It had an eerie Twilight Zone themed feel to it. Washington had started out Sunday night as a 4 point underdog to where they ended up being a 1 point favorite right before kickoff.
I don't think anyone saw this coming.
Right from the opening kickoff, Washington's offense had it's way with an absolutely calamitous Dallas Cowboys defense.
Running back Antonio Gibson really started things off with a 40 yard run in Washington's first drive. That run set Gibson up for a career day in his young NFL career. Gibson finished today with 128 yards and 1 touchdown on 20 carries. He was also targeted once in the passing game.
After a bad quarterback sneak attempt on 4th and goal from the 1 yard line, Kyle Allen stayed Dr. Jekyl from there on out. His efficiency and care for the ball is what allowed Washington to keep extending their lead that seemed unattainable at halftime.
Offensive Scott Turner creating a nice mix of run plays with play action allowed for the field to be more open for more big plays. Allen was able to take multiple shots down the field that resulted in defensive pass interference being called and a 52 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Terry McLaurin.
McLaurin finished the game with 7 receptions, 90 yards, and 1 touchdown on 11 targets.
Allen's stats weren't overly impressive by going 15/25 for 194 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. He added 4 carries for 11 yards too.
The offensive line should not go overlooked in today's performance. With Geron Christian, Sr. being inactive today due to a knee injury, Cornelius Lucas was tapped to start at left tackle. Something that was concerning due to his porous performance at that same position during camp. The line only allowed 2 sacks for a loss of 5 yards, but were able to give Allen enough time to let the pass plays to develop so he could drive the ball.
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The defense was equally impressive and showed a glimmer of what they could be.
On their first drive against the Cowboys offense, safety Landon Collins forced a strip sack of quarterback Andy Dalton that led to a safety and an early 2-0 Washington lead.
Washington's defense was able to keep the pressure on the Cowboys offensive line the rest of the game.
Prior to Dallas' last drive of the first half, Washington was 4/5 on defensive 3rd down conversions. The linemen were swarming Dalton the entire day while the linebackers were patient against the screen game and against running back Ezekiel Elliott. Washington held Elliott to 45 yards on 12 carries and 6 yards receiving on 1 catch.
Speaking of Mr. Elliott. Cole Holcomb had his way with him in the first half. First, Holcomb completely blew him up on a blitz that led to someone changing Cole's Wikipedia page.
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Defensive end Montez Sweat continues to impress at the edge finding new ways to wreck havoc on opposing offensive lines. He tallied 2 sacks, 1 tackle for a loss, and 3 quarterback hits. Chase Young also continues to have his presence felt, while the stat sheet doesn't reflect it, he is disrupting the rhythm of the quarterback and filling in potential running lanes.
Cornerback Ronald Darby also continued to quietly have a good year as he had 5 tackles and 1 pass deflected.
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Then there was the complete abhorrent, inexplicable, repugnant hit by linebacker Jon Bostic. The Cowboys were on offense halfway through the 3rd quarter when Andy Dalton was sent scrambling on 3rd down. He went down to slide short of the sticks when Bostic launched himself head first into Dalton's head. Dalton's helmet popped off from the hit and the quarterback laid there motionless.
It was a scary sight that saw cornerback Kendall Fuller immediately raise his hands to his head in a "what did you just do" motion.
Bostic was rightfully ejected for the illegal shot that the NFL is trying to legislate out of the game. There will likely be a heavy fine levied from the league office with the potential of a suspension handed down.
An all around dominant performance leaves Washington sitting .5 game back of Philadelphia heading into the Bye Week. Washington has 4 very winnable games coming up on the schedule. Head Coach Ron Rivera will have a decision to make this week about his roster.
Do you still trade away pieces to load up for next year? Or, do you forge ahead with what you have and fight for the division that could take only 7 wins to become champion of.
Remember...Rivera does have a winning record as head coach once the calendar turns past October.
INJURY REPORT: Safety Landon Collins left the game in the 2nd quarter with what Washington ruled an ankle injury. The ruling happened quickly and Collins was carted to the locker room after being checked in the medical tent. He's reportedly lost for the season with a blown Achilles.
Defensive end Montez Sweat exited with a concussion...right tackle Morgan Moses left with an undisclosed injury, but looked to be okay on the bench.
Alan Lepore joins "Washington Football" on SI.com, while still doing outstanding work as an editor/writer at FullPressCoverage.com or @FPC_Redskins. You can follow him on Twitter @AlanLepore or on instagram @leporealan. Alan is a Villanova University MPA Nonprofit Management candidate and is a fundraising/development professional.