Washington Wins: 10 Takes to Kick Off Thanksgiving Week

Chris Russell

LANDOVER, Md. - The Washington Football Team trailed at halftime but got off the mat for only the second time this year when trailing at the break and beat the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at FedExField, 20-9. 

It's their third win of the season, and while they feel good about that, they are also highly aware that the Bengals suffered a major blow. 

No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow was apparently lost for the season on a high-low combination hit by Montez Sweat and Jon Allen. 

"Thanks for all the love," Burrow tweeted after the game. "Can’t get rid of me that easy. See ya next year."

READ MORE: Joe Burrow Knocked Out of Game, Carted Off in Washington

Now here's 10 Takes on what the win means and why it happened: 

1. The WFT won the turnover battle, two to one, but the most important singular play of the game was on a Burrow fourth-down scramble and run towards the goal line that led to Chase Young obliterating the No. 1 overall pick and forcing a fumble. 

The ball was eventually recovered in the end zone after a crazy sequence and an initial ruling of a safety for the Bengals but correctly reversed - and the WFT wound up with a takeaway and a touchback. 

2. Speaking of Young, he not only made that play but also had a pressure off the right edge in the red zone which forced a Burrow incomplete on third down. Cincinnati was forced to kick a 34-yard field goal, which they missed and Washington took the ball back and scored. Young also swallowed up a screen play with his wing span and athleticism. 

Someone wrote a column this week that said he was a bust. Pleeeease.

3. Ronald Darby broke up two potential touchdown passes in the end zone thrown by Burrow and Kendall Fuller had a couple of pass breakups as well, including on the incomplete pass thrown by Burrow that he was hurt on. 

4. The Washington Football Team trailed at halftime, 9-7, and won for only the second time when trailing at the break. Being down but only slightly obviously helped, in this way: It allowed them to run the football more in the second half than they almost always do. 

5. Speaking of running the ball, Washington was able to grind it out on the ground 33 times for 164 yards, an average of 4.96 per attempt. That's a sound way to win football games. 

6. The Washington defense only allowed three third-down conversions on 13 attempts. The game clearly changed when backup quarterback Ryan Finley came in for the better but he was actually responsible for one of the conversions, a 19-yard scramble on third-and-18. 

7. Washington got a break early in the game when Randy Bullock, Cinncy's placekicker missed a 34-yard field goal and also an extra-point attempt, but they also made the Bengals pay by driving right down the field for the first score of the game. That's what you do if you're going to be good - answer, answer, answer.

8. Alex Smith did not have a great game statistically but dialed up off of play-action a 42-yard bomb to Terry McLaurin on that scoring drive after the kick miss. That followed Washington's first run of the game after four straight passes to open. 

Smith had a deep incomplete later and took another deep shot to Isaiah Wright near the end zone that drew a defensive pass interference and set up a Steven Sims Jr. touchdown. 

The point? You don't have to go deep all of the time. "Some of the time'' works when you try to run the ball. 

9. Dustin Hopkins missed another field-goal attempt, late in the game, a failure in trying and add to the winning margin. Misses are not one per game on average, but it's way too many. If Washington was any better, the club probably would have moved on to a new kicker. 

As is? They probably should consider another option because they have very little margin for error.

10. Troy Apke played much more at safety than what was expected in this space. He got beat a few times including early on a third-down and dropped a gift interception.

He wasn't awful by any means but Washington's coverage when Burrow was in the game was not very good. They caught a major break in Burrow's departure, an injury that changed the outcome of the game - physically and emotionally.

And now at 3-7 they ready for a Thanksgiving at Dallas.

"LeBron (James) gonna be watching,'' said Chase Young. "Everybody gonna be watching. It's time to get that money.''

THANKS FOR READING WASHINGTON FOOTBALL ON SI
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