By Mark F. Gray
Special to the AFRO
Channeling the shadows of the legendary coach and current Fox Sports NFL analyst Jimmy Johnson, the Dallas Cowboys came into FedEx Field after talking the talk last Sunday. However, it was their defense that walked over the Washington Football Team, which propelled them to a 27-20 victory and cemented their command of the NFC East Division.
Washington’s offense manufactured two scores for the Cowboys defense who took advantage of a depleted offensive line. Micah Parsons made a case for becoming the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and it’s Most Valuable Player. He sacked Taylor Heinicke twice and forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown that sucked the life from the home team’s fans. Doran Armstrong recovered the fumble and made a 37 yard house call for the score.
Armstrong and his teammates celebrated his touchdown with some of the many Cowboys by turning the Washington home stadium into an annex of AT&T Stadium in Dallas. The fans in blue outnumbered their Burgundy and Gold counterparts for what felt like a home game for the leaders of the NFC East. After their coach Mike McCarthy guaranteed victory, they brought their personal accessories as part of a takeover with custom benches on the visiting sideline.
In one play, all the warm fuzziness that was buzzing around the team during the four-game losing streak was left for dead. Washington gave up 18 points in the first quarter, which was more than they had given up per game over the past month as they were playing themselves back into contention.
Later in the opening stanza, Randy Gregory also played a part in helping the Cowboys take control of the game and regain it’s hold on the division. His acrobatic deflection and interception returned for another touchdown capped an early stretch where Dallas went ahead and never looked back. It was his first day back in the lineup after spending seven weeks on the injured list.
The Football Team looked dazed and confused after the Gregory play and needed pro football’s version of a standing eight count to recover. They trailed by margins of Dallas led 24-0 and 27-8 before Kyle Allen replaced Taylor Heinicke and led them on a 73-yard touchdown drive to give them hope Cole Holcomb intercepted Dak Prescott and ran it back for a pick-6. Washington’s comeback bid came to an end when Allen fumbled with 2:24 remaining.
Washington’s season ending tour around the NFC meets Philadelphia next weekend. Resilience is in long supply, which is something that this team continues to display each week and will be the impetus for what carries them through the gauntlet of division foes during the stretch of Russian roulette games they play to end the season.
However, it will take more than just the ability to overcome the conventional adversity that all teams face when trying to win a division or earn a spot in the playoffs. Washington is running out of quality bodies to replace the ones who continue falling.
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