Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for two touchdowns as the Cowboys held off Washington’s NFL team, 31-26, in a Thanksgiving showdown on Nov. 24 in Arlington, Texas.
With the victory, the Cowboys (10-1) claimed their franchise-record tenth win in a row to remain in control of the NFC East.
Dallas set the tone early, as Elliott had five touches and scored on the opening drive of the game. Later in the first half, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott threw a dart to Terrance Williams, who impressively balanced on his tip-toes to stay in the end zone while making the catch.
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) prepares to pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, Washington’s offense racked up 240 yards in the first half, almost all through the air. However, Washington reverted back to their early-season form, as they missed good opportunities in the red zone.
Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins missed two field goals from 43 and 55 yards in the first half, with the latter attempt being an unnecessary risk into the glaring sun. Head coach Jay Gruden’s questionable decision gave Dallas a short field, which they turned into a touchdown drive. Hopkins scored Washington’s only points in the first half, making two field goals.
Although Washington’s offense generated 70 yards more than Dallas in the first half, Washington still trailed 17-6 at halftime.
Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (86) lays out to catch a pass in front of Dallas Cowboys’ Byron Jones (31) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
After a scoreless third quarter, Washington tight end Jordan Reed—who had left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury—bounced back with a diving, one-handed 33-yard catch. One play later, Reed caught a three-yard touchdown to bring Washington within five points, 17-12.
In response, Prescott completed long passes to Elliott and wide receivers Cole Beasley and Dez Bryant, before sprinting to the end zone for a six-yard touchdown to extend the Dallas lead to 24-12. Washington responded immediately when DeSean Jackson was left wide open on third and one, and Cousins delivered a perfect throw for a 67-yard touchdown.
After Cousins once again cut the gap, Prescott came back with several clutch plays, including a 26-yard pass to Bryant, who was covered by rookie cornerback Kendall Fuller. On the next play, Elliott rushed into the end zone for his second touchdown.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder (80) attempts to break a tackle by Dallas Cowboys’ Orlando Scandrick (32) in the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
With a little over six minutes left to play, Washington marched 75 yards down the field, culminating in an eight-yard touchdown pass to Reed. However, Hopkins’ onside kick attempt went out of bounds. The Cowboys received the ball at the 47-yard line with less than two minutes left in regulation, and proceeded to run out the clock for a 31-26 win.
Prescott completed 17 of 24 passing attempts for 195 yards and one touchdown. Elliott led with 20 carries for 97 yards and two scores.
Cousins completed 41 of 53 passes for 449 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson had four receptions for 118 yards; Reed finished with 10 receptions for 95 yards.
Next: Washington’s NFL team (6-4-1) will travel to play the Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1) on Dec. 4 in Glendale, Arizona.