Prescott shakes off injury as Cowboys rout Redskins
ARLINGTON, Texas — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott shook off a first-half hand injury, and he and running back Alfred Morris powered the Cowboys in the second half on the way to a 38-14 victory over the Washington Redskins on Thursday night at AT&T Stadium.
Prescott passed for 102 yards and two touchdowns, including a 13-yard scoring pass to Dez Bryant early in the fourth quarter that boosted Dallas to a 17-point advantage.
Morris rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown, all but 38 yards coming in the second half. He successfully moved the chains for Dallas (6-6), which had lacked a consistent running game since Ezekiel Elliott began serving a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy four games ago.
The Cowboys’ win helps them get back on their feet in chasing a playoff berth. Prescott said after the game that no one within the organization has given up hope yet.
“It’s exactly what we needed,” Prescott said. “That was Cowboy football. That was to our expectations and our standards. But we can’t sit here on this one victory. We’ve got to move forward. We’ve got to grow off of this one.”
Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 26 of 37 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns. However, he was intercepted twice and fumbled once, part of the Redskins (5-7) losing the turnover battle, 4-0.
“I don’t think it was flat, I think we just dropped the ball,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said. “We had two fumbles and the dropped pass resulted in the interception, so don’t think we came out flat. We just didn’t protect the football.”
Cousins said Dallas’ defensive front kept the Redskins from keeping up on offense. The Cowboys sacked the Washington QB four times.
“I think that they had a really good pass rush tonight,” Cousins said. “There’s a reason pass rushers are highly paid because when you have one they can wreck a game and make a big difference. I thought their pass rush was effective all night long.”
Morris, who played his first four seasons in the NFL with the Redskins, ran 1 yard for a touchdown with 4:55 left in the fourth quarter, sealing the win for Dallas.
Cowboys running back Rod Smith added a 1-yard scoring run with 2:37 left.
Dallas rushed for 182 yards as a team, gaining 4.3 per carry. That marked the Cowboys’ best production in Elliott’s absence.
“I thought Alfred played great,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We wanted to be persistent running the football. They have a lot of guys around the line of scrimmage. The (Cowboys linemen) coming off the line of scrimmage up front were outstanding.”
Prescott went to the locker room during the second quarter to have an injury to his right hand examined, but he returned to the game by the end of the first half. In his postgame press conference, Prescott confirmed that he injured the hand on an option play that converted a third-and-1 from the Redskins’ 10.
The Cowboys scored the game’s first 17 points and held a 17-7 lead at halftime.
The Dallas defense and special teams created a pair of turnovers in the first quarter, but the Cowboys’ offense failed to take advantage of either one.
Cowboys safety Jeff Heath intercepted a Cousins pass after it deflected off the hands of intended receiver Jamison Crowder. Heath returned the interception 14 yards to the Dallas 16, but the Cowboys could not follow up by gaining a first down.
On the ensuing punt, Dallas reserve linebacker Kyle Wilber knocked the ball loose from Crowder’s grasp, and Louis-Philippe Ladouceur recovered for the Cowboys at the Redskins 43-yard line.
But once again, the Dallas offense went three-and-out and had to punt.
“It wasn’t pretty, didn’t go well early in the game,” Prescott said. “But (the Dallas defense) kept us in the game, kept pushing us, giving us turnovers, giving us better field position and we got it clicking.”
The Cowboys finally gained their initial first down on the final play of the first quarter. Prescott scrambled away from pressure and then ran 13 yards to convert a third-and-5 from the Dallas 46.
Prescott then capped the 11-play, 59-yard scoring march when he hit tight end Jason Witten with an 8-yard touchdown pass.
Witten’s score put Dallas ahead 7-0 with 10:43 left in the second quarter.
Dallas eventually converted a turnover into points when DeMarcus Lawrence sacked Cousins, separating the Washington quarterback from the ball. Maliek Collins recovered for the Cowboys at the Redskins 19-yard line.
Dallas’ third takeaway of the first half set up a Dan Bailey field goal from 24 yards out that put the Cowboys ahead 10-0.
Ryan Switzer put the exclamation point on an eventful first half for the Dallas special teams units when he returned a punt 83 yards for a score.
Switzer’s touchdown put the Cowboys in front 17-0 with 3:46 left in the second quarter.
Washington answered before halftime as Cousins led a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Cousins hit wide receiver Ryan Grant with a 20-yard pass for the score with just over a minute remaining before halftime.
NOTES: Dallas won the first game between the team this season 33-19 at Washington. Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, who is currently serving a six-game suspension, rushed for a season-high 150 yards in that contest. ... The Cowboys and Redskins were meeting for the 116th time. Dallas, which entered with a three-game winning streak versus Washington, leads the all-time series 69-44-2. ... Entering the game, Redskins QB Kirk Cousins had been sacked 31 times this season, already eight more times than he was sacked all of last season. He was sacked four times Thursday. ... Redskins RB Samaje Perine, who played high school football in the Austin, Texas, area and college football at Oklahoma, was riding a two-game streak of 100-yard rushing games as he headed back to his old stomping grounds. Perine was limited to 38 yards on 12 carries against the Cowboys.