NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 16 Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys 56, Washington Football Team 14

Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrates throwing a touchdown against the Washington Football Team during the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After securing the NFC East earlier in the day, the Dallas Cowboys crushed the Washington Football Team 56-14 to plant its flag as the NFC’s team to beat.

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Dallas Cowboys

Quarterback

Dak Prescott cut through Washington’s defense with ease, passing for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Over 72% of his yardage came at the catch point, regularly putting the ball into the right windows.

Dropbacks 44
Passing Yards 330
Passing Touchdowns 4
Average Depth of Target 11.5
Passer Rating 131.4
Running Back

The first half felt like a trip to years past, with Ezekiel Elliott converting key plays into first downs and scores. He averaged just 4.1 yards per carry by the game’s end, but his early production was key in stretching the lead.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper combined for 151 yards on 16 targets Sunday, with Cooper reaching the end zone. This season, Cooper has taken the top off of defenses and allowed Lamb to work in the intermediate areas, and that M.O. continued on Sunday night.

Player Yards Per Route Run Average Depth of Target Targets WR Rating
CeeDee Lamb 1.74 11.6 5 118.8
Amari Cooper 2.24 15.4 11 117.6
Offensive Line

The Dallas offensive line created enough movement in the run game to frustrate Washington's first-level defenders. In the passing game, the pressure generated wasn’t enough to affect the game. Tyler Biadasz struggled to handle the Football Team's pass rush, but even his five conceded pressures did little to ruin Prescott’s timing.

Defensive Line

Dallas’ pass rush created pressure on what felt like every Washington dropback, with all but two defensive linemen logging a pressure on Sunday. Demarcus Lawrence, Tarell Basham, Chauncey Gholston and Dorance Armstrong each had at least a share of a sack.

Linebackers

Micah Parsons is angling for a legendary occurrence — a first-year player winning Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and making the first team on the NFL’s All-Pro team. Parsons blazed his way to a sack, two run stops and a pair of solo tackles. There isn’t a phase of the game Parsons can’t affect with his athletic ability.

Secondary

Trevon Diggs came up with yet another interception, staying in the NFL lead with 11 through Sunday’s action. His boom-or-bust play style was on full display, with just two receptions allowing 63 yards.

Washington Football Team

Quarterback

Washington’s RPO-heavy approach couldn’t protect its passing game at any point in Sunday’s matchup. Before Taylor Heinicke‘s merciful benching, the QB completed less than half of his 22 passes for fewer than 150 yards, with some back-breaking sacks and turnovers.

Dropbacks 26
Passing Yards 121
Interceptions 2
Average Depth of Target 10.2
Yards Per Attempt 5.5
Running Back

Antonio Gibson wasn’t ever in a position to affect the game's outcome because WFT was chasing multiple scores so early. Only one of his six carries resulted in a first down or a score, and his 29 yards on six tries is better for the average than the bottom line.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Terry McLaurin and Dyami Brown, WFT’s young and dynamic receiving duo, were eliminated from the game by Dallas’ coverage defenders. The two receivers combined for five receptions on just eight targets and totaled 93 yards. It felt like a deep completion to Brown was the only play of consequence either made.

Player Yards Per Route Run Average Depth of Target Targets WR Rating
Dyami Brown 5.3 25.0 2 118.8
Terry McLaurin 1.18 19.2 6 31.9
Offensive Line

Each of Washington’s offensive linemen allowed at least one pressure, with Ereck Flowers reliably conceding a sack. The front five lost to a pass rush move on six separate occasions, forcing Heinicke to make uncomfortable throws.

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Defensive Line

Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne had a sideline spat caught by NBC’s broadcast, but the teammates were the only two to produce up front for WFT. Despite their inability to affect the run game, the pair combined for six pressures and a sack as pass-rushers.

Linebackers

David Mayo logged the most snaps at the LB position for WFT but couldn’t do much to affect the game against the run or the pass. Mayo’s tackle for loss and pair of run stops helped the stat line, but Dallas had no problem working behind schedule. In coverage, he allowed 83 yards and a couple of scores.

Secondary

The same coverage issues plaguing WFT all season came to a severe crescendo on prime-time television. The safeties, Kamren Curl and Bobby McCain, allowed 109 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. Corners Kendall Fuller and Darryl Roberts allowed 110 yards and a score of their own on 14 targets.

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