October 20, 2019

Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys: Five Takeaways

In what was ultimately a victory lap, the Washington Redskins rolled through the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, finishing off their first winning regular season since 2012.

The game’s eventual final score, 34-23, was not indicative of how much better the Redskins were on this day. Jay Gruden’s first team offense, led by fourth-year quarterback Kirk Cousins, jumped out to a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.

For the remainder of the game, backup quarterback Colt McCoy directed the offense, leading them to 16 points over the final three quarters. McCoy’s appearance did not come as a surprise as Gruden said late last week that Cousins would start, but that the number of snaps he would receive was still unknown.

Now heading into the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, the Redskins have plenty of momentum. Not only did they run roughshod on the road against their rivals, Washington finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak, and won five of their last six overall.

After an ugly start to the season, the Redskins seemed destined for another “rebuilding year.” Instead, they’re heading to the playoffs as a team that is just now reaching its stride. Along with that takeaway, here are five more from their regular-season-finale-victory over the Cowboys.

1. Kirk Cousins Sets A Record

With 176 yards on 12-of-15 passing, Cousins set the Redskins’ all-time mark for passing yards in a single season with 4,166 (Jay Schroeder previously held it). In his lone quarter of action, Cousins tossed three touchdowns, bringing his season total 29 and tying Joe Theismann for second all-time in that seasonal category, as well (two behind Sonny Jurgensen’s 31). Several weeks ago, we were wondering whether Cousins could maintain this play. After the strength with which he finished the season, I think we have our answer. And, he’ll receive his pay day.

2. Even More Depleted Secondary

Joe Barry has some issues facing him in the secondary. DeAngelo Hall (later returned), Dashaun Phillips and Jeron Johnson all missed time on Sunday with an injury, Phillips eventually being transported to a hospital. The Redskins’ secondary has been their weakest point defensively, and depth has certainly contributed to that. Barry will need to retool his gameplan come Wild Card Weekend so that the defensive backfield won’t be the reason for an early exit from the playoffs.

3. Young Receivers Put On Show

Rookie Jamison Crowder, second-year player Rashad Ross and third-year receiver Ryan Grant combined for 10 receptions, 198 yards and three touchdowns, with Crowder receiving a majority of the attention with a team-high seven targets. The Redskins’ fleet of receivers is impressive enough with Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed, but add in these three young guns and they only get stronger. Cousins has had an impressive season, but don’t forget about the talent that he has at his disposal.

4. Linebackers Get Their Credit

The Redskins’ linebackers have been a rather unheralded unit this season. Led by Will Compton with 89 tackles, the unit is young, but has seen several unknowns step up this season and assert themselves, such as Compton. After battling through injuries this season, Keenan Robinson was back on the field for the first time since early October on Sunday afternoon, and Mason Foster continued his surprisingly consistent season, as well. Rookie linebacker Preston Smith registered his eighth sack of the season, including his fifth in the last three games.

5. Morris Hits The Century Mark

For the first time since Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins, fourth-year running back Alfred Morris broke the century mark for the Redskins. With 100 yards on 19 carries, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry, just the third time this season he averaged at least five years per carry. Washington has done a good job of sticking with the running game and maintaining that balance through the season. Perhaps now they’re starting to bear the fruits of their labor.

About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Nationals and college football. He is a born-and-raised follower of Washington, D.C. sports, “The” Ohio State Buckeyes and auto racing. A graduate of Shepherd University in December of 2014, he has a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a Concentration in Sports Communications. Prior to joining District Sports Page (for his second stint), he spent time with Rant Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Washington Redskins. For his day job, he is an Editor for Team Velocity Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

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