Washington blows first chance to step over Cowboys when they're down.
Washington blows first chance to step over Cowboys when they're down
The Cowboys last game before Ezekiel Elliotts next big court date is Week 13 in Arlington against NFC East archrival Washington.
On the surface, three weeks out from that game and after the Cowboys got steamrolled in Atlanta, Dallas should be in trouble.
But Washington would have to put Dallas in trouble first. It could have done it Sunday … at home, against Minnesota, against Case Keenum, with the momentum of a stunning win in Seattle the week before.
This was where Washington should have taken its first step over the Cowboys while they were down — and the Cowboys were certifiably down.
Washington blew it.
Because of that, no one should trust Washington to overtake the Cowboys and make them pay for the misfortunes theyre facing — no Elliott for four weeks, but also no Tyron Smith, Sean Lee or Dan Bailey against the Falcons.
If the Cowboys couldnt overcome that, then the team right on their heels in the division, and in the NFC playoff race approaching mid-November, has to take advantage.
In its first try, it didnt, to the tune of 38-30 loss to a Vikings team thats looking better every week, but also one that seemed eager to give away the game.
But realistically, no one should have expected more from Washington. This is who it is, and its likely time for everybody to get used to it.
The team is as hit-or-miss as half the NFL is from week to week. That win over the Seahawks, when the team was so short-handed and in such a hostile atmosphere, was not sustainable.
So it lost early in the afternoon, with its defense betraying it, and its offense short-circuiting in the red zone, and with it digging itself too big a hole to climb out of when Keenum suddenly reverted to form.
And when the Cowboys lost later in the day, the blown opportunity was magnified. Best-case scenario, Washington could have tied Dallas in the standings.
It just stayed behind, instead, and at 4-5 fell further behind the other NFC playoff teams, right at the time teams start watching scoreboards.
The teams in wild-card position right now are two full games ahead, and four 5-4 teams also stand in the way.
Including the vulnerable Cowboys.
The Saints are next for Washington, in New Orleans, winners of seven straight, the last two by a combined 77-20.
Kirk Cousins pushed back at the idea that the situation is getting desperate already.
Theres desperation every snap, so there will be a sense of urgency this week, he said, but shame on us if it isnt there every single week.
Thats the problem — its too hard to tell if the problem from week to week is a missing sense of urgency.
This week, Washington just happened to be the opposite of last week in Seattle … which was the opposite of the week before at home against the Cowboys (with Elliott, of course).
Against the Vikings, there was no momentum carried over. No repeat of the gutsy stand in Seattle without three offensive line starters, including Trent Williams.
No replay of the Cousins heroics in the final minutes, and no copying the defensive surge against Russell Wilson, while facing a lesser quarterback in Keenum.
Washington just got back on the rollercoaster, and it took it where it has been the last three seasons, hanging around .500, never too bad but never that good for long enough.
If Washington was better than that, it would be in good shape in relation to the Cowboys now, and better shape in the last certain Zeke-less game at the end of this month.
At this rate, though, the Cowboys could be more in contention than Washington is.
The opportunity will be wasted. Again.