© Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
There was a reason the Dallas Cowboys entered their rematch against the Washington Football Team as sizable favorites to move to 11-4 on the season, but no one could’ve predicted the crime scene left at AT&T Stadium in Week 16. After searching desperately for their mojo for nearly two months, Dak Prescott and the offense finally awakened to match serve with an electric defense, and special teams also joined the fray in a 56-14 dismantling of WFT that sent a very clear message to both the NFC East and the NFL as a whole: the Cowboys are still one of the most dangerous teams in the league when they’re firing on all cylinders.
It was a jaw-dropping effort in all three phases by Dallas, who saw Prescott rack up four touchdowns and more than 300 yards passing in the first half alone, and the first two quarters also saw the defense grab two interceptions — including an early takeaway from Trevon Diggs on Washington’s first play from scrimmage and a pick-six from DeMarcus Lawrence — along with three sacks.
The wheels continued to fall off for Taylor Heinicke and Co. in the second half, and even backup Cooper Rush got in on the action when he tossed a touchdown pass to wideout Malik Turner. In all, it wasn’t simply a dominant performance by the Cowboys, in many ways it was the most dominant they’ve ever had against Washington.
Here’s a look at the top 10 eye-popping facts from the blowout in Arlington:
1. Biggest point differential in the rivalry’s history (42)2. WFT’s second-largest loss in the last 60 years3. Lawrence’s pick-six marks fifth for Cowboys in 2021, the most in franchise history4. Diggs’ interception ties him with Everson Walls for most in a season in franchise history5. Diggs is one of only seven players since the merger to record 11 interceptions6. Four different Cowboys WRs with 50+ yards in one half for the first time in franchise history7. Prescott becomes first QB to throw a TD to RB, TE, WR and OL in a regular-season game8. First time in Cowboys history both OL and DL produced a touchdown9. Four passing TDs by Prescott in first half most in franchise history10. Cowboys’ 42 points before halftime tied for most first-half production in franchise history
There was no complacency in the Cowboys in Week 16, even after clinching the NFC East title ahead of kickoff, thanks to the strength of victory tiebreaker against the Philadelphia Eagles falling their way. A loss to Washington would’ve dropped them back to No. 4 in the NFC playoff seedings, but they instead remain in the No. 2 seat with two games remaining and a very real shot at stealing away the No. 1 seed — if the Green Bay Packers suffer a loss in the final two weeks of the regular season.
It was a complete game from the Cowboys and they looked more lethal than they have all season, seemingly now peaking at the right time. All they need to do now is establish consistency before the postseason arrives, but nothing can take away from what they were able to do against Washington in their second meeting in only three weeks.
If Rivera thought his team would have a better showing after being thumped in Week 14, he made a “big mistake”.