Dak Prescott throws four TDs as Cowboys crush Commanders

ARLINGTON, Texas — The home success just keeps on coming for the Dallas Cowboys, although the timing of this one was a little different than the previous four home games.

This time the Cowboys scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to put away Washington and maintain supremacy at AT&T Stadium, outscoring opponents 198-60.

More importantly they kept their chase of the Philadelphia Eagles alive with their 45-10 win against the Commanders.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw four more touchdown passes and completed passes to 10 different players. The defense forced three fourth-down stops in the second half. Brandon Aubrey made his 22nd straight field goal try of the season.

And to cap it off, DaRon Bland set an NFL record with his fifth pick-six of the season and second in five days, returning a Sam Howell pass 63 yards.

Now comes the fun part for the Cowboys: In their next five games they play the Seattle Seahawks, Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions. They will have their chance to show if they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender as the final stretch beckons.

Dallas Cowboys

QB breakdown: Dak Prescott has said he feels like he’s in the zone. Thursday was a continuation, even though Prescott had a couple of throws he may have liked back, like a deep ball on the first drive to CeeDee Lamb and an overthrow of Jake Ferguson in the third quarter.

But when it mattered, he made the play and avoided mistakes. In his last six games, Prescott has 18 touchdown passes (four vs. Washington to Rico Dowdle, Brandin Cooks, CeeDee Lamb, KaVontae Turpin) and two interceptions. His last hot stretch: the first six games of the 2021 season when he had 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions.

Pivotal play: Let’s call it plays. Washington was moving the ball well on its first drive of the third quarter when on third and 1, Stephon Gilmore perfectly read a double move from Terry McLaurin and was with him stride for stride at the goal line to knock away a Sam Howell pass. On fourth and 1, Osa Odighizuwa swallowed up Brian Robinson Jr. to give the Cowboys the ball at their 41. The Cowboys did not have a takeaway through three quarters on Thursday but this was as good as one.

Promising trend: The Cowboys might not be as good as they were last year in the red zone when they scored touchdowns 71% of the time, but it’s much better than the first five games when they scored on seven of 19 possessions inside the opponent’s 20. The Cowboys scored on all three of their red zone trips against Washington and have scored on 18 of their last 27 drives inside the opposition’s 20.

Next game: vs. Seahawks (8:15 p.m. ET, Nov. 30)

Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders are making owner Josh Harris’ decision on the coaching staff easier by the game.

They have now lost eight of their last 10. Harris has not wanted to make an in-season move with the staff, according to multiple sources, but that was before another ugly loss 45-10 loss to the Cowboys.

Harris could still wait until season’s end to make a decision on the staff, but at 4-8 the Commanders continue to head in the wrong direction. They have played two games on national TV this season — hosting previously winless Chicago in Week 4 — and have been outscored by a combined 85-30.

Troubling trend: Washington is now 0-5 in the NFC East, with one division game remaining — the season finale at home vs. the Cowboys. The inability to compete within the division has been a primary culprit in their failures. Washington is 4-12-1 the last three years in the division. In the last 10 years, the franchise has posted a winning record twice in the NFC East.

Troubling trend, part 2: Washington has had too many games this season where one side of the ball does well in a half but the other side struggles. Against Dallas, the Commanders’ offense managed 205 first-half yards and 10 points. But the defense surrendered 272 yards and 20 points. A good start would have made a huge difference. In the second half the defense started strong with two three-and-outs then gave up 17 points.

QB breakdown: Sam Howell was under duress most of the day and was able to make plays with his legs, escaping the pocket and keeping his eyes downfield. Though he threw for 300 yards, he had a costly pick-six late in the fourth quarter. He was sharp in the first half, completing 16-of-23 passes for 155 yards and running for a score. But he misfired on key throws in the second half and could not lead any scoring drives.

Next game: vs. Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, Dec. 3)

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