The Washington Football Team was dealt a 27-20 loss by the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The Burgundy & Gold came into the matchup flying high on a four-game win streak but failed to produce more of that magic against its division rivals in Week 14. Here are some numbers to know from Washington's first defeat since October
In its last four games, Washington's third down conversion rate has been a respectable 50%. In the last three games, it ranked in the top half of the league. That number has been an indication of the team's offensive emergence in the back half of the season. Since the bye week, the Burgundy & Gold have done a significantly better job at scooping up yards to extend drives, setting itself up to make the plays that have led to this unbeaten run.
Today though, Washington's third down conversion rate was just 3-of-15, or 20%. The offense sputtered against a potent Dallas defense, starring Micah Parsons, who completed five sacks and forced three fumbles.
Washington went 0-of-6 on its first six third down attempts and couldn't get a conversion until the start of the third quarter. It didn't do much to help Washington turn things around, as its meager 17-yard drive was its longest of the day at the time. Washington's final two conversions came in the fourth quarter, but it dealt with a fumble and two punts before finding more success in such situations.
With more than half of Washington's division games still left to play, Washington must get back to its triumphs from last month in order to keep its playoff hopes alive.
The Washington Football Team hosted the Dallas Cowboys for Week 14 and suffered a 27-20 loss despite a late comeback. Check out the top shots from the action. (Photos by Emilee Fails, Karlee Sell, and Joseph Noyes/Washington Football Team)
The number four was always going to be a number to know heading into this battle as Washington's win streak, and while it does have something to do with Taylor Heinicke, it isn't a positive.
Dallas forced Washington to turnover the ball four times (three fumbles and one interception). Heinicke was the one who converted the first two, both of which came in the first three drives on the first quarter. The first was a result of the Cowboys reading a screen pass intended for DeAndre Carter, as Randy Gregory tipped the ball to himself before picking off the pass and returning it to Washington's 41-yard line.
The next was even more detrimental; with Washington facing a fourth-and-2, the ball popped loose from Heinicke's grasp as he was sacks for a 12-yard loss. Dorance Armstrong scooped up the ball and returned it 37 yards for the score.
In the third quarter, with Washington trying to mount a comeback, Antonio Gibson coughed up the ball at Washington's 25-yard line. In total, Washington's first three turnovers resulted in 17 points.
The fourth one, however, ended up costing Washington the game. As Kyle Allen was trying to escape a sack, an attempt to throw the ball away was ruled a fumble, and with Dallas converting a third down before the two-minute warning, all the Cowboys needed to do was run out the clock.
Washington's defense had its hands full trying to contain a Dallas offense that, going into Sunday, averaged the second-most points per game in the league. Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb have helped motor the NFC East leader's wildly productive offense, although that haven't spent much time on the field all together this season.
The home team this afternoon struggled to stop these three in its first loss in five weeks. Cooper finished the game with 51 yards, Lamb with 76 and Gallup with 60 – a combined total of 187 yards. This tally accounted for over 58% of Dallas' total and 89% of Dallas' passing yards.
Dallas can credit Cooper to putting it up by double digits. He completed a seven-yard touchdown grab after Heinicke's interception and was wide open in the middle of the end zone. Lamb had a pair of grabs in the first half that helped the Cowboys get in field goal range.
Washington gave up 211 yards on Sunday, which in reality isn't a bad outing. But when a team has three top options at receiver, Washington must be better at containing them and limiting big plays.