The Washington Football Team dominated in every facet of its 25-3 shellacking of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Here are five takeaways from the team's second victory of the season:
1. Antonio Gibson had the first 100-yard rushing game of his career.
Antonio Gibson has shown flashes of excellence through six weeks -- a powerful run here, an electrifying catch and run there -- but the third-round rookie put it all together in his seventh NFL game. On a career-high 20 carries, Gibson went for 128 yards while scoring his team-leading fourth rushing touchdown of the year.
"Just learning the game, and starting to get a feel for it each and every game," Gibson said. "It's new to me to get this many reps at running back, so just learning every week, knowing where my blockers are going so I can anticipate where I need to go before the play actually happens. Just being patient and trusting my blockers is where I feel like I grew in the past two weeks."
Gibson gauged the Dallas defense on his second carry of the game, taking the inside hand-off to the right and bursting upfield for a 40-yard gain. On the next drive, Gibson saw a crevice and exploded through it for a 12-yard score. He amassed 94 rushing yards on 11 touches in the first half alone, then helped Washington run out the clock in the second half.
Gibson has been one of the toughest runners to bring down this season -- his 13 broken tackles entering Sunday were second in the NFL -- but he has not always been patient or decisive enough to turn four-yard carries into bigger gains. He showed that ability against the Cowboys, and he's only going to get better as he gets more experience shouldering the rushing load.
Gibson's breakout rushing performance also helped Washington total a season-high 208 yards on the ground after entering the contest last in the NFL with 82.2 yards per game.
"We established the run game early, which was huge for us," quarterback Kyle Allen said. "It was something that we hadn't really done in previous games, but we committed to the run, we established it early and our running backs and O-line played so well today."
2. QB Kyle Allen bounced back.
After turnovers spoiled an overwise promising performance against New York, Allen made the throws he needed to and took care of the ball en route to earning his first victory as Washington's starter.
Allen only attempted 25 passes but completed 15 of them for 194 yards and two touchdowns -- all of which contributed to a 111.1 passer rating, the fourth-highest of his career. Better yet, Allen did not commit a turnover during a full game for the first time since Week 13.
Allen also took shots downfield, which was something Washington's offense was lacking the first six weeks. First, he connected with a wide open Logan Thomas down the right sideline for a 26-yard gain, which led to the team's first touchdown a few plays later. On Washington's next drive, Allen found Terry McLaurin for a 52-yard score to put Washington ahead, 15-3.
Allen's final statistics will not stand out to those who glance at the box score, but his ability to manage the game while consistently moving down the field are just what the team wants to see out of him.
"I feel like the playbook is really opening up more and more the more we execute," McLaurin said. "And the way Kyle is executing and giving us confidence each and every week, he's playing really well right now."
3. Terry McLaurin beat another defense for a long touchdown.
McLaurin introduced himself to the NFL with a 69-yard touchdown against the Eagles in last year's season-opener, but he has not caught many deep balls this season. A lot of McLaurin's receiving yardage has come after the catch.
But against the Cowboys, McLaurin ran right past rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs for an easy 52-yard score that increased Washington's lead early in the second quarter. These are the types of explosive plays this offense has been missing, but as Allen and McLaurin become more comfortable, expect more deep shots to one of the league's best young playmakers.
"Terry had a really good day," head coach Ron Rivera said. "It was an excellent game to watch, and he played very well. I'm very happy for Terry."
4. Washington's pass-rushers harassed the Cowboys' quarterbacks all day.
As heralded as Washington's defense front was entering the season, it has not had nearly as much success since bringing down Carson Wentz eight times in the season opener. In fact, the unit matched that sack total the past five games.
But with an injury-riddled offensive line and a pocket passer in Andy Dalton, the Cowboys were not capable of handling a defensive front filled with first-rounders.
Montez Sweat recorded two sacks, while Ryan Kerrigan, Cole Holcomb, Tim Settle and Landon Collins all had one each. Collins was able to strip Dalton on his sack, which resulted in a safety to open the scoring.
The constant pressure helped Washington limit Dallas to 142 yards of total offense and three points -- tied for the Cowboys' lowest point total in the 61-year rivalry.
"It definitely makes the game a lot more fun when you have the lead and you know your offense is playing well, your defense is playing well and special teams is playing well, too," said Holcomb, who stuffed the stat sheet with four tackles, two quarterback hits, a pass breakup and an interception. "When everyone is firing on all cylinders, man, we can be a good team. I think playing complimentary football and being able to count on every phase to produce makes it fun."
5. Washington enters the bye week in the thick of the NFC East race.
Teams with 2-5 records are not supposed to be talking about the playoffs, but Washington, like the rest of the underperforming NFC East, is in a unique situation. Through seven weeks, the Eagles are atop the division with a 2-4-1 record. Washington and the Cowboys are tied for second at 2-5, while the Giants have just one win in seven games.
With a 2-1 division record and another matchup with the Giants looming after the bye week, Washington has a legitimate shot to take control of the NFC East, especially if it performs like it did Sunday.
"We're blessed to even be in this situation at two and five," Allen said, "so I think us as a team, we're just taking it one game at a time and trying to figure out our next opponent. Our next one is New York again, and we're going to try and find a way to beat them."