by Kyle Stackpole & Zach Selby
The Washington Football Team leads the Dallas Cowboys, 17-13, at halftime. Here are three quick hits from the first two quarters.
Running back Antonio Gibson had a breakout game in Washington's Week 7 game against the Cowboys. He contributed the bulk of the team's 208-yard performance on the ground with 128 yards and a touchdown.
Gibson isn't close to that total yet, but he's off to a good start with 43 yards on 11 carries. Add that to his 21 receiving yards, and the third-round rookie has accounted for 42% of Washington's offense and is averaging four yards per touch.
Washington made it clear that it wanted to get Gibson the ball early and often from its opening drive; he touched the ball on four of the team's first five plays. On its second drive, Gibson accounted for 26 yards, including a five-yard run for his ninth rushing touchdown of the year. The score moves him to No. 2 all time by a rookie in franchise history.
Offensive coordinator Scott Turner brought all of his tricks to the table for the Thanksgiving matchup.
With Washington trailing, 3-0, the offense orchestrated a 75-yard drive, and it pulled out an unconventional play to keep the chains moving. The first came on a reverse to Logan Thomas, who then dropped back for a pass and delivered a 28-yard strike to Terry McLaurin.
On Washington's next drive, Smith snapped the ball and handed the ball to J.D. McKissic without the Cowboys' defense seeing it, and McKissic scampered to the left side of the field to pick up a first down. Four plays later, Dustin Hopkins kicked a 23-yard field goal to tie the score at 10.
With first place in the NFC East on the line, Turner has shown he isn't afraid to get yardage however he can.
Big plays have plagued Washington all season, and it continued against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
After safety Kamren Curl's missed tackle allowed the Cowboys to move the chains on 3rd-and-short, quarterback Andy Dalton took a deep shot down the right sideline. Cornerback Ronald Darby seemed to be in good position, but when he turned his head around, he slowed down and let wide receiver Amari Cooper gain separation. Cooper caught the perfectly thrown ball in stride and ran 15 yards into the end zone for a 54-yard touchdown.
Washington has now allowed seven plays of at least 50 yards this season -- tied for the most in the NFL -- and all of them have come in the first half. Darby got beat by Cooper again in the final moments of the second half, resulting in a 28-yard pass interference penalty, but Washington forced the Cowboys into a field goal before the break.