A week removed from a barn burner versus the Denver Broncos, the Dallas Cowboys held on to a victory on Sunday evening against NFC East rival Washington thanks in part to key special teams plays and the performance from its bend-but-don't-break defense.
The Cowboys (3-3) beat the Redskins (1-4) 31-16 despite surrendering 433 total yards of offense, including 216 yards rushing on 33 attempts.
Though the Cowboys were far less impressive tonight than vs Peyton, and despite the injuries, I still like them to make the playoffs.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) October 14, 2013
Quarterback Tony Romo amassed just 170 yards passing a week after setting a career-high mark with 506 versus the Broncos last Sunday. And with the loss of running back DeMarco Murray to a sprained left knee, Dallas totaled just 218 yards of offense.
NBC Sports' Tony Dungy weighed in on Dallas' approach to Washington during the game.
It's important for Cowboys to put last week's game behind them, & not to believe in moral victories. Don't take Redskins for granted #SNF— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) October 14, 2013
But a pair of special teams plays from Dwayne Harris helped a dismal Dallas offense overcome its shortcomings on Sunday evening.
Harris returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to give the Cowboys a 14-3 lead. Harris followed suit with a 90-yard kickoff return late in the fourth quarter to setup a touchdown, which gave Dallas a 31-16 lead with under nine minutes to play.
He would finish with 222 total return yards.
Washington's Robert Griffin III showed signs of rejuvenation, throwing for 246 yards and rushing for another 77. But three sacks and two costly turnovers in the fourth quarter, including a late interception in Dallas' end zone, sealed Washington's chances of remaining perfect in Arlington behind Griffin III.
ESPN's Skip Bayless had choice words for last season's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Back to back sorry mistakes by an RG3 who was so spectacular last season. Now, sad shell of 2012 self.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) October 14, 2013
The Cowboys have a chance to take sole control of the NFC East next Sunday when they travel to face Philadelphia (3-3). Washington, however, is slated against division leaders Denver and Chicago in the upcoming weeks.