Dak Prescott's 4 1st-Half TDs Power Cowboys to 56-14 Blowout Win Over WFT

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 27, 2021

Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Terence Steele (78) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

The Dallas Cowboys already clinched the NFC East title before kickoff, but they still have their sights on the No. 1 seed in the conference thanks to Sunday's dominant 56-14 win over the Washington Football Team.

Dak Prescott led the way for the Cowboys in the NFC East showdown at AT&T Stadium, helping them improve to 11-4 with a fourth consecutive victory. They are one game back of the 12-3 Green Bay Packers and tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams in the race for the NFC's only first-round bye.

Dallas Cowboys @dallascowboys

Kings of the East👑<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/Ford?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Ford</a> <a href="https://t.co/JXMNzG7iGX">pic.twitter.com/JXMNzG7iGX</a>

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Dak Prescott's touchdown passes tonight have gone to:<br><br>RB Ezekiel Elliott<br>TE Dalton Schultz<br>OT Terence Steele<br>WR Amari Cooper<br><br>Prescott is the first QB in NFL history with a touchdown pass to a RB, WR, TE, and OL in the same game. <a href="https://t.co/ymPyE484nH">pic.twitter.com/ymPyE484nH</a>

Washington continued trending in the wrong direction at 6-9 on the campaign following a third straight loss.

Notable Player Stats

  • Dak Prescott, QB, DAL: 28-of-39 passing for 330 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL: 9 carries for 37 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch for 5 yards, 1 TD
  • Amari Cooper, WR, DAL: 7 catches for 85 yards, 1 TD
  • Dalton Schultz, TE, DAL: 8 catches for 82 yards, 1 TD
  • Taylor Heinicke, QB, WAS: 7-of-22 passing for 121 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
  • Antonio Gibson, RB, WAS: 6 carries for 29 yards; 2 catches for 29 yards, 1 TD

Cowboys Answers Any Concern with Explosive First Half

The Cowboys entered Sunday's contest on a three-game winning streak and in the race for the No. 1 seed, but it was still fair to at least wonder about the offense after it failed to score 30 points in six of the previous eight games with Prescott falling short of 300 passing yards in six of his previous seven contests.

Amari Cooper even said during an interview on 105.3 The Fan he was frustrated with the offense's recent struggles, but he was quite involved in the early going as the home team jumped out to a commanding lead.

Throw in first-quarter touchdown passes from Prescott to Ezekiel Elliott and Dalton Schultz, and it seemed as if the offensive concerns were suddenly a thing of the past as Dallas hit on every cylinder while immediately seizing control of the game.


Dak to Zeke to start the scoring on SNF! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WASvsDAL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WASvsDAL</a> on NBC<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/RVn6kdfzlm">https://t.co/RVn6kdfzlm</a> <a href="https://t.co/9hCBIJHBQL">pic.twitter.com/9hCBIJHBQL</a>


.<a href="https://twitter.com/dak?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Dak</a> is DEALING.<br><br>13-for-14, 128 yards and 2 TDs in the first quarter! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WASvsDAL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WASvsDAL</a> on NBC<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/RVn6kdfzlm">https://t.co/RVn6kdfzlm</a> <a href="https://t.co/JwEWBih6dT">pic.twitter.com/JwEWBih6dT</a>


ZEKE.<br><br>Two first half TDs for <a href="https://twitter.com/EzekielElliott?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EzekielElliott</a> has the <a href="https://twitter.com/dallascowboys?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DallasCowboys</a> up 28-7. <br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WASvsDAL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WASvsDAL</a> on NBC<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/RVn6kdfzlm">https://t.co/RVn6kdfzlm</a> <a href="https://t.co/rtA7VBssPE">pic.twitter.com/rtA7VBssPE</a>


EVERY BIG MAN TD IS BIGGER IN TEXAS! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WASvsDAL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WASvsDAL</a> on NBC<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/RVn6kdfzlm">https://t.co/RVn6kdfzlm</a> <a href="https://t.co/ltM10YJMr6">pic.twitter.com/ltM10YJMr6</a>


.<a href="https://twitter.com/dak?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Dak</a>'s FOURTH TD pass of the first half! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WASvsDAL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WASvsDAL</a> on NBC<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/RVn6kdfzlm">https://t.co/RVn6kdfzlm</a> <a href="https://t.co/2SH7N2wST9">pic.twitter.com/2SH7N2wST9</a>

The offensive fireworks didn't stop in the second quarter, as the Cowboys jumped out to a stunning 42-7 halftime lead after a touchdown run from Elliott, a trick-play pass from Prescott to offensive tackle Terence Steele, and a touchdown catch from Cooper, who could not have been frustrated with how many looks he saw during the dominant showing.

The defense has been winning games of late and was still impressive in its own right, but the Dallas offense figuring things out is a scary proposition for the rest of the NFC. The depth chart is a laundry list of household names with the potential to take over at a moment's notice, and the unit's full potential was on full display in front of a national audience against Washington.

Frankly, the biggest question of the second half was how long the Cowboys starters would remain in the game after they did more than enough to clinch the win in the early going.

That moment came in the third quarter after the special teams scored to extend the advantage by even more as the NFC East champion's attention turned to the critical two-week stretch to finish the regular season before the final whistle even blew.

Washington Puts Up More Fight on Sidelines Than On Field

It's not often a team can be trailing by 35 points at intermission and the poor play on the field wasn't the biggest concern, but that may have been the case for the Football Team.

After all, defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne—who were teammates at Alabama—got into an altercation on the sidelines that NBC's broadcast caught on camera. Payne appeared to stick a finger in his teammate's face, and Allen retaliated by throwing a punch.

There was a reason frustration was so high for the visitors considering the struggles on both sides of the ball. While the defense couldn't contain Dallas, Taylor Heinicke threw an interception to Trevon Diggs on his first throw after missing the last loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Things were getting chippy between former Alabama and now WFT teammates Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne 😳 <a href="https://t.co/WirOvARaGe">pic.twitter.com/WirOvARaGe</a>

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Trevon Diggs with his ELEVENTH INT of the season 🤯<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/X9zf52HMTV">pic.twitter.com/X9zf52HMTV</a>

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

11 INT's and counting this season...<br><br>You think Diggs is in the race for DPOY? 🤔 <a href="https://t.co/grrUmDW2vu">pic.twitter.com/grrUmDW2vu</a>

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Demarcus Lawrence with the unreal INT 😳<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/S3PWu2T2iv">pic.twitter.com/S3PWu2T2iv</a>

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Cowboys block the punt for a TD<br><br>They won't let up 😅<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/bmcSYOiiVP">pic.twitter.com/bmcSYOiiVP</a>

Things got worse in the first quarter when DeMarcus Lawrence returned Heinicke's second pick for a touchdown. It was Dallas' franchise-record sixth defensive touchdown of the year and opened up a three-score advantage.

Antonio Gibson provided a bright spot with a touchdown catch and some solid running, but Washington went through one of the worst halves of football one could possibly script and looked like it realized in real time its season was slipping away after what was once a promising start.

The second half was a complete formality for everyone but gamblers and fantasy football players, yet the Football Team somehow managed to find a new low when Corey Clement blocked a punt that Dallas scooped up for a touchdown.

Washington will want to forget about this game as quickly as possible, but the fact it lost twice to the rival Cowboys in a three-game span late in the season will only linger when the offseason arrives.                  

What's Next?

Both teams are home in Week 17 when the Cowboys face the Arizona Cardinals and the Football Team plays the Eagles.