Week 14 Reality Checks: Dallas at Washington
By Tim Payne
We made it, Washington Football Team fans. We made it to December with our team primed to play meaningful games all month. After a 2-6 start to the season, it was fair to wonder if Washington would play a meaningful game against their arch-rival Dallas Cowboys this year.
The NFL took a big risk pushing all of Washington’s matchups against Dallas and Philly to December. Without a remarkable run over the last four weeks, those games might have been real duds. But, with a combination of improved defense, timely offensive production, clutch kicking and a sprinkling of good luck, Washington is now a stone’s throw from the playoffs. (Sorry, the dad in me couldn’t resist that one.)
The surprising four-game winning streak has guaranteed Washington meaningful games over the next few weeks. The question is, how can the team go about successfully navigating the “round robin” head coach Ron Rivera has been talking about for months. First up, “We Want Dallas”. What will it take to pull within one game of the division leader this Sunday? Let’s jump into our Dallas Week Reality Checks:
Washington Football Team Week 14 Reality Checks
5. The Reality Is, Terry McLaurin has to break back out.
Early in the season, McLaurin was about the only member of Washington’s offense that was producing. He once again reminded the league that he was much more valuable than his draft position indicated. And then teams started rolling more coverage his way, and his opportunities began to dry up.
Combine that with Washington’s newfound commitment to the running game, and McLaurin’s production has dropped off dramatically, with under 60 yards in four of his last five games. After losing Logan Thomas again, Washington needs to find ways to feed McLaurin and get him in single coverage.
The Cowboys’ secondary has shown a penchant to commit pass interference penalties in man coverage, so Scott Turner needs to scheme up some single coverage opportunities for McLaurin and take some big chunk play-action shots to him. The best receivers in the league benefit from their coordinators finding ways to feed them. McLaurin has earned that with his contested catch rate and his impeccable route running and hustle.
It’s time for a signature Scary Terry game.