Biggest winners and losers from Week 16 debacle in Dallas
By Jerry Trotta
Winner: Antonio Gibson
Like McLaurin, Gibson was ready to risk it all this game. Playing through a toe injury that greatly hindered his lateral movement and overall agility, Gibson compiled 50 yards from scrimmage, the most of any player on the offense, and the offense’s lone touchdown before a meaningless score late in the fourth quarter.
Let’s remember the lack of recovery time Gibson had to get cleared. He suffered the injury Tuesday against the Eagles and was arguably the best player on the offensive side of the ball for Washington.
What a warrior, man.
Loser: Entire secondary
You know it was a forgettable night when the secondary checks in fourth in the loser pecking order. Make no mistake, though, the backend of Washington’s defense resembled an Oprah episode, because it felt like every Cowboys skill position player gashed Jack Del Rio’s secondary.
Per Pro Football Focus, Kendall Fuller and Darryl Roberts, filling in for the injured William Jackson on the outside, allowed 110 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. The safeties, meanwhile, weren’t much better, as Bobby McCain and Kam Curl conceded 109 yards and a TD on 10 targets.
For added context, FIVE Dallas wideouts finished with over 50 yards receiving and three — Amari Cooper (85), Malik Turner (82) and Dalton Schultz (82) — notched at least 80 yards. That trio also caught a touchdown each.
Depleted or not, that, once again, is inexcusable.
Loser: Entire defensive line
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the defensive line.
Maybe Allen’s and Payne’s mix-up had a worse effect on the team than we thought, because Washington’s DL was a disaster.
Aside from giving Prescott all the time in the world to pick apart the undermanned secondary, the group was dysfunctional all night. On consecutive plays in the second quarter, James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill ran onto the field late and weren’t close to getting set before Prescott got the snap off.
That legitimately never happens in the NFL.
Beyond those gaffes, the line as a whole was just dominated at the point of attack by Dallas’ offensive line, kind of like Tuesday against Philly. The lack of discipline (players were running into each other a lot) was a sight to behold and further highlighted this group’s struggles to flip the script amid adversity.
That should just about do it. The fact that you can make a case for each loser to be the game’s biggest stinker tells you all you need to know. As for the winners, well, we thank them for being consummate professionals.