Rely on your defense, run over them to make them more vulnerable, and then pass them a punch downfield.
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Both the Cowboys and the Washington Commanders like using this strategy, but Dallas was able to carry it out almost flawlessly in a 25-10 victory over their NFC East foe.
This 2022 iteration of the renowned Doomsday Defenses was once again excellent, carrying on the tradition of their magnificence. Dallas had six tackles for loss, two sacks, 11 quarterback hits, and only allowed 155 passing yards as a team. It was the first time the Cowboys had done so in the first four games of a season since the original Doomsday Defense in 1973. The Cowboys also kept their opponent to under 20 points for the fourth straight game.
Furthermore, Trevon Diggs demonstrated once again why he is one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, recording his second interception in as many games while also breaking up two important fourth-down attempts, one in the end zone. In the secondary, he received plenty of support from safety Donovan Wilson and Malik Hooker, who finished with nine and eight tackles, respectively.
Cooper Rush and the Cowboys offense were able to achieve the required points with that sort of defensive help, as well as the Commanders getting penalized 11 times for 136 yards in the game. Rush became the first quarterback in Dallas history to win his first four games, completing 15 of 27 pass attempts for 223 yards and two touchdowns and a 107.5 passer rating.
On the receiving end of several of those passes was CeeDee Lamb, who had 97 yards and a score on six catches, which was his greatest receiving total since Rush's first career victory versus Minnesota on October 31, 2002.
But hey, Michael Gallup is back. After missing the first three games while rehabbing from a knee ailment, the wide receiver made his 2022 debut. His only contributions were two catches for a total of 24 receiving yards, two pass interference penalties for a total of 65 more yards, and a score.
The first quarter
Washington mustered only 23 yards of offense in the first quarter, including just three yards passing, and was unable to advance past their own 40-yard line. The Dallas defense applied pressure frequently and early.
As a result, Brett Maher's 53-yard field goal to start the game provided the offensive side some breathing room. Just two more than the team record for a season were made by his fourth field goal of at least 50 yards through four games.
The Cowboys drove into enemy territory on their third possession, courtesy to back-to-back Rush completions to Lamb for 23 and 16 yards. Dallas, on the other hand, had to settle for another field goal, this time from Maher on the first play of the second quarter, splitting the uprights for a 6-0 lead.
The second quarter
Washington, on the other hand, finally got its offense rolling on its second possession of the second period. With the pendulum moving to the visitor's side, they began at their own 35-yard line and traveled 65 yards. The Commanders ran four times, the longest of which was a 33-yard sprint by J.D. McKissic, and passed three times, the last of which was a 10-yard loft from Carson Wentz to Jahan Dotson to give Washington the lead.
But Rush and the Cowboys answered with a flawless drive to reclaim the lead. The offense used 15 plays and 6:01 of time to get 75 yards to the end zone. Dallas did get a respite when a possible interception was called back due to Washington's improper contact penalty. When given a second opportunity, the Cowboys capitalized.
Rush connected Gallup for a 15-yard gain on third-and-8, the receiver's first grab since returning from a knee ailment. Rush then rolled to his right to evade pressure before finding Gallup racing through the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown hookup. The subsequent extra point was denied.
Any last-second Washington threat was put a stop by a Diggs interception, his second of the year, and Dallas went into halftime leading 12-7.
The third quarter
With neither team able to generate any offensive momentum in the first few minutes of the third quarter, the second half started as a defensive struggle. But then the Cowboys were hit by lightning when Rush found Noah Brown in the end zone on first down for a massive gain of 45 yards that put them at the Washington 17-yard line. Maher added to the score with a 28-yard field goal, but the team was unable to enter the end zone.
Wentz and company were able to get to the Cowboys' 17-yard line, keeping Washington in the game. The Commanders were forced back by two penalties, but they were still able to add a 45-yard field goal to hold the score at 15-10.
The fourth quarter
Any wringing of hands at the close score didn't last long. Rush tried to go deep to Gallup on a second-and-8 from his own 27-yard line, but Washington ruled pass interference. The Cowboys needed only two more plays to cross the goal line after moving to the Commanders' 35-yard line. Rush hit Lamb on a post pattern for a 30-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Of course, nothing comes easily, and after Pro Bowl punter Bryan Anger shanked a punt from his own end zone, Washington was on the Cowboys' 30-yard line. The Dallas defense, on the other hand, did what the Dallas defense does. The Commanders advanced to the Cowboys' 10-yard line, but on third-and-9, Dante Fowler raced in for the sack, which was followed by Diggs knocking up a throw in the end zone on fourth down, giving Dallas possession.
Everyone appeared to be going on the defensive. DaRon Bland, a rookie, had yet to play a defensive snap this season, but when Jourdan Lewis went down with a groin injury, Bland stepped up. On the Commanders' following drive, he had three tackles and his first career interception, putting Dallas the ball at Washington's 20-yard line.
This culminated in Maher's fourth field goal of the day, a 29-yarder to complete the scoring and clinch the victory.
Riding a three-game winning run, the Cowboys now face two of their toughest opponents on the schedule, the Los Angeles Rams next weekend and the rival Philadelphia Eagles in two weeks.