The Cowboys’ outlook was bleak at halftime, when they trailed a one-win Washington team by 19 points.
Things got worse.
Andy Dalton has now recorded two starts as quarterback for the Cowboys.
Dallas lost each contest by more than 20 points, falling to the Washington Football Team 25-3 on Sunday. In the third quarter at FedEx Field, the Cowboys also lost Dalton.
On a day when he was averaging fewer than 4 yards per pass attempt, Dalton tucked the ball and scrambled six yards to Dallas’ 9. Washington linebacker Jon Bostic lowered his shoulder to deliver a fierce blow to Dalton’s head. Dalton lost his helmet, was helped off the field and soon was ruled out of the contest with a concussion. Bostic was ejected.
15 days. Two Cowboys QBs helped off field: pic.twitter.com/VG2Co1HTYh
A Dallas offense now down five linemen, a tight end and two quarterbacks sent seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci in behind center. DiNucci, like Dalton, would take three sacks.
Undoubtedly, the Cowboys' quarterback health—or lack thereof—has hurt a team that fell to 2-5 for the fifth time in the franchise’s 61-year history. Ball security plagues the group, too. Running back Ezekiel Elliott, who lost two fumbles last week vs. Arizona, didn’t lose a ball in 12 carries. But a Dalton pass slightly behind Elliott tipped Elliott’s hands before bouncing into the eager grasp of a diving Washington linebacker Chase Holcomb.
Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Dallas Cowboys is helped off the field after being hit and injured by Jon Bostic #53 (not pictured) of the Washington Football Team in the third quarter of the game at FedExField on October 25, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo: Patrick McDermott, Getty Images)
Similarly on defense, success was only relative. The Cowboys’ allowed just 3 points in the second half, and their 25 total were 11 fewer than the franchise-worst season average. Still, Dallas ceded 125 first-half rushing yards to a team that previously hadn’t posted more than 117 in game. And the Cowboys again failed to stop big plays, this time to the tune of the 40-, 26- and 52-yard gains in the first four drives.
Washington quarterback Kyle Allen completed 15 of 25 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie running back Antonio Gibson posted a career-high 128 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries
The Cowboys will face the NFC East leading Eagles (2-4-1) in Philadelphia next week.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein
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