No Dwayne Haskins, no Terry McLaurin and no Landon Collins, and it showed on Dec. 29.
The Dallas Cowboys (8-8) defeated the Washington Redskins (3-13) 47-16 in the season finale at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Redskins finish with their worst record since 2013, last in the NFC East Division, and have clinched the second-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by having the second-worst record in the league.
Washington’s long-season, which included the midseason firing of Head Coach Jay Gruden and the debut of rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins comes to an end among speculation about the team’s future.
Interim Head Coach Bill Callahan, who took over after Gruden’s dismissal, said he is optimistic about the team’s future.
“I think there’s a lot of talent across the board, across the defensive front,” Callahan said. “I think there’s young emerging players on offense.”
For Washington, the final game did not mean much in terms of standings. Before the game, the Redskins already clinched last place in the NFC East and had been eliminated from a playoff berth in early December. Key young players such as Haskins, McLaurin and Derrius Guice had been sidelined due to injury, meaning many reserves and backups played against the Cowboys.
Sunday was Case Keenum’s first start since Week 8 against the Minnesota Vikings. For the veteran quarterback, the season has been a rough one beginning the year as the starter, then losing his job after an injury.
Keenum completed 18 of 37 passes for 206 yards with one touchdown and one interception, who started instead of an injured Haskins. He ended his season with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions in eight starts.
Veteran running back, Adrian Peterson rushed for 78 yards on 13 carries Sunday, finishing off his 2019 season with 898 yards rushing.
Haskins sprained his ankle in last week’s game against the New York Giants, and the team ruled him out days before the game against Dallas. Along with Haskins, Washington was missing much of its secondary, including Collins, Troy Apke, Josh Norman, Fabian Moreau and Montae Nicholson.
“We had a whole, entirely new secondary with two new guys right off the street,” Callahan said.
After Dallas pulled to a 20-3 lead, Washington managed to fight their way back into the game. Just before halftime, Keenum led the Redskins on a 10-play, 74-yard drive, finishing it off with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Steven Sims Jr. Washington would then add a field goal early in the third quarter to reduce their deficit down to seven points before the Cowboys pulled away.
The lack of depth on defense showed, as Dallas quickly made plays up and down the field. Dak Prescott completed 23 of 33 passes for 303 yards with four touchdowns and Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 122 yards on 18 carries.
Prescott connected with Michael Gallup for touchdowns on three second-half drives, including receptions of 32 and 45 yards, to give the Cowboys a double-digit advantage by the fourth quarter.
“This was a really tough game for us, unfortunately,” Callahan said. “Credit to Dallas, they’re a fine team, really explosive on the offensive end.”
However, despite the dominant performance from the Cowboys, Dallas came just short of a playoff berth Sunday thanks to a win by the Philadelphia Eagles.
After losing last week against Philadelphia, Dallas needed to beat Washington Sunday and have the Giants beat the Eagles to win the NFC East. Just before the end of the Dallas-Washington game, the Eagles defeated the Giants 34-17 to clinch the NFC East.