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If clinching a postseason spot in Week 16 without needing to step on the field didn’t solidify the Cowboys’ legitimacy, a 50-burger during Sunday Night Football managed to send the message.
The Cowboys faced off against an intradivision rival in the Washington Football Team, led by Taylor Heinicke. And Dallas dominated, 56-14.
Dallas conquered both sides of the ball. The night’s MVP honors could be split in six among the Cowboys standouts — highlighting great performances by Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, Demarcus Lawrence, rookie Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs.
The running up of the score eventually got to the Washington defense, with tensions escalating on the sideline.
Parsons concurrently ran up the score on his lead for AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, earning his 13th sack of the season. With Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels waxing poetic on Parsons’ versatility, the ascending recognition of the rookie’s impact may even draw votes for AP Defensive Player of the Year. That is, if he beats teammate Trevon Diggs for the award.
Diggs snagged his 11th interception of the season after cutting off a deep pass to Terry McLaurin — tying the all-time record with three games left.
Amari Cooper ended the night as the leading receiver (seven catches, 85 yards, one touchdown), but CeeDee Lamb’s strong start to the game set a pace for the offense to keep riding down the field.
Dallas also showed up on special teams. Cowboys’ Corey Clement blocked a punt from Tress Way with WFT’s back against the end zone. Chauncey Gholston recovered the hopping football in the end zone. The lead extended to 49-7 in the third.
Dak Prescott threw for 330 yards, four touchdowns on 28-of-39. Reporter Michele Tafoya noted that Prescott completed a touchdown to a receiver, running back, tight end and offensive lineman (Terence Steele) — only the second occurrence in NFL history.
With two minutes left in the period, the Cowboys inserted Cooper Rush in place of Prescott.
The game was ready to conclude until Malik Turner added another splash place for Dallas. Turner caught a pass from Rush and traveled 61 yards by dodging nearly every member of the Washington secondary — stopped short of a touchdown. Turner capped the drive with a 9-yard score.
Ezekiel Elliott also receives an honorable mention — adding a rushing score and on the receiving end of a touchdown.
The defense suffocated Heinicke: committing errant turnovers and getting punished by Dallas’ defensive line. Heinicke also threw a pick-six to Tank Lawrence — an encouraging play by a defensive end recovering from offseason foot surgery.
Heinicke completed 7-of-22, throwing for 121 passing yards, one touchdown and an interception.
The Cowboys improve to 11-4 on the season. Washington falls to 6-9. Not nice.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela