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Instant analysis | Commanders drop third straight with 45-10 loss to Cowboys


Brandin Cooks was sprinting across the field after shaking Benjamin St-Juste and Percy Butler and heading straight for the end zone.

Dak Prescott, lined up in shotgun at the Washington Commanders' 31, rolled to his right and waited a tick before unloading a shot to his wideout across the field. Cooks caught it with little effort and put the Dallas Cowboys up by two scores with about eight minutes left in the first half.

It's been the story of the Commanders' defense all year. Wide receivers have had an easy time of finding wide open holes in the secondary and capitalizing on them. It's the primary reason why the defense, which is last in points allowed and near the bottom in yards allowed, leads the league in explosive plays given up through 12 games.

While there were certainly less of them in the Commanders' 45-10 Thanksgiving loss to the Cowboys, partly because Prescott simply missed on them, they were enough to bury the Burgundy & Gold in its third-straight defeat.

Check out the top photos of the Washington Commanders at AT&T Stadium for their Week 12 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)

With the loss that makes their record 4-8, the Commanders have given up at least 30 points in seven of 12 games.

The score might not look like it, but Washington did actually have a shot to create a different outcome until the fourth quarter. Up to that point, the Commanders were only down 10 points with plenty of time to make things interesting.

When the Cowboys were humming, there was little the Commanders could do to stop them. They marched 90 yards downfield on nine plays after punting on their opening drive and capped things off with Prescott dumping it off to Rico Dowdle, who ran it into the end zone for the 15-yard score.

Then, after a 43-yard field goal from Joey Slye, Prescott found Cooks on the 31-yard score that wrapped up a six-play, 75-yard drive and made the score 14-3.

The closest the Commanders got to making it a game came on their ensuing drive. Sam Howell, who finished the night with 300 yards, converted two third downs as part of a 13-play drive. Howell hit Curtis Samuel, his favorite receiver with 100 yards on nine catches, for a 13-yard pickup that put them at the 1-yard line, and Howell decided to run the ball in himself and make the score 14-10.

With all three timeouts and 1:51 in the second quarter, there was hope that Washington could actually get the ball back possibly take the lead before halftime. That evaporated quickly, however, as Dallas moved 75 yards in 90 seconds and made the score 20-10 with a seven-yard touchdown run from Tony Pollard.

Then, after a relatively eventless third quarter, the Cowboys began to put the game away.

It started slow. After holding the Commanders to 11 yards on six plays, the Cowboys tacked on a 52-yard field goal to make things 23-10. That was followed by the Commanders failing to convert a fourth-and-1 at their own 34-yard line, and the Cowboys only needed three plays to get in the end zone again with a 15-yard score from CeeDee Lamb, who had 53 yards on four catches.

Another Commanders turnover on downs was followed by another Cowboys touchdown. This time, it was KaVontae Turpin who got in the end zone with a 34-yard strike from Prescott.

Then, there was the dagger. Howell's pass intended for Jahan Dotson was intercepted by DaRon Bland, who broke an NFL record with his 63-yard return for a touchdown.

In the end, despite picking up two more first downs and controlling the clock for nearly 14 more minutes, the Commanders gave up 431 yards to Dallas and forced zero sacks on just 50 plays.

Washington's next game is against the Miami Dolphins at FedExField. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on Dec. 3.

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