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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

3-and-out: Redskins-Cowboys post-game quick hits

November 22, 2018 - 10:23 pm
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106.7 The Fan Redskins beat reporter Craig Hoffman was in the press box at AT&T Stadium as the Washington Redskins took on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12 of the season. He combined his observations with post-game interviews to write his top-three takeaways from this week in football:

DALLAS – The Redskins had chances, but didn't make enough of them as they lost the game and the lead in the division to the Cowboys. The two teams are tied for first place.

1. Colt McCoy was exactly as advertised. It was an exciting brand of football to watch, both for the good and the bad. There were exciting, off-platform throws, such as one for a first down to Jordan Reed, followed by a duck of an interception in the direction of Trey Quinn.

He got out of the pocket and moved. He got balls batted, including one for an interception during a crucial second half sequence. This is going to be the Colt McCoy experience.

"I'm giving guys chances to make plays," McCoy said afterwards. I've got to trust that they’ll do that."  

Jordan Reed and Josh Doctson will benefit because they thrive in those situations. Doctson had a career-high six receptions.

Trey Quinn's production will be about the same. A guy like Maurice Harris, who thrived off some of the things that Smith does better than McCoy and isn't capable of outmuscling DB's, will suffer.

McCoy's last pick came when Harris was manhandled (albeit illegally) by a Cowboys defensive back, who then intercepted the pass. It's a trust ball. Hard to say Harris shouldn't be trusted based on a missed call, but he's definitely farther down my board than the other guys.

The Redskins can win with McCoy. They need to find more ways to open things up for Davis and Reed down the field. McCoy's first touchdown was a deep ball to Davis. He also blatantly missed throwing to him for another. It's hard to draw any firm conclusions on any one game, and that's even harder on three days rest, but there was plenty of promise to go with the frustration.

2. The Redskins defense failed to finish, and it's why they gave up 30+ points for the first time since New Orleans. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix seemed to take poor angles on the Cowboys' first two touchdowns, failing to be the last line of defense in a bend but don’t break defense.

The back-breaker was the 90 yard catch and run by Amari Cooper, which saw two missed tackles and no one able to run Cooper down. Dak Prescott also scored on a play where the Redskins should have sacked him twice. There were other near misses as well.

This sport is a game of inches, and the Redskins were on the wrong side by just that much too many times today. Those plays can be made with faster decisions and more forceful hits. They were on the right side of them earlier this year. They can get back. The long break might be what they need to do it.

3. This game oddly underscored the importance of the Redskins special teams, as well. Two scoring drives came off massive returns from Trey Quinn and Danny Johnson. Others came thanks to Tress Way pinning the Cowboys deep on punts, them not going very far and then short fields for the Redskins offense to drive.

This team isn't bad, but it doesn't have a lot of margin for error. It needs all three phases to win.

It also can't wind up on the bad end of calls. That didn't happen, either. It’s far down the list of reasons why they lost, but there were again some bad misses that went against Washington by the men in stripes.

The most egregious had the least effect on the score. Jordan Reed was smashed helmet-to-helmet on the game’s final drive and received no call. That can't happen. The league has to protect its players.

Reed declined to talk to reporters after the game. Let's hope it was his way of staying out of a fine, not because he knows he has a concussion.

Stat of the day: Ezekiel Elliot rushed for 121 yards, the first time they’ve allowed a 100-yard rusher since the season finale last year. The defense also failed to force a turnover for the first time in fifteen games.

Quote of the day: "That laughing s---? That s---'s for the birds when you losin'. If you losin', if you ain't no championship team man, it ain't no reason coming into the building unless it don't mean that much to you. Unless you just doin' it for the money. But if you doin' it from the heart, that s--- gonna mean something to you when you walk in that building after you lost two games in a row. It's gonna mean something to you. But, you know, my mentality is different so I can only speak about how I feel about it, you know, and where we need to go. It's disappointing." –DJ Swearinger, who will be on Grant & Danny Monday at 11. That is the next time we can ask more about who and what he is talking about.

Follow Craig Hoffman on Twitter.