The Dallas Cowboys scored 48 points in their Week 5 loss to the Denver Broncos that saw Tony Romo throw for over 500 yards and five touchdowns, breaking many single-game franchise records in the process. However, America’s Team must forget all about that before its Week 6 showdown against the Washington Redskins on Sunday Night Football because it won’t work again. Instead, the Cowboys must get back to basics to beat the defending NFC East champs, who are coming off a bye.
The Cowboys have a terrible tendency to play up and down to their competition, which is why they pushed the best team in the league to the brink last week and barely beat one of the NFL‘s worst teams in Week 1 despite tying a single-game record with six takeaways. So against Washington, Dallas can’t expect to put up 35 points through the air on just 25 completions.
Instead, the Cowboys can take advantage of a glaring weakness on the Redskins’ defense: their defensive line. Washington has given up an average of almost 150 rushing yards to its opponents this year, more than any other team in the league save the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. Considering DeMarco Murray was given the ball only 12 times against the Broncos and the Cowboys have won both of their games this year in which Murray had at least 20 carries, it’s safe to say he’s overdue for another big game.
But that’s not all the Cowboys need to plan for in this game; the other three talented running backs on their roster have a combined 11 carries this year. Lance Dunbar has 38 yards on seven carries, Phillip Tanner has one measly yard on four attempts and 2013 fifth-round pick Joseph Randle has yet to touch the ball in a regular season NFL game. And Jerry Jones wonders why this team is 2-3.
Dallas desperately needs to establish its rushing attack because if this team somehow stumbles into the playoffs, its going to need a solid ground game to have any hopes of competing. This week against the woeful Redskins is the perfect time for the Cowboys to get guys like Dunbar, Tanner and Randle more involved while allowing Murray to virtually carry the team in a divisional win to get the team back to .500 on the season. It’s not just for one game, either; this has to be the Cowboys’ goal for the remainder of the season because Lord knows they won’t see the Broncos again.