Rod Marinelli’s defense shines as the 4-8 Dallas Cowboys collect their first win without Tony Romo since 2010. Marinelli’s wave defense was fresh, healthy and up to the tasks at hand on Monday Night Football.
It wasn’t pretty for the Cowboys offense; however, the defense stepped it up right out of the shoot and relentlessly attacked the Redskins on their own grounds.
The defensive line played one of their best games of the season. Greg Hardy was a handful for the Redskins even though he did not record a sack in the contest. Hardy did manage to force Kirk Cousins to throw the ball before he wanted to on several occasions and had a couple tackles of the running backs behind the line of scrimmage.
Jack Crawford was the most dominate of the two Crawfords. Jack out-played Tyrone at FedEx Field. DeMarcus Lawrence played his heart out in this game and his brilliant play set the tone for a defense that was to shine on Monday night. Lawrence recorded two sacks on the first three plays from scrimmage by Washington. Rookie defensive end Randy Gregory, Nick Hayden and Jeremy Mincey all had an impact on the defenses’ ability to stop Washington’s offense.
Rolando McClain had a solid game; however, safety Barry Church and Will linebacker Sean Lee played outstanding defense all game. Church and Lee were all over the field holding the Washington rushing attack in check while setting the edge.
Rookie safety Byron Jones turned in another solid performance. Brandon Carr turned in a shining performance, also.
Rich Bisaccia’s special teams played one of their finest games of the season for Dallas. Twice the special teams unit was flagged taking away a big return by Lucky Whitehead. The special teams unit never quit. J.J. Wilcox, who was initially called for the facemask penalty, although the player responsible was rookie linebacker Damien Wilson, stripped the ball away from DeSean Jackson after Jackson tried to reverse field for a possible big play. Punter Chris Jones was in position to recover the loose ball. This inspired the defense to keep chasing after the surging Redskins.
Marinelli’s defense played ultra-aggressive in this challenging environment. Marinelli sent Church, Lee and McClain on blitzes that this kept Kirk Cousins throwing the ball while under attack. The defense limited the Redskins ability to run the ball. When they were not able to successfully run the ball, they were not able to set up their passing game. It was an outstanding performance by the Cowboys defense in a hostile environment. The Cowboys defense shines when all their starters are healthy and on the field.
The Cowboys’ defense has started to gel and that should make those folks up in the frozen tundra of Green Bay very nervous. The defense will need some help from the offense next week to come away with a win in Wisconsin. The Cowboys will need to keep Green Bay under 20 points while putting up more than 20 in a place no southern team looks forward to playing at in December.
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