What We Saw: Week 14

Rashaad Penny came out of nowhere to be a potential league winner. Who knew?

Cowboys @ Football Team

Final Score: Cowboys 27, Football Team 20

Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)


The Dallas Cowboys had their defense to thank for a dominant first half performance in which they forced four punts, an interception and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Dorance Armstrong to give them a seemingly unassailable 24-0 lead at the half. However, uncharacteristically poor quarterback play from Dak Prescott allowed the Washington Football Team back into the contest โ€“ Prescott threw a pick six to Cole Holcomb with 4:13 left in the game to bring Washington within one score.

After the Washington defense forced a three-and-out, which was Dallas’ fifth punt in seven second half drives, Randy Gregory then ruined the comeback special with his second forced takeaway of the game โ€“ this sack of backup quarterback Kyle Allen resulting in a fumble was reviewed but ultimately the decision on the field stood and the Cowboys held out for the final couple of minutes.



Gregory wasn’t the only Dallas defensive player to ball out in this game. Leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year, if not Defensive Player of the Year, Micah Parsons had himself a night with two sacks and a tackle for loss.



Washington’s hopes for the playoffs remain in the balance, however a knee injury to gutsy quarterback Taylor Heinicke could proved decisive going forward. Heinicke left at the start of the fourth quarter, and worryingly he found something dangerous just laying on the field as he walked off. Er, ok!



Dallas Cowboys




Dak Prescott: 22/39, 211 yards, TD, 2 INT, 4 sacks | 7 carries, 15 yards


Dak Prescott survived an array of inaccurate passes to come out of this game unscathed. Prescott looked nervous from the opening drive and failed to find rhythm despite the offensive line providing him time to throw. Worryingly for Dallas, Dak made this terrible throw for the interception with a clean pocket and plenty of time to pick his target.



Luckily, the Cowboys defense picked off Taylor Heinicke on the following drive, setting up Dak deep in Washington territory. Amari Cooper drifted into the back of the end zone unnoticed for Prescott to throw for his only passing score of the day on the back of the interception.



Dak looked even worse after half time, failing to move the sticks regularly and even check downs to Ezekiel Elliot failed to connect. A miserable afternoon for Prescott was solidified by this horrific throw on the move. Prescott seemed to have major issues with his visual perception down the field all game, and clearly he just didn’t see Holmcob underneath on this interception which gave Washington hope.



Prescott’s fantasy score was his third worst of the season, and it came at a terrible time for fantasy managers. He did have a couple of big plays called back for holds, including a deep pass to Michael Gallup midway through the second quarter. Still, this showing was mightily disappointing.




Running Back


Ezekiel Elliot: 12 carries, 45 yards | 6 targets, 1 reception, 15 yards

Corey Clement: 13 carries, 44 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 2 yards

JaQuan Hardy: 1 carry, 3 yards


Without the explosive Tony Pollard, ruled out through injury, this backfield looked pedestrian throughout this contest. When Dallas needed to lean on the run game in the second half, Ezekiel Elliot failed to deliver. Elliot carried the ball just five times for 13 yards after half time in another uninspiring display.

Corey Clement stepped into the Pollard role, but did not show the burst up the middle that Pollard has so vitally provided this season. Clement failed to move the sticks on three straight third down runs in the second half, one from the Washington 12-yard line after a turnover.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


CeeDee Lamb: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 61 yards | 2 carries, 15 yards

Michael Gallup: 9 targets, 5 receptions, 60 yards

Amari Cooper: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 51 yards, TD

Cedric Wilson: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 18 yards

Dalton Schultz: 3 targets, 1 reception, 4 yards


CeeDee Lamb made things happen for himself in this game as Prescott endured a bad day at the office. Lamb did see a ball bounce out of his hands on a simple screen pass early in the game, a bad error. After the half, with the Cowboys battling third-and-long regularly, Lamb was limited to just four touches โ€“ two of those were run plays as the Cowboys were left frustrated by the ineffectual rushing of Elliot and Clement. It was a floor day for the enigmatic wideout.




Michael Gallup was the most effective receiver on the field in this game. Gallup showed off his quick feet at the line of scrimmage to create separation regularly and cause plenty of problems for the Washington secondary. Gallup had a huge reception downfield called back by penalty as we’ve seen, but he also made a couple of brilliant grabs. Gallup is a consummate professional who does his job and gets on with it. This grab to set up the Cowboys’ only touchdown on a play that half the players stopped due to the defensive offside shows just how valuable a guy like Gallup is when things aren’t running smoothly.




Amari Cooper is approaching full fitness after being held to situational roles over the past week weeks. He was on the field for the second-most snaps among the team’s receivers and was the first look in the red zone early in this game. This is a good sign for fantasy managers who were worried about him going into playoffs. Cooper’s production was almost exclusively limited to the first half. He was dealing with poor quarterback play and terrible play calling in the second half. This was his only target after the break. Geez.





Washington Football Team




Taylor Heinicke: 11/25, 122 yards, TD, INT, 4 sacks, Fumble (Lost) | 3 carries, 8 yards

Kyle Allen: 4/9, 53 yards, Sack | 2 carries, 11 yards, Fumble (Lost)


The Washington offense was the reason why they lost the game today and Taylor Heinicke had one of his worst games of the season, if not ever. It all started just after his defense had won the ball back for him towards the end of the first quarter. Randy Gregory tipping a pass and intercepting the ball deep in Washington territory. The Cowboys extended their lead to 11-0 off the back of this mistake.



Heinicke was just 2-of-11 for 19 yards and an interception at half time and it could have been much worse. This errant throw into trouble should have been intercepted by Micah Parsons after Heinicke overthrew the diminutive Dyami Brown down the middle of the field.




Parsons had already made himself known to Heinicke with this monster sack โ€“ Dorrance Armstrong returning the ball for a defensive touchdown and scarring Heinicke for the rest of this contest. After this play Heinicke was clearly struggling with injuries in multiple areas.



Kyle Allen came in for Heinicke in the fourth quarter and immediately orchestrated a 13-play, 73-yard touchdown drive that was polished off by another backup, running back Jonathan Williams. This delightful throw to the sideline for Cam Sims was one of the best any quarterback mustered on the day.




It was a shame that late fumble robbed us of Allen potentially drawing the Washington Football Team level. It was a close call but probably the right call. It was the third fumble and fourth turnover of the day for Washington and it sealed their fate.



Running Back


Antonio Gibson: 10 carries, 36 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 5 yards, Fumble (Lost)

Jaret Patterson: 4 carries, 29 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 9 yards

Jonathan Williams: 4 carries, 16 yards, TD | 1 target, 1 reception, 17 yards


After promising signs in recent weeks that Antonio Gibson was finally finding the form that made him so effective last year, his fumbling issues returned and cost him valuable touches for fantasy managers. Ron Rivera chose to ride with backup Jonathan Williams after this key fumble near the end of the third quarter. Gibson didn’t touch the rock again after that.



Williams took full advantage of his opportunity after Jaret Patterson was handed a few carries on a couple of non-starter drives after Gibson was benched. Williams gained 34 yards on four straight touches to bring up third-and-goal at the Dallas 1-yard line. After Allen failed to punch it over the line, Williams ran it in from a yard out on fourth down.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


Cam Sims: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 69 yards, TD

Adam Humphries: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 34 yards

John Bates: 2 targets, 1 reception, 19 yards

DeAndre Carter: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards

Ricky Seals-Jones: 4 targets, 1 reception, 8 yards

Terry McLaurin: 4 targets

Curtis Samuel: 2 targets

Dyami Brown: 1 target


Have a day, Cam Sims! Working off just four targets, Sims made two fantastic grabs in this game on both their touchdown drives. We’ve seen the nice sideline catch off Allen, but prior to that Sims made a phenomenal grab as he was falling backwards at full pace into the end zone under contact from Trevon Diggs. Sims hasn’t shown enough to become a regular WR3 this season but he clearly has talent and the ability to make a splash on deep balls.



The day could have been different for Washington if both Adam Humphries and DeAndre Carter had held onto catches at crucial times in this game. Carter, in particular, was guilty of a drop that could have given Washington hope earlier than they eventually did.

Another key element of Washington being unable to mount a comeback towards the end of the game was the fact that their star receiver Terry McLaurin was ruled out after suffering a concussion on this play on the first drive of the second half. Jayron Kearse should have been flagged for a hit on a defenseless receiver as he came in on the back of McLaurin’s legs mid-air, clearly not making a play for the ball.




Only a few plays earlier, McLaurin should have forced a defensive pass interference call after Diggs was once again all over him prior to the ball arriving. McLaurin was treated unfairly by the officials throughout and should have also had a key PI call in the first half, too. He was held without a catch for the first time this season.




— Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)

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