Washington Football Team: What the loss to Dallas taught us

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 12: CeeDee Lamb #88 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball after a reception against the Washington Football Team during the third quarter at FedExField on December 12, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 12: CeeDee Lamb #88 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball after a reception against the Washington Football Team during the third quarter at FedExField on December 12, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

What did we learn about the Washington Football Team in their loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 14?

The Washington Football Team suffered a pretty painful loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 14. Not only did it extend the division lead for the Cowboys, but it pushed Washington out of their wildcard spot. And the 27-20 loss came with plenty of extra heartache as Washington managed an impressive 2nd half comeback just to fall short at the last minute.

With all that being said though, Washington is still in an interesting spot. They are just one game out of the wildcard. Their final four games come against NFC East opponents too. Those are all winnable games.

At the same time though, this team is now 6-7. If they falter down the stretch, they could find themselves in line for a decently early first-round selection. So this season could go either way with just four weeks remaining.

So what exactly did we learn from the Washington Football Team’s Week 14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys? A lot, honestly.

First of all, the defense is good. They came into the season with an insane amount of hype but came out of the gates struggling hard. This flipped the narrative on them. However, the defense has been great over the last handful of weeks.

They were a major part of that four-game winning streak. And once again they looked great against an elite Dallas offense. That’s with missing some key-pieces and with Washington’s offense not putting them in good position basically the entire game.

Next, Cam Sims should be playing more. Washington’s weapons are bad. Terry McLaurin is a star. But Logan Thomas is hurt, Curtis Samuel has been hurt most of the year and basically invisible the rest of the time. Antonio Gibson is fun, but the fumbling is a serious issue and a sub-4.0 yards per carry isn’t getting anyone too excited. He can be an elite weapon, but right now he’s a question mark.

Sims is a good receiver. Maybe he isn’t great, but it seems like every time he sees the field, Sims makes a play. He’s a big body (6’5″, 220 lbs) and can jump. Last season he had some big games and in this game, he racked up three receptions for 69 yards and one touchdown. And that touchdown grab was pretty spectacular.

Sims played in 59% of offensive snaps in Week 14, that’s solid. However, outside of that, he’s appeared in 37% in Week 3, and 21% in Week 8. No other week has seen him crack 20%. In fact, Sims has multiple weeks under 10%. That’s odd.

Washington’s receivers aren’t good enough to block out someone that had big games down the stretch last season (including a monster game in the playoffs). Sims continues to prove himself when given the opportunity.

Another thing we’ve learned is that the offensive line needs work. Yes, injuries have been a serious problem lately. But they just didn’t look good at all in Week 14. Sam Cosmi looked great but he’s been injured for a bit now. Outside of that, there’s no great young talent on the team.

Brandon Scherff‘s future is still in question. Ereck Flowers is good but not elite. Charles Leno Jr. has been solid but is he really the guy at left tackle? Things need to be changed on the line before next season.

Finally, we’ve learned that Taylor Heinicke is solid. He’s fun. But something needs to be done pretty quickly about the quarterback position. And look, maybe some (or even a lot of you) have been saying this for a while. But there’s no denying that he can be electric and make fun plays. I’ve mentioned before how he seemed like a good fit for the team because of some of his traits.

That arm strength is rough though. And sometimes it doesn’t mix well with his confidence. Confidence is awesome, it’s a great thing for a quarterback to have. But the perfect example of it being an issue was the play where Heinicke escaped the pocket and started waving for McLaurin to go long.

A few problems with that play. One, Heinicke nearly got ripped from behind as he was standing there waiting to bomb it. Two, he probably could’ve gotten the ball to tight end John Bates (who was right in front of Heinicke and past the first down marker). Finally, the ball was underthrown and led to the jump ball that saw McLaurin get a concussion.

Underthrows are a major problem with Heinicke. Even the touchdown to Sims wasn’t a great throw. It was a jump ball that Sims took away from Trevon Diggs, but Sims had a beat on him and a good throw would have made it much less … interesting.

There was another play where McLaurin had beaten Diggs, but another severe underthrow led to a pass breakup. It’s a recurring theme. There’s a lot to like about Heinicke, but it feels like you’re wasting a lot of the great that comes with McLaurin if you can’t go deep to him.

Heinicke is the guy for the rest of the year. He absolutely deserves to try and lead the Washington Football Team to the playoffs with the way he has played this season. And remember, he didn’t come in as the starter. However, quarterback should be a top priority this offseason.

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The Washington Football Team is still in the playoff picture. But another loss could have them thinking about the offseason. Week 14 certainly taught us a lot about the current situation of the team, as well as where they could be going in the future.