The hope was that Colt McCoy would pull it off.
After going from backup to starter in Week 11, McCoy came into the state where he’s a legend and had the chance to pull off a major upset of the Cowboys on national TV.
Instead, he and the Redskins will leave Dallas with a second consecutive loss and their season heading the wrong direction.
For the game, McCoy finished 24-of-38 for 268 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
What prevented him and the ‘Skins from having a better offensive day? Here are three factors.
Alex Smith threw five interceptions in 38 quarters as the Redskins starter this season. McCoy threw three in four quarters against the Cowboys.
It was expected that No. 12 would take a few more risks and try to push the ball more while running the offense in No. 11’s place. But on Thursday, he forced too many throws and that really cost Washington, a team that’s been very reliant on winning the takeaway battle.
“You can’t turn the ball over in the division on the road and expect to come out on top,” he said afterward. “I take full responsibility for that.”
Jay Gruden and Co. can live with a slight uptick in INTs from McCoy if he’s also producing more down the field. Yet in his debut start this year, he was too careless.
Lack of preparation
Expecting McCoy to come in and smoothly run things from the get-go was probably too much, even though he’s been in Gruden’s system for years now.
That task was especially difficult on Thursday because of the quick turnaround from Sunday’s loss to the Texans and the matchup with the Cowboys. That meant no real practice for the QB and his teammates.
“Walkthroughs are like watching tape,” he said. “Not a whole lot goes on out there.”
Details like depths of routes are very difficult to nail down without real practice.
“There’s little things throughout the game that came up because I just hadn’t had a whole lot of reps with those guys,” he admitted.
He’s very hopeful that the extended gap between now and their Monday night trip to Philly will allow him to clean things up. Look for that to absolutely make a difference in the offense’s overall performance.
No running game
A vintage day from Adrian Peterson would’ve made McCoy’s job much, much more doable. But Peterson and the rest of the running game couldn’t get anything going at AT&T Stadium.
This was the fourth straight game Peterson’s yards-per-carry average finished below four. His longest run in the loss was just nine yards.
What you’re starting to see is how much Brandon Scherff’s absence is harming the rushing offense, which in turn is harming the full operation. Unfortunately, he’s not returning anytime soon, so Bill Callahan is going to have to use this break to come up with a way to help get Peterson back on track. McCoy needs that.
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