Dwayne Harris’ two returns boost Cowboys’ sluggish offense

Posted Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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On the night when the Dallas Cowboys needed a spark, Dwayne Harris lit a fire.

The third-year pro scored one touchdown and helped set up another with a pair of huge returns in the Cowboys’ 31-16 victory over Washington at AT&T Stadium.

“Dwayne did a fantastic job,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Talk about making difference-making plays, he made them.”

Not only did Harris account for 14 points, but the timing of the returns couldn’t have been better as the Cowboys were sputtering offensively.

Holding a 7-3 lead late in the second quarter, Harris went to work after Washington was forced to punt. He fielded the ball on the 14, went left and picked up several key blocks from Jeff Heath, Orlando Scandrick and J.J. Wilcox to clear the way.

Harris did his part, racing 86 yards to give the Cowboys a double-digit lead. The return was the fifth-longest in franchise history and set a career high, besting the 78-yard touchdown against Philadelphia last season.

That score against the Eagles sprung the Cowboys to a 38-23 win.

When the Redskins opened the second half with their third field goal, cutting the Cowboys’ lead to 14-9, Harris was at it again. He took the kickoff 5 yards deep in the end zone and found a crease up the middle.

Harris again was aided by great blocking. He juked past kicker Kai Forbath before being chased down by E.J. Biggers at the Washington 15.

The 90-yard return, also the longest of his career, was followed two plays later by Tony Romo’s touchdown pass to Terrance Williams.

Unlike the offensive barrage the previous week against Denver, Tony Romo and the offense never fully found its stride against the Redskins.

Harris’ special teams contributions proved all more the valuable as Washington held sizable advantages in total yardage and time of possession.

“He made two significant plays,” Garrett said. “One for a touchdown and one set up a touchdown. Those were huge for us.”

Harris totaled more than 100 yards in both kickoff and punt returns. He had two kickoff returns for 113 yards, with two punt returns going for 109 yards.

Harris came into the game averaging 28.4 yards on kickoffs, fifth in the league. His 13.3 average on punt returns would also be fifth if he qualified.

Both averages would get a boost Sunday night. Harris did the same for the Cowboys.

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