Maybe this Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line has the makings of something special.
The Cowboys’ defense was dominant for the second consecutive week in a 33-19 win over the Washington Redskins at a rainy FedEx Field.
The Cowboys held the Redskins to 285 yards, the second consecutive week to hold their opponent to fewer than 300 and third time this season.
It all starts up front, with David Irving, Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence leading the way. Irving had two of the Cowboys’ four sacks and has five in three games since returning from a suspension. Lawrence and Crawford each had sacks and provided a pressure on Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins who was hurried eight times.
“We’re a bunch of wild animals going in as a pack and feasting on one thing. We’re feasting on that quarterback,” said Lawrence, who leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks. “You hit a quarterback enough times they start to look at you and wait on you to hit them like a deer in the headlights.”
Crawford had four quarterback hurries and had a strip sack to force one of two fumbles. He also blocked a field goal that Orlando Scandrick returned 85 yards to set up the Cowboys’ go-ahead score near the end of the first half.
“It’s huge,” said Crawford, who was the last Cowboys player to block a kick in November 2015. “Coach [Rich] Bisaccia does a great job of giving us our attacking points throughout the week and we just did exactly what he coached us to do all week and luckily we got a block and Orlando almost got it all the way there.”
Sean Lee, who led Dallas with nine combined tackles in his second game back since returning from a hamstring injury, dismissed his presence as the catalyst for the improvement.
“I think it’s more the continuity. There have a been a lot of guys back and whenever we get our entire crew out there and we’re able to practice together and build together we see we can be a good defense,” he said. “I think the D line has done a great job getting pressure, strip sacks, making plays, the secondary has done a great job playing great coverage ... any time you do that you cause turnovers.”
The Cowboys have six takeaways in the past two games after combining for four in the first five games.
“We’re just playing together. We’re all pretty young, especially on the defensive line and we’re all just gaining more experience playing together as a team,” said Irving, who along with Lawrence got a hand on a pass deflection that Byron Jones returned for a pick six to ice the game with under a minute remaining. “Everyone on the D line has just been improving.”