NFL: Washington roll past Cowboys; Deshaun Watson’s 4 TDs lift Texans over Lions
Antonio Gibson ran for three touchdowns, Alex Smith had a scoring pass and Washington at least temporarily moved into first place in the woeful NFC East with a 41-16 Thanksgiving victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.
Gibson’s second score was a 23-yard run on the first play after an ill-advised fake punt attempt by Dallas as Washington beat its division rival on Thanksgiving for just the second time in 10 tries, the most frequent visitor for the Cowboys in their annual holiday home game.
Washington (4-7) slides ahead of Philadelphia (3-6-1) in the NFC East and will stay in first place if the Eagles lose to Seattle on Monday night. It was the third win in five games since a five-game losing streak dropped Washington to 1-5.
Dallas (3-8) couldn’t build on a big win at Minnesota, losing for the fifth time in six games since star quarterback Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury. The Cowboys were playing a day after strength coach Markus Paul died at a hospital following a medical emergency at the team’s facility.
The Cowboys trailed 20-16 when they faced a fourth-and-10 from their 24-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Darian Thompson took the snap in front of punter Hunter Niswander and pitched to Cedrick Wilson on a reverse that was stuffed for a 1-yard loss.
On the next play, Gibson easily beat the Dallas defense to the left pylon. After another Dallas punt, Gibson capped a clock-killing drive with a 37-yard score for a 34-16 lead.
Washington made it a blowout when Montez Sweat tipped and intercepted a pass right in the face of Andy Dalton and was free to run 15 yards for a TD.
Gibson, who already was the rookie leader in touchdowns rushing and now has 11, finished with 115 yards on 20 carries.
And two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott of Dallas had just 32 yards while losing his fifth fumble of the season, by far the most of his five-year career.
Smith’s touchdown pass was a 5-yarder to tight end Logan Thomas, who chunked the ball into the second deck of seats not long after his 28-yard pass to receiver Terry McLaurin on a trick play set up Gibson’s first TD.
McLaurin had the defensive play of the game, running down Dallas linebacker Jaylon Smith after an interception and tackling him at the Washington 4. With a chance at the tying touchdown, the Cowboys went 6 yards the wrong direction and had to settle for a short field goal.
Dallas’ last lead was 10-7 in the second quarter after Dalton’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper, who had 112 yards on six catches.
Texans 41, Lions 25
Deshaun Watson had a pair of go-ahead touchdown passes in the first half and threw for two more scores in the fourth quarter to help the Houston Texans pull away and beat the Detroit Lions 41-25 Thursday.
Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt had an early pick-6 and Will Fuller had six receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns for the Texans (4-7), who have won two straight for the first time this season and three of their past four games with interim coach Romeo Crennel.
Detroit (4-7), which entered the game coming off a 20-0 loss at Carolina, might end the season with interim leaders after losing consecutive games for the third time this season, dropping coach Matt Patricia’s record to 13-29-1 and general manager Bob Quinn’s mark to 12 games under .500 over five seasons.
The Lions retained Patricia and Quinn for this season and ownership said there was an expectation they contend for the playoffs by playing in meaningful games in December. And, that seems highly unlikely.
Detroit scored first before collapsing with turnovers on two straight snaps and three consecutive possessions in the first half against a defense that entered the game with an NFL-low five forced turnovers.
Watt put his hands up on a rush just in time to pick off Matthew Stafford’s pass and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. On Detroit’s next snap, Jonathan Williams fumbled and Houston took advantage with Watson’s 2-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Prosise to go ahead 13-6.
Watson’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Duke Johnson gave the Texans a 20-14 lead early in the second quarter.
Watson hit Fuller in stride for a 40-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth, putting Houston ahead 34-17. Watson connected with Fuller, who was wide open, with a 34-yard touchdown on a trick play after handing the ball off and getting it back on a lateral.
The dynamic quarterback finished 17 of 25 for 318 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He has thrown 15 touchdown passes without getting picked off once in the past six games.
Stafford was 28 of 42 for 295 yards with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu in the fourth and an interception that Watt returned for a score. Adrian Peterson had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs in the first half for the Lions.
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