Thursday’s roundup: Cowboys win 10th straight
Arlington, Texas — Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott keep winning for the Dallas Cowboys, even with Kirk Cousins setting records for Washington.
Prescott accounted for two touchdowns , Elliott ran for a pair of scores and the Cowboys extended their franchise regular-season record with a 10th straight victory, beating Washington 31-26 on Thursday.
Prescott tied Don Meredith’s club quarterback record from 50 years ago with his fifth rushing TD and the NFL-leading Cowboys (10-1) won despite 449 yards passing and three touchdowns from Cousins, the first Washington quarterback with two 400-yard games in a season.
“You know you’re talking to someone who knows how hard this is to win 10 games in a row, and I do,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “I know how we’re getting it done, and we’re getting done by hard work and Dak’s a great example.”
Washington (6-4-1) got swept by its NFC East rival, and the defending division champions fell 3 1/2 games behind Dallas with five games left. It was its seventh loss in eight tries on Thanksgiving against Cowboys, who had never won more than eight straight in the regular season.
“We’ve been in third place for a while, so we have to understand where we are, what it’s going to take to get an opportunity to come back here in the future,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said. “The last five games of the year are critical.”
Elliott, the NFL rushing leader, had the fourth score on five straight second-half touchdown drives between the two teams with a 1-yard run for a 31-19 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The 21-year-old had 97 yards to give him 1,199 for the season.
After getting 43 yards on the first Dallas possession, Elliott had just 13 yards before a 21-yarder to start Dallas’ last TD drive. It was the second straight week he finished with 97 yards after some difficulty in the first half.
“Over time, you keep running the football, you’re going to wear them down,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. “He made some big runs late that were critical. It really broke their back.”
The Cowboys had an eight-game streak with at least 400 yards snapped, finishing with 353. But Dallas answered with touchdowns each time Washington got within a score on Cousins’ passes of 5 yards to Jordan Reed and 67 yards to DeSean Jackson , who had 118 yards receiving.
After Cousins’ second scoring toss to Reed, an 8-yarder with 1:53 remaining, Dustin Hopkins’ onside kick went out of bounds. The Cowboys ran out the clock.
“The way Dallas was able to come back and put points on the board in those situations is part of the reason why they are such a good football team,” said Cousins , who was 41 of 53 and finished 8 yards shy of his career high.
“As an offense, whenever we got the football, it was pretty much the same. Move the football, put points on the board, make good decisions and manage it well.”
Cousins took the Washington career lead with his third 400-yard game and became the first Washington quarterback with consecutive 350-yard games since Jay Schroeder in 1986. He had 375 last week against Green Bay.
Reed had 10 catches for 95 yards after missing most of the first half when he injured his left shoulder leaping for a pass over his head in the end zone.
Prescott was 17 of 24 for a season-low 195 yards and one touchdown, a toe-tapper to Terrance Williams. He had eight carries for 39 yards, including a career-long 18-yarder. Dez Bryant led Dallas with 72 yards on five catches.
Pittsburgh 28, (at) Indianapolis 7: Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown hooked up for three touchdowns and the Steelers’ defense shut down the Colts. The Steelers (6-5) helped their playoff chances with a second straight win and snapped a four-game losing streak on Thanksgiving.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck sat out with a concussion, and his absence showed as Indy’s first winning streak of the season ended at two games. While his replacement, Scott Tolzien, hung tough most of the night, the performance wasn’t good enough to extend the Colts’ 10-game winning streak on Thursday nights.
The Steelers built a 21-7 lead by scoring touchdowns on each of their first three possessions — a 5-yard TD run from Le’Veon Bell, and touchdown catches by Brown of 25 and 33 yards.
Indy’s only score came on a 5-yard TD pass from Tolzien to Donte Moncrief early in the second quarter, a play set up by the first completion of Pat McAfee’s career on a fake punt.
The Colts had two chances to cut the deficit but Tolzien was stopped twice on third-down runs at the 1-yard line, and the Steelers forced incompletions on both fourth-down plays.
Pittsburgh sealed it with — what else? — a 22-yard TD pass from Roethlisberger to Brown with 5:30 left.
Roethlisberger was 14 of 20 for 221 yards, Brown caught five passes for 91 yards and Bell ran 23 times for 120 yards.
Tolzien finished 22 of 36 for 205 yards with one TD and two interceptions.