Knight, who made four left starts this season, came in for Erving. Terence Steele restored his old right seat to Martin’s. This combination of moves gave the Cowboys their 15th different starting five on the offensive line since this season devastated by injuries.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of those guys who just jump in there, Brandon and Terrance,” said Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy. “But you know, you’re making adjustments. Unfortunately, we have a lot of experience with this situation this year.”
Naturally, it would be difficult to choose a worse opponent to face with a compromised offensive line. The Cowboys learned this lesson back in October when they traveled to Washington to play without Martin and handed over six sacks.
The Cowboys ran 60 yards as a team, setting a new low for the season. In that performance, Ezekiel Elliott managed to score just 32 yards on 10 runs – highlighted by his turmoil at the start of the third quarter, which was later restored by a defensive fight with Jonathan Allen.
“I’m just trying to fight for extra yards,” Elliott said. “I think maybe one leg kicked him before I went down.”
The pressure was there too. Andy Dalton was fired three times during the day, including twice in third place. He threw a sack of CeeDee Lamb at an unfortunate trick and Washington finished with four a day. Dalton was also taken out of his pocket all evening.
“They have a great front seven, a great front seven,” Elliott said. “The D-Line is a first round, so I mean, they’re great. They’re a tough team, a tough front seven to face.”
It all came to a head with the game already decided. Washington led 34-16, with less than three minutes left when Montes Swat undisputedly tore from the right, hit Dalton’s pass in the air, grabbed him and raced 15 yards for a touchdown with an exclamation mark.
Erving and Martin will be further evaluated on Friday. At the moment, their condition is unclear. Fortunately, their injuries are not long-term problems and they can return to try to provide some stability in this position.
However, this would hardly be in line with this season, as the cowboys’ offense continues to reveal how bad their luck can be.
“Like I said, fortunately we have guys with some experience who have played a lot of games this year,” Dalton said. “We just have to keep going.”