By Harvey Valentine, The Sports Xchange
LANDOVER, Md. — Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys is doing some of his best work.
Now the Cowboys will see if he gets to stay in uniform.
Elliott ran for a season-high 150 yards and two touchdowns, Mike Nugent kicked four field goals and the Cowboys defeated the Washington Redskins 33-19 in the rain on Sunday at FedEx Field.
After fumbling on his first carry, Elliott ran it 32 more times in bad conditions, scored on runs of 1 and 13 yards and had a 27-yard score negated by a holding penalty. He notched his third career performance of at least 150 yards in what could be his last game for some time.
“Obviously, (Ezekiel) was outstanding today, and he had to be … the conditions were challenging throughout,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “We’re at our best when we run the football and we really needed to run it and run it a lot and run it well in this game, particularly in the second half when the weather got worse.”
Elliott, who has rushed for 413 yards in his last three games, has a court date on Monday that will likely determine whether he begins serving a six-game NFL suspension immediately.
“Really wasn’t thinking about it today. Just worried about going out there and being myself and performing at my highest level today,” Elliott said. “But I think we’re confident. We’re confident in our argument. We’re confident that I’ll be on the field.”
Dallas held a 26-13 lead when Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Josh Doctson with 4:35 remaining, but Nick Rose’s extra-point attempt sailed wide.
The Cowboys picked up two first downs before punting with 1:05 left.
“That weather was tough out there. Not only was it rainy, it was cold so late in the game it was getting tougher and tougher,” Elliott said. “That last drive … I barely could hold on to the ball, even with two hands so I just was focusing on protecting the ball and finishing that drive.”
Taking over on his 12, Cousins’ second pass was intercepted by Byron Jones at the 21 and returned for a touchdown.
“We just have to get off the field in that four-minute situation and give our offense a chance,” Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “They had a good drive and scored on the previous (possession). We just had to give them a chance with more time on the clock.”
Dak Prescott was 14 of 22 for 143 yards for Dallas (4-3).
Dallas took the lead for good late in the first half after cornerback Orlando Scandrick returned a blocked field goal 86 yards to set up an Elliott score.
Washington, which began the game without three members of its offensive line, lost two more in the second half and watched two of its three tight ends, including Jordan Reed, leave with injuries.
“We do have a lot of injuries, especially offensively, but we just have to step up,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. “We’ve got to recover.”
Cousins completed 26 of 39 passes for 263 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked four times and the Redskins (3-4) gained just 49 rushing yards on 15 carries. Wide receiver Jamison Crowder caught nine passes for 123 yards as the Redskins fell to 0-3 against the NFC East.
Trailing 14-13 at halftime, the Redskins lost two fumbles in the third quarter and Nugent — signed earlier this week to fill in for the injured Dan Bailey — followed each with a field goal.
On Washington’s first possession of the second half, defensive end Tyrone Crawford sacked Cousins, whose fumble was recovered by defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence at the Washington 46. The Cowboys drove inside the 20 before they were forced to settle for Nugent’s 36-yard field goal and a 17-13 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff return, Keith Smith’s hit jarred the ball loose from Chris Thompson and Dallas was in business on the Washington 27. Elliott scored on the next play, but a hold by left tackle Tyron Smith negated the touchdown and the Cowboys soon again called on Nugent, who hit from 48 yards.
Nugent hit a field goal late in the quarter and another in the fourth. He missed his first attempt of the day in the second quarter.
Elliott’s fumble resulted in an early 3-0 Washington lead.
Dallas answered with a five-play, 75-yard drive. Prescott connected with Terrance Williams for 25 yards to the Redskins 13, and Elliott went up the middle on the next play for his fifth touchdown of the season.
Washington quickly regained the lead. With a defender in his face, Cousins heaved the ball to Crowder, who caught it in stride before being tackled at the Dallas 4. Two plays later, Rob Kelley bulled in from the 1 and Washington led 10-7.
Leading 13-7 in the second quarter, the Redskins appeared ready to extend the margin when Rose attempted a 36-yard field goal. The kick was blocked by Crawford and Scandrick recovered at the 10 and, after briefly starting to his right, changed direction, got a few blocks and rumbled down the left sideline to the Washington 4-yard line, and a penalty moved it closer.
“We could have gone up by nine,” Gruden said. “Instead, they get the ball at our (2-yard line). That was a big one.”
Two plays later, Elliott scored and Dallas led 14-13.