Brett Maher missed a 52-yard field goal that bounced off the upright on the final play of the fourth quarter that would have sent the game into overtime. Instead, Washington escaped with a 20-17 victory that it shouldn’t have had to sweat.
Washington sits atop the NFC East standings at 4-2, with the Eagles and Cowboys tied for second at 3-4.
Washington led by 10 points with 4:55 remaining but allowed Dallas to score a touchdown on a 1-yard Dak Prescott run with 1:37 remaining. The Cowboys used two timeouts on Washington’s ensuing possession and Alex Smith inexplicably allowed Sean Lee to push him out of bounds on third down, allowing Dallas to save its third timeout.
Dallas drove from its own 36 to the Washington 29, setting up Maher for a 47-yard try. Cowboys snapper L.P. Ladouceur was called for a snap infraction, possibly the first of his 14-year career, turning the kick into a 52-yarder.
It appeared Maher, who had made 16 in a row since missing his first NFL attempt, would have made the kick from 47. It hit the left upright, sending Washington into celebration.
The Cowboys can’t find a way to win the road. They are undefeated at home, averaging 35.3 points and 363.3 yards in three games. They have scored 54 points in four road games and have averaged 287.8 yards per game in those losses to Carolina, Seattle, Houston and Washington.
The Cowboys had only 170 yards after three quarters, including only 4 yards on six plays in the third quarter. They were fortunate still to be in the game, but Washington had to settle for chip-shot field goals after reaching the Dallas 3 and Dallas 7 in the second half.
The Cowboys gained 154 yards in a frantic fourth quarter to finish with 324.
Prescott completed 22 of 35 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 33 yards and a touchdown on six carries but also lost two fumbles, one of which Preston Smith scored on with a 1-yard return.
Ezekiel Elliott had 34 yards on 15 carries.
Smith went 14-of-25 for 178 yards and a touchdown. Adrian Peterson ran for 99 yards on 24 carries.