Washington remains in first place in the NFC East, but four days from now, it faces a challenge to its throne. If Washington loses to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, both teams will sit 6-5 with the Cowboys on a three-game winning streak and Washington on a two-game losing streak and losers of three of four.
“You pray for opportunities to get to play,” McCoy told reporters. “You never like to see how it happened today, but for me I just have to go out there and give it all I’ve got. I’ve been a starter before, had it taken away, and it’s not a good feeling. I kind of battled my way back. Been here for a while now, so hopefully I can go out there and play good ball and help our team win. We have a good team here, and they’ve got us in great shape. Alex has got us in great shape. We’ve just got to go continue to play football.”
Until replacing Smith in the second half Sunday, McCoy had played in only two games since the start of the 2015 season. Both came against Dallas. He did not throw a pass in mop-up duty in a loss to the Cowboys last season, but in 2016, he completed 7 of 11 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown in a 34-23 win over Dallas.
McCoy’s last starts came in 2014. He started four games that season and went 1-3, with his lone victory over the Cowboys. He went 25-for-30 for 299 yards with no touchdowns and an interception and ran for a touchdown in a 20-17 victory.
“This league is all about opportunity, and for me, I’ve known my role the past several years is to help our defense get better and to be prepared every week, help our starter, help our team, be a leader, be an encourager,” McCoy said. “Do the things that I can behind the scenes to be successful and I don’t think from my standpoint anything will change. I’ll just get to play now, and so I’ve got to get myself ready to go for Thanksgiving.”
McCoy gave Washington a chance for a comeback victory Sunday, leading his team to two touchdowns before another late drive gave Dustin Hopkins a shot at a 63-yard field goal to win it. McCoy, a native Texan who played at the University of Texas, went 6-of-12 for 54 yards and a touchdown against the Texans, while rushing for 35 yards on five carries.
McCoy’s success against the Cowboys likely is why Dallas had interest in signing him as a free agent in 2016.