Sideline spat headlines Washington's blowout loss at Dallas

Taylor Heinicke
Posted at 1:10 AM, Dec 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 01:10:40-05

ARLINGTON, TX (WTKR)- With its playoff hopes hanging by a thread, Washington seemed to show more fire on the sideline than on the field on Sunday night at AT&T Stadium.

The Cowboys dominated in every phase of the game, sending the Football Team to its third straight loss in lopsided fashion, 56-14. The defeat drops Washington's record to 6-9 and into the 11th spot in the NFC playoff race.

While not much went right for the team on the field, questions during postgame media availability centered around a sideline incident caught on cameras during the national broadcast. Defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne had to be separated after exchanging words. Payne appeared to poke Allen in his head, drawing a thrown punch from his fellow Alabama product.

"It's unfortunate for sure," Allen said after the loss. "We're better than that, but as a man, I'm going to take full responsibility for my actions and Payne will do the same."

Allen didn't go into specifics about what caused the dispute, but did say people could probably figure it out by how the game was going. Washington was trailing 28-7 when the altercation occurred in the second quarter.

"[Do] you have brothers?," Payne responded after a question about his spat with Allen. "Y'all fight, don't you? [Stuff] happens."

Both Allen and Payne said the issue is resolved.

Head coach Ron Rivera said that he was unaware of the incident when it happened, but he spoke to both players after he was told about it.

"Frustration, wanting to win, having an opportunity over the last few weeks and not being able to get it done, not being able to have all the pieces in place that you need to go out there and play together," Rivera said. "That's what that is. It's guys wanting to compete and wanting to win more than anything else."

The team has had several issues away from the field that have depleted its personnel in recent weeks. Washington had 26 players on the COVID-19 reserve list late last week, was missing a few players tonight because of injury and coronavirus and was playing on short rest. The burgundy and gold was also missing safety Deshazor Everett, who was the driver in a fatal car accident on Thursday night that killed a Las Vegas woman.

Old Dominion product Taylor Heinicke struggled in the defeat, completing just seven of his 22 pass attempts for 121 yards. He completed a touchdown pass to Antonio Gibson, but also threw two first quarter interceptions, one on Washington's first play from scrimmage to Trevon Diggs that led to a Cowboys' touchdown and another that was picked by DeMarcus Lawrence and returned for a score. Kyle Allen replaced Heinicke early in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.

"When you get down 21 points right off the bat, it's tough to come back from," Heinicke said. "Against a team like that, you don't want to get down because then you have to start throwing the ball a lot and that's what they want you to do."

Heinicke missed Tuesday's game with the Eagles as he recovered from COVID-19. He said he had a few days of symptoms, but he was not affected by those tonight.

"I felt fine out there," he noted. "I didn't really get winded or anything like that. We just got our asses kicked."

Rivera says that Heinicke will be the starting quarterback next week and the decision to put Allen into the game was to protect the former Monarch.

Washington will look to snap its three game losing streak on Sunday when the burgundy and gold host Philadelphia in their home finale at FedEx Field. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM.