McCoy, back home, loses in 1st start for Redskins since ’14

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              Washington Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy (12) throws against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Colt McCoy still hasn’t had a single rep in practice with Washington’s first-team offense this season. That will finally come after his first NFL start in nearly four years.

After Alex Smith’s gruesome leg injury only four days earlier, and a short week to prepare for a Thanksgiving Day game in his home state, McCoy threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns Thursday. But he also tossed three interceptions in a 31-23 loss at Dallas that let the Cowboys tie the Redskins for the NFC East lead.

“Just sort of a freak week, with that happening to Alex, short week, on the road, Texas, where I played college ball,” McCoy said. “There were some emotions, but I just did my best to tune those out and played ball. Ultimately, I made some mistakes I wish I had back.”

The Redskins (6-5) had a 13-10 lead after McCoy threw his second TD pass, a 10-yarder to Trey Quinn in the third quarter.

But that lead was gone after Dak Prescott’s touchdown passes of 40 and 90 yards to Amari Cooper in a span of less than five minutes later in the period.

Weeks before his previous start in December 2014, McCoy’s last NFL victory came in another road game against the Cowboys — a 20-17 overtime win on Oct. 27, 2014, when he was 25-of-30 passing for 299 yards. In his only other previous game at AT&T Stadium, McCoy was the quarterback for Texas in a win over Nebraska in the 2009 Big 12 championship game.

“He still has not had one rep in practice with the first team,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “All that being said, he made some poor decisions obviously. But he made some incredible plays, some incredible throws I think we can build off.”

The Redskins and McCoy have some extra time to get ready for their next game, a week from Monday at Philadelphia.

“I think it’ll help. I think it’ll help me, but I think it will help everybody,” McCoy said.

Now in his fifth season as Washington’s backup quarterback, McCoy had only appeared in four games for the Redskins before Thursday. That included replacing Smith in the third quarter of Sunday’s 23-21 loss to Houston. A potential winning drive stalled near midfield, and Dustin Hopkins‘ 63-yard field goal try fell short with 3 seconds left.

McCoy looked as if he hadn’t started a game in a long time early against the Cowboys, throwing into double coverage on his first play. He fumbled while trying to scramble on his third, but Washington recovered.

But McCoy settled in with a couple of third-down passes to Jordan Reed to keep drives going, then hit Vernon Davis in stride on a 53-yard touchdown — the longest Washington completion of the season — for a 7-7 tie.

“I felt like he did a great job,” Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said. “We didn’t have any live action this week in practice, so for him to come out and perform the way that he performed, I tip my hat off to him.”

Gruden said the Redskins didn’t have to change how they called plays and should be better with the upcoming practice — and McCoy getting first-team snaps in practice for the first time since summer workouts.

“Colt pretty much handled all the formations, all the tempos, all the run checks,” Gruden said. “I don’t think there were any problem areas with communication.”