The heated seats on the Washington sideline must also be heating up the temper of the WFT defensive players.
After Dallas drove to score a touchdown to put the Cowboys up 28-7 against Washington in the second quarter of their “Sunday Night Football” game, WFT defensive lineman Jonathan Allen was seen throwing a punch at Daron Payne before being separated on the sideline.
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It’s uncertain what set the two off, though NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya reported Payne was “extremely angry” at his teammate.
“I can’t tell you what started that fight, but I can tell you their long history between them,” Tafoya said on the broadcast. “It seemed like Daron Payne was extremely angry at Allen. Sam Mills, the defensive line coach, had to kind of calm both of them down and now they’re out there trying to play together.”
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Payne and Allen were teammates at Alabama in 2015 and 2016, when Payne was a freshman and sophomore and Allen was a junior and senior, respectively. Allen was drafted 17th overall by Washington in 2017; Payne was taken 13th overall in 2018 by Washington.
The two starters have each been huge pieces for Washington on the defensive line. Allen leads the team with 8.5 sacks and 26 quarterback hits, while Payne is third on the team with 3.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits.
Pro Football Focus ranks Allen as the third-best interior defender in the NFL, and Payne as the 53rd best.
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The game certainly had not been going the way Washington had hoped with their playoff hopes on the line. Washington had given up touchdowns on each of the previous three drives to the Cowboys and, after the altercation, proceeded to allow another two to put Dallas up 42-7 before halftime.
Following halftime, Tafoya reported a conversation she had with Washington coach Ron Rivera in which he provided context into the altercation. He merely said the team was “excited and pissed off.” Tafoya reported that she asked whether that included Rivera, to which he responded, “Hell yes.”
According to FiveThirtyEight, Washington has a 31 percent chance of making the playoffs with a win against Dallas, but only a 5 percent chance with a loss.