Dallas 7, Washington 6: Not a Thing of Beauty
If last week’s 17-7 loss to the Packers weren’t frustrating enough, the
Cowboys nearly managed to lose in the same manner to the Redskins. Like last
week, Dallas became frustrated after experiencing a couple of miscues and failed
to score in the first half. Like last week’s loss, Dallas trailed 3-0 at
halftime. And like last week, Dallas failed to score until the very end of the
The difference against the Redskins was that Tony Romo’s 10-yard touchdown
pass to Patrick Crayton wasn’t a score during garbage time like Romo’s TD pass
to Roy Williams last week. The Dallas score gave the team a 7-6 lead, and that
one point proved to be the margin of victory.
Dallas did not abandon the run against Washington, but the running game did
not prove to be the difference in the game. Part of the reason for that was a
Marion Barber fumble midway through the first quarter, ending a Dallas drive
after the team had moved inside the Washington 20. The play proved even more
disastrous when Romo injured his back trying to tackle DeAngelo Hall, who had
recovered Barber’s fumble.
Romo never missed any time, but his throws were off all game. He missed Roy
Williams on several occasions, and given that Williams does not catch balls that
aren’t thrown right at him (or on some cases, he drops those thrown right at
him), it was not a good game for the team’s "#1 receiver."
The Cowboys had a good drive in the final six minutes of the first half, as
the team marched 52 yards to set up a Nick Folk field goal attempt. But for the
second consecutive game, Folk missed the kick and killed any momentum the team
had built. Washington nearly took advantage of the mistake by driving into
Dallas territory, but Shaun Suisham missed from 39 yards out to leave the score
3-0 at the half.
The frustration continued in the third quarter, as Dallas managed just one
first down. The Redskins increased their lead to 6-0 with a Suisham field goal
in the final minute of the third quarter, and it appeared that the six points
may be too much to overcome.
Early in the fourth, Dallas drove to the Washington 38 and faced a 3rd-and-1.
The team tried to run Marion Barber to the right, but Andre Carter darted from
the left end position and ran Barber down, dropping Barber for a one-yard loss.
On fourth down, Romo tried to get a pass to Miles Austin, but Romo overthrew the
ball, and London Fletcher picked it off.
The Redskins had a chance to make it a two-possession game when they drove to
the Dallas 30 midway through the fourth. However, Suisham missed yet another
field goal, giving Dallas another shot. Starting at the Washington 40, Romo hit
on a series of passes to Jason Witten, Felix Jones, and Miles Austin, and Dallas
finally had a first-and-goal play from the Washington 9. A penalty on Witten
backed the team up five yards, but another pass to Austin left the Cowboys with
a second-and-goal from the 10.
On the touchdown pass to Crayton, Romo broke one tackle in the pocket and
then rolled to his left. Crayton found an opening in the zone, instead of
running the ball, Romo zipped the ball to Crayton to give Dallas the lead.
David Buehler nailed the kickoff into the end zone, and Dallas stopped
returner Devin Thomas inside the 20. Moreover, Washington was called for an
illegal wedge, backing the Redskins up to the 8. The Redskins moved the ball to
the 33, but on a first down play just after the two-minute warning, the Cowboys
forced Jason Campbell to roll to his left. Jay Ratliff tipped a pass attempt up
in the air, and linebacker Anthony Spencer came down with it. Dallas was able to
run the clock down to seven seconds before the Redskins got the ball back deep
in their end.
Spencer has missed several opportunities to make big plays this year, but he
has had back-to-back solid games. Against the Redskins, he had three solo
tackles and two assists to go along with his interception.
Romo broke a streak of seven consecutive games with 20 or more receptions, as
he completed only 15 of 27 pass attempts for 158 yards. His 69.7 passer rating
was his lowest since the Cowboys’ 17-10 loss at Denver in October.
The Cowboys now have a 7-3 record and retain a one-game lead in the NFC East.
Here is a video clip of the game: