Dallas 33, Washington 30: Still Defenseless, but Not Gutless
If Dave Campo wanted to make sure this year’s Dallas team will finish worse than his three 5-11 teams a decade or so ago, his secondary is helping him out.
For just over two quarters, the Cowboys looked like they would run away with this game. With 12:06 left in the third quarter, Tashard Choice’s touchdown gave Dallas a 27-7 lead. Up to that point, the Redskins had not stopped the Cowboys, and the Cowboys were containing Rex Grossman and the Washington offense.
What we can expect from this Dallas team, though, is that the defense will be unable to protect any lead. On the first play after the Dallas score, Anthony Armstrong ran right past Terence Newman an snagged a pass on a deep post pattern for a 47-yard gain. Three plays after that, the Redskins easily scored when Alan Ball barely covered Santana Moss at the slot, and Moss ran right through Ball for a score.
From that point until near the end of the game, the Dallas secondary had no answers for Grossman the Great, while the Dallas offense was able to produce a field goal in the third quarter but little else.
With the Cowboys leading 30-14, Washington went on two drives and scored both times. Moreover, the Redskins managed to convert two-point conversions after both touchdowns. Amazingly—or perhaps not—the game was tied with 7:37 remaining.
The Dallas offense had to punt after making one first down. Fortunately, Mat McBriar’s second punt of the game landed inside the 10 and died. Washington had to take over at its own 4.
The Redskins picked up one first down, and it looked like Grossman would hit Moss on a huge gain when Mike Jenkins fell down while Moss was running a go route. However, Moss dropped the pass. From there, Orlando Scandrick and Victor Butler sacked Grossman, forcing a Washington punt.
Dallas took over at its own 48 and moved the ball 31 yards to set up a David Buehler field goal from 39 yards out to give Dallas a 33-30 lead.
The Redskins had one more chance, but with less than 10 seconds left, Newman redeemed himself by grabbing a pick on an out route, securing the Dallas win.
The Cowboys raced out to its big lead thanks to good field position in the first half. In the first quarter alone, Dallas started drives at the Dallas 46 (Bryan McCann kickoff return), the Washington 30 (McCann punt return), the Washington 27 (Gerald Sensabaugh interception), and the Washington 35 (McCann punt return). However, Dallas only managed 13 points on those drives thanks to some shaky play in the red zone.
Kitna had a very solid day, completing 25 of 37 for 305 yards with 2 TDs and no picks. Jason Witten looks like an All-Pro again, catching 10 passes for 140 yards with a score. Dallas did not turn the ball over.
The defense picked up five sacks, including two by DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys forced three turnovers, on two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Thanks to the sacks, the Cowboys only gave up 341 yards. Dallas had given up at least 400 yards in each of the last three games and in six of the last eight games.
The Cowboys are now tied for last place in the NFC East with the Redskins, as both teams are now 5-9. Washington has the tiebreaker edge, though, thanks to a 4-7 conference record compared with the Cowboys’ 3-7 conference record.