Dallas 18, Washington 16: A Gritty, Field-Goal-Kicking Machine
The Cowboys’ win over Washington had a bunch of subplots, and many of them didn’t reflect positively on young Dallas players.
Center Phil Costa earned the nickname “Cost Ya” with his snapping in the shotgun. On four occasions, Costa snapped the ball before Tony Romo was ready, and it was a minor miracle that Dallas never lost the ball on any of those snaps. The stat line shows that Costa was credited with three fumbles.
Left tackle Doug Free struggled with Brian Orakpo and was called for two holding penalties. Right tackle Tyron Smith wasn’t much better.
Martellus Bennett continued his streak of underachievement by failing to haul in a touchdown pass and getting called for holding on a long run by Felix Jones.
Kevin Ogletree fumbled the ball in the first quarter, setting up a Washington field goal. He also ran the wrong route on at least two other plays.
But this Dallas team has shown that it is as gritty as it is young. Romo has rebounded from his problems against the Jets in week 1 to lead Dallas to two late wins in a row. And while most have focused on Romo playing through injuries, he has also appeared to be more vocal on the field. Costa’s ears might end up hurting as bad as Romo’s ribs.
In the end, rookie kicker Dan Bailey hit six field goals, and most were perfect. The defense came up huge at the end, as Anthony Spencer stripped Rex Grossman on a sack, and linebacker Sean Lee picked up the ball to secure an 18-16 Dallas win.
Lee continues to show why he might be the next great linebacker in team history. In addition to his final fumble recovery, he picked off a pass early in the second quarter to set up a field goal. He had a total of eight tackles.
Felix Jones had some big second-half runs and finished with 115 yards on just 14 carries. He also added 40 receiving yards.
Neither team played well in the red zone in the first half and had to settle for three field goals a piece. The ESPN broadcast showed that this was only the second time in NFL history that two teams had been tied 9-9 at the half with three field goals for each team.
Dallas took the ball early in the third and moved the ball near midfield. But on third-and-long, the Redskins blitzed, and Romo threw the ball to a spot where Ogletree should have been. However, Ogletree ran upfield, and Washington’s Kevin Barnes intercepted.
Washington then began a nine-play drive that resulted in a touchdown from Rex Grossman to Tim Hightower.
From there, Dallas chipped away at the lead. A 29-yard run by Jones helped to move the ball into Washington territory near the end of the third quarter, and Bailey eventually made a field goal.
The Dallas defense did not let Washington score again. The Cowboys stopped the Redskins on two straight possessions, and after the second, Dallas drove down field again to hit another field goal with about seven minutes left. Free-agent acquisition Laurent Robinson had a 25-yard catch-and-run that moved the ball into the red zone.
Washington drove into Dallas territory with a 16-15 lead, but DeMarcus Ware recorded a sack the pushed the Redskins back. Washington punted, giving Dallas the ball at its own 14.
Ogletree game up big when it mattered, catching a 20-yard pass that moved the ball to the Dallas 41. On the next play, though, Costa snapped the ball too soon yet again, resulting in an 11-yard loss.
With the Cowboys facing a 3rd-and-21 at their own 30, Romo was hurried from the pocket. He rolled right before letting the ball go. On the receiving end was Dez Bryant, who caught the ball and made the first down. DeAngelo Hall might have confused Bryant’s facemask for Romo’s ribs, and the 15-yard penalty on Hall put the Cowboys in field goal range. Dallas could only run the clock down to 1:52 before Bailey hit his sixth field goal.
The Redskins moved the ball to the their own 43, but with 38 seconds left, Ware bull-rushed up the middle, forcing Grossman to roll left. Spencer came from the left end spot and chased Grossman down. Spencer stripped the ball, and Lee came up with the recovery.