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First, we knew that Dallas tends to win in November. A win would have given the Cowboys a 3-1 record during November this year.
Second, we knew that the Cowboys tend to beat the Redskins. Dallas had a 6-1 record against Washington since November 2008.
Third, we knew that Dallas tends to win on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys had gone 6-1 on Thanksgiving since 2006, and Tony Romo had never lost on Thanksgiving Day.
Even better news for the Cowboys was that Dallas previously had a 6-0 record against Washington on Thanksgiving Day.
Then Robert Griffin III returned to Texas. It looked like the Cowboys came to play in the first quarter, but RGIII exploded for three touchdown passes in a 28-point second quarter for the Redskins.
The final score of 38-31 suggested a decent game, but the Cowboys were only barely in a position to make a game of it.
One would think that Rob Ryan might have accomplished something to deserve so much air time. His current defense had absolutely no idea what to do with Griffin. After RGIII found Aldrick Robinson all by himself on a 68-yard touchdown play early in the second quarter to give the Redskins a 7-3 lead, Washington never trailed again.
Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss made some nice plays on touchdown receptions that extended the Washington lead to 28-3 by halftime.
In the past six games, the Cowboys have managed a grand total of 32 first-half points. They have been outscored during the first halves of those games by a combined score of 84-32.
Yes, Dallas has played some good football in the second halves of those games, but it is no wonder the team has gone 3-3. The team is facing a constant uphill battle.
Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and Felix Jones made some decent plays when the team was fighting that battle in the second half on Thursday. When Romo bought some time out of the pocket and found Bryant crossing the field, Bryant turned the play into an 85-yard touchdown. At that point, the Cowboys trailed 28-13.
Of course, a defensive stop would have been nice, but Dallas could not do it. RGIII drove the ball into Dallas territory, and facing a 3rd and 1, he faked a handoff and found tight end Niles Paul wide open for a 29-yard touchdown.
From there, the Cowboys cut the lead to 35-28, thanks largely to an interception by reserve safety Charlie Peprah.
But when Dallas needed a stop yet again to stay in the game, Griffin drove Washington into field-goal range. The Cowboys weren’t about to overcome a 10-point deficit late in the game.
* * *
I didn’t think the Cowboys were going to make the playoffs, but I thought they would beat Washington. This team is going to have a tough time having a winning record in its last five games, let alone making some sort of playoff run.
I hope Rob Ryan accepts a head coaching job somewhere. Or just goes somewhere else. I am very close to hoping he hires Jason Garrett as his offensive coordinator.
Sure, there are some key injuries, but this team’s starters are making some of the most boneheaded mistakes. Moreover, there is simply no excuse for repeated penalties for too many men on the field, delay of game, and so forth.
The Cowboys get a rematch with the Eagles on December 2.