COWBOYS REDSKINS GAME 15 RECAP: Dallas Cowboys come from behind win full of surprises | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins
What surprised you most on the final offensive drive?
I watched it from field level and I am looking forward to catching it on tape as we head home, but just the confidence that Tony Romo continued to show in Terrance Williams surprised me most. Give both Williams and Romo a great deal of credit. There was no doubt that the Redskins were not going to allow Dez Bryant or Jason Witten to beat them in that situation, so working the ball in the direction of Williams was the smart play throughout the drive.
Even if Romo would have gone in the direction of Cole Beasley, I would have expected it. What was even more amazing about it was how poised Williams was in the way he ran his routes, which allowed Romo to find him. It would have been very easy for Williams to allow the moment to be too big and be lazy or not committed to what he needed to do on the drive. He executed well and he rewarded his quarterback with some big time plays.
By the coaches playing Williams early in the season and giving him responsibility, it made him ready for this type of moment. It was nice to see that Romo trusted him as well.
How much does DeMarco Murray mean to this offense?
You have heard me say this a bunch: When you have a running back that is a complete player, you have a chance in this league to move the ball with success.
Murray has played this season with a chip on his shoulder. There were those that doubted his ability, whether he could be a difference-maker as a running back, and that he was too injury prone to have any long-term success. What Murray did today was nothing short of amazing. Other than the run on the final drive where he made the mental mistake and loss nine yards on the carry, he ran the ball with toughness and determination.
He stood tall in the pocket on blitz pickup and refused to give an inch, but he also was once again outstanding in having the awareness to find space underneath in routes. From my angle on the sideline, I wasn’t sure that Romo saw him, but he was able to get him the ball. What was impressive about the catch was Murray’s ability to secure the ball and then keep his balance in order to fight his way into the end zone.
There are plenty of important players on this team, but if you don’t think DeMarco Murray is one of them, you really are not in tune with the game.
How confident were you that the defense could get one final stop?
This defense has had its share of problems this season. They have struggled with pressure, they don’t always play the run well enough, and when it comes to handling a receiver on third down to get off the field, they are far from perfect.
But give Monte Kiffin and this defense a ton of credit on the final two Redskins drives. It was evident that Washington was interested in trying to protect a lead and was committed to trying to do just that. Although offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan slammed Alfred Morris into the line time and time again, the defense did not allow the Redskins to get in a manageable third-down situation and despite a pass to Aldrick Robinson, they were able to bow their necks and make a stop with Orlando Scandrick playing against Pierre Garcon in the middle of the field, forcing a punt.
When the Redskins took the ball over on their final drive, the Cowboys defense went in lockdown mode. The coverage from field level was airtight and it was difficult for any of the Washington receivers to find any space. Scandrick, Sterling Moore, Brandon Carr, Jeff Heath and Barry Church were at their best when this defense needed them the most.
I kept my eyes down the field and I never witnessed the open receivers that at times we had seen earlier in the game. The coverage and pressure made Kirk Cousins look like the young, inexperienced quarterback that he was. With their season on the line, this Cowboys defense did something I am sure none of us believed they could do – made two stops and gave this squad a shot to play for a division title next week.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Dallas Cowboys Analyst/Former Scout
LANDOVER, Md. – Three Dallas Cowboys writers share their initial feelings of the Dallas Cowboys dramatic comeback win over the Washington Redskins.
Helman: I’m running out of ways to express how I can’t explain what I just saw. For what feels like the 12th time in 15 games, the Dallas Cowboys took it to the wire in an exasperating, exhilarating finish. It’s hard to know who to focus on between DeMarco Murray, Tony Romo, Terrance Williams or the defense. But they all combined to keep the season alive. You could probably argue it shouldn’t have come down to such an insane situation. But with this team, that’s just the way it’s going to be. The roller coaster continues at least one more week.
Kavner: This was vintage Dallas Cowboys. Expect the unexpected with this group, which never makes anything easy. That’s both positive and negative, as the consistent inconsistency always makes for dramatic finishes. That’s a reason many fans become apathetic watching them, because they can’t take the emotional back and forth that’s sure to occur week in and week out. The Cowboys found a way to pull through and keep everyone on that rollercoaster yet another week. It wouldn’t happen any other way with this team, setting up yet another Week 17 showdown for the division. They’ll need to diverge from the past if the third time’s a charm and they finally pull off the NFC East title coming off as big a win as the team’s had since Jason Garrett’s tenure began, complete with an ironic finish on a passing touchdown to the guy everyone clamored to run the ball more often. Expect another nail-biter in yet another win or go home game. It can’t happen any other way.
Eatman: I really didn’t see them getting out of this place with a win and there were countless times when that appeared to hold true. But this team wouldn’t die and they deserve credit for that. Nothing was pretty except the final score. I applaud this defense for gutting it out like they did in the second half. And what else can you say about Romo? Every time he’s counted out he bounces back. He drives fans crazy but that’s who he is. The only thing I really got right about the initial gut was the season wouldn’t be over today and it’s not. Crazy game with twists and turns but more importantly, they’re still alive and will probably be favored to make the playoffs.
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COWBOYS REDSKINS GAMEDAY GUT CHECK: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins | 2013-2014 NFL Game 15
The Dallas Cowboys control their own destiny. Win and you’re in.
It wasn’t always pretty, the problems that have plagued the team in recent weeks again showing up at times today, but in the end, Dallas brought home a 24-23 victory over the Redskins, setting the stage for a one-game showdown against Philadelphia next Sunday.
Tony Romo was at his best when his team needed him the most, leading the Cowboys on a late fourth-quarter drive that gave Dallas the come-from-behind victory. He finished the day completing 17-of-27 passes for 226 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, as rookie Terrance Williams led the club with 84 yards receiving while Dez Bryant added 73 more.
After taking criticism for abandoning the running game last week, the Cowboys handed the ball off to DeMarco Murray 22 times in this one, and he rushed for 96 yards. In the process, he became the first Dallas running back to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing for a season since Julius Jones did so in 2006. Murray also had three catches for 15 yards and scored twice, including the game-winner.
Defensively, the ravaged unit again struggled to contain its opponent, particularly wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who had a field day with 144 receiving yards off of 11 catches. But quarterback Kirk Cousins finished with just 197 yards passing while Alfred Morris pounded out 88 yards on 24 rushing attempts. And like Romo, the Dallas D did what it had to do when it had to do it, getting two big stops in the fourth quarter to help lead the team to the win.
The Cowboys offense experienced each end of the field-position spectrum on their first two series of the game. After the Redskins went three-and-out to start, newly signed return man Michael Spurlock took the ensuing punt at his own 35, got great blocks from Danny McCray and Jeff Heath, and darted down the right sideline 62 yards to the Redskins 3.
Already on the doorstep, Dallas then needed just two plays to score the game’s first touchdown, Murray barreling in for the 7-0 lead.
But on the Cowboys’ next possession, they experienced the exact opposite. Another Washington punt this time rolled down to the Dallas 2-yard line, and with their backs against the wall, the offense was forced to punt. So this time it was the Redskins who enjoyed good field position, and they were able to eventually kick a 36-yard field goal to get on the board.
Washington narrowed the lead to 7-6 with a 22-yard field goal midway through the second quarter, and the Cowboys appeared in trouble again when a penalty on the kickoff return pushed them back to their own 7. But Murray took a handoff to the left, cut back against the grain and stiff-armed his way around the right side to rumble 43 yards to the 50.
Romo then showed a little of that old magic. First he threw a 31-yard pass to Bryant on the right sideline, then three plays later, the quarterback spun away from a blitzing safety before launching a perfect throw to Bryant in the back of the end zone for the score and a 14-6 advantage at the half.
Despite the Cowboys owning the lead, the defense was doing little to stop the home team, meaning the offense would have to keep pace over the final 30 minutes of the game for Dallas to have any chance of getting the win.
But similar to last week’s loss against the Packers, the offense came out after the break and struggled. On their first possession of the third quarter, fullback Tyler Clutts took a short pass from Romo only to fumble, cornerback Josh Wilson recovering at the Dallas 33. That turnover led to an 8-yard pass to Garcon, who ran in untouched to close the gap to just one point, 14-13.
It didn’t take long for the Redskins to then take the lead after yet another Dallas turnover. On the Cowboys next possession, Romo threw an ill-advised pass to Bryant, who also slipped on his curl route, DeAngelo Hall there to get the easy interception and set his team up at the Dallas 47.
With the Dallas defense showing signs of wearing down, Morris took the handoff five times for 28 yards, the final carry a four-yard charge up the middle for the score and a 20-13 advantage.
Make that three straight series Washington put points on the board. With Romo and Co. still unable to do much of anything offensively, the Cowboys punted the ball away to their hosts, who then marched back to the Dallas 34-yard line, thanks in part to a crucial late hit penalty on safety J.J. Wilcox. That resulted in a 47-yard field goal for Washington on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Having gone away from the run in the third frame, in part because of the turnovers, the Cowboys went back to a more balanced attack on their next possession. Starting at their own 20, the offense worked all the way down to the Washington 7-yard line, converting a fourth-and-6 when Romo found Cole Beasley for a 20-yard strike. And although they couldn’t get in the end zone, Dan Bailey hit the chip-shot field goal, the Cowboys narrowing the score to 23-17 while also eating up 8:47 of clock.
And then the defense did something they hadn’t done since Thanksgiving – got a second-half stop. Forcing the Redskins to punt, Orlando Scandrick breaking up a pass to Garcon over the middle on third down, the Cowboys took over possession at their own 13-yard line after the punt with 3:39 remaining on the clock.
Romo then proceeded to move his offense down the field, hitting Williams on a sideline pass for 15 yards, then rolling out to his right and finding Williams again, this time behind the defense for a huge 51-yard connection. Another 17-yard pass to Bryant then set the Cowboys up with first-and-goal at the 4-yard line with 2:16 left.
After Murray picked up three yards to the 1-yard line on first down, he got stuffed for no gain on the second snap. Then on third down, Murray tried to reverse field, only to lose nine yards, setting up a crucial fourth-and-goal at the 10.
Dropping back to pass, Romo at first was unable to find an open receiver, but slipping out of the pocket, he then dumped off to Murray on the right side, who turned and dove to the end zone for the score. With the extra point, Dallas had regained the lead, 24-23.
The Redskins had one more shot, but on fourth-and-6 with 45 seconds left, Cousins pass fell incomplete, the Cowboys’ comeback complete.
With the win, the Cowboys improved their record for the season to 8-7, including a 5-0 mark in the division, and will now play for the NFC East title next week against the Eagles, who face Chicago on Sunday night.
NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins | The Cowboys Redskins rivalry continues | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys NFL Game 15
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When: Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 at high noon (Dallas time)
Where: FedEx Field | Landover, MD
Watch on TV: FOX | DirecTV
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