ARLINGTON, Tex. — If the Washington Redskins thought their bye week would cure what ailed them in the season’s early stages, they were mistaken. They emerged from their time off resembling the same struggling team they’d been beforehand. Breakdowns on special teams proved particularly costly and the Redskins lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 31-16, here Sunday night.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III had his best running game of the season, rushing for 77 yards. Tailback Alfred Morris had a long third-quarter touchdown run. But the Redskins too often settled for field goals by place kicker Kai Forbath and their record plummeted to 1-4.
The Cowboys gave owner Jerry Jones a victory to celebrate on his 71st birthday and evened their record at 3-3, putting them in a first-place tie with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East. Dwayne Harris had a touchdown on an 86-yard punt return in the second quarter, and added a 90-yard kickoff return in the third quarter to set up a touchdown pass from quarterback Tony Romo to wide receiver Terrance Williams.
Tailbacks DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle had rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys, with Randle’s one-yard run all but sealing the outcome with just less than nine minutes remaining after Griffin lost a fumble on a sack at his 3-yard line. Griffin threw an interception to end the Redskins’ next drive.
Romo threw an interception and managed a relatively modest 170 passing yards for the Cowboys. But that was enough for a win one week after he passed for 506 yards and five touchdowns in a 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos. Romo threw a late interception in that game that led to the Broncos’ winning field goal and that, to some observers, raised all of the old, familiar questions about his ability to produce in crunch time.
The start was not particularly promising for the Redskins, as their defense had no answers for Romo and the Cowboys on the game’s opening drive. Romo had a key third-down completion to tight end Jason Witten and Murray got the touchdown on a four-yard run.
Griffin was sharp at the outset, with a 19-yard completion to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and a 15-yard run on a scramble on the Redskins’ first two offensive plays of the night. Rookie tight end Jordan Reed had a pair of catches on the Redskins’ opening drive and they moved quickly into scoring position. But Griffin was stopped two yards shy of the end zone on a third-and-goal run on a quarterback draw from the Dallas 9-yard line — a play call from which the team seemed to shy in the season’s first few games as Griffin worked his way back from knee surgery in January — and the Redskins were left with the first of Forbath’s three field goals.
The Redskins generated a second-quarter turnover when blitzing cornerback Josh Wilson batted a pass by Romo into the air and linebacker Rob Jackson, playing in his first game of the season after serving a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, grabbed the ball on the deflection for an interception. But the Redskins failed to convert, punting on each of their next two possessions.
The second of those punts resulted in Harris’s touchdown. The Redskins initially had the Cowboys backed up in their own territory but had to re-punt because of an illegal-motion penalty on their first attempt. This time, Harris caught Sav Rocca’s punt at his 14-yard line, weaved his way through would-be tacklers and sprinted along the sideline to the end zone as the Redskins’ Darryl Tapp and Jerome Murphy collided with one another while in pursuit. The Redskins also received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when special teams coach Keith Burns, standing on the sideline, made inadvertent contact with one of the officials who was running to try to keep up with the play.
The Redskins regrouped and used Griffin’s 29-yard completion to Reed to set up Forbath’s 32-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Forbath connected again, this time from 33 yards, after Griffin’s 26-yard run on a scramble, plus 15 additional penalty yards for absorbing a late hit out of bounds, early in the third quarter.
No matter. Harris took the kickoff after that field goal and, from five yards deep in his own end zone, sprinted practically the length of the field before being knocked out of bounds by the Redskins’ E.J. Biggers at the 15-yard line. On second down from there, Romo eluded the blitzing Wilson and lofted a pass in the corner of the end zone to Williams, who made the grab and stayed in bounds for the touchdown.
Morris, given little running room to that point, had a swift reply by cutting across the field on his way to a 45-yard touchdown dash. But Forbath missed from 49 yards early in the fourth quarter and the Cowboys got a 30-yard field goal by their kicker, Dan Bailey.
Courtesy: By Mark Maske | The Washington Post
For millions of folks around the D.C. area, Sunday night can’t get here soon enough, and not because they just can’t wait to go to work the next morning — or not go to work, still, for too many of us.
No, Sunday night is anxiously awaited because, of course, it’s Redskins vs. Cowboys! There are so many questions posed by this game (and it’s just a darn shame we’ll be forced to suffer through seven-plus hours of other NFL action before we get to it, right?). Questions such as: Coming out of a bye week, will Robert Griffin III regain the stellar form he showed in last year’s trip to Dallas? Can the Redskins solve the Cowboys’ new 4-3 front? Will Tony Romo pick up where he left off against the Broncos, and strafe Washington’s secondary? Or will Duffy’s Irish Pub run out of Jameson?
But while we wait for those questions to be answered, I have one this morning: Would you trade Dan Snyder for Jerry Jones? It’s no secret that Snyder hasn’t exactly been the most beloved team owner this part of the world has ever seen, but would the Cowboys owner be preferable?
First, a little tale of the tape:
- Age: Snyder, 48; Jones, 70 (71 on Sunday!)
- Net worth (according to Forbes): Snyder, $1.2 billion; Jones, $3 billion
- Made fortune in: Snyder, marketing; Jones, oil
- Owned team since: Snyder, 1999; Jones, 1989
- Regular season winning percentage since purchase: Snyder, .447; Jones, .535
- Team success: Snyder, two division titles; Jones, eight division titles, three Super Bowl wins
Snyder was born and largely raised in the D.C. area, while Jones is from Arkansas, so that deep local connection might be the trump card for many of you.
The wealth factor certainly favors Jones, but Snyder’s never been shy about splashing around cash (albeit often with unfortunate results), so that’s probably a wash.
Snyder obviously is a much younger man, so if you’re worried about your favorite team’s owner turning into a crazy old man, a la the late Al Davis, then Snyder would be your choice. But at the risk of getting morbid, if you’d much rather have an entirely different owner, then you might vote for Jones, who’s that much closer, one presumes, to the ultimate skybox.
As far as team stewardship goes, Jones had huge success almost immediately, but one could argue that Jimmy Johnson deserves most of the credit for that. In fact, Jones’s desire for greater control over the team’s personnel moves is widely cited as the reason Johnson left the team in 1993. Jones has operated as the Cowboys de facto general manager since then, but his teams have never been as good as the ones Johnson helped build. Snyder, on the other hand, seems to have stepped back a bit from his early, heavy involvement with the Redskins. He has had three head coaches over the past 10 seasons, as compared to five in his first five seasons.
Then there’s the controversy over the team’s name. If you’re looking for someone who’ll swear allegiance to the name “Redskins” through thick and thin, you can’t do better than Snyder. Jones recently offered his own defense of the name, but it was far more half-hearted, and you’d have to think that, without Snyder’s emotional attachment, Jones would elect to move in whichever direction the prevailing winds were blowing, especially if he thought they were blowing toward a big pile of cash.
So who ya got? Snyder or Jones?
And what vote-swaying distinction between them have I failed to mention?
Courtesy: Desmond Bieler | The Washington Post
Editors comment: Same question can be reversed … would you trade Jerry Jones for Daniel Snyder? Would you trade Jerry Jones for any other NFL owner? If so, who … and why?
Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan officially announced that Robert Griffin III will be under center when the defending NFC East champions open their 2013 season against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.
Griffin, the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, sat out the entire preseason while recovering from surgery in January to repair both the lateral collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee. The standout quarterback sustained the LCL injury in a win over Baltimore in December, then tore the ACL in Washington’s loss to Seattle in the NFC Wild Card Playoffs.
The former Heisman Trophy winner was cleared to play by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews last week, and Shanahan confirmed the expected during his Monday press conference.
“I feel very good where Robert’s at, and he’ll be our starter on Monday night unless there’s some crazy setback that we don’t anticipate,” said Shanahan.
Shanahan also reiterated that Griffin, who also tore his ACL in the same knee during his sophomore season at Baylor in 2009, will not be under any restrictions.
“If we didn’t feel like Robert was full-go and he wasn’t ready to play and do all the things that you ask a guy to do, then he would not be playing in this game,” he stated. “We believe he can do everything that a quarterback is asked to do and if that’s sprinting out, if it’s running the option, if it’s dropping back, we think he can do all those things because he’s proved it to us in practice, and there hasn’t been a setback so that’s been a great sign.”
Courtesy: Mike Jones | The Washington Post
Photo courtesy: Jonathan Newton | The Washington Post
RIVAL HEADLINE: Here comes the mystery team – Dallas Cowboys still a puzzle as finale vs. Redskins approaches
ARLINGTON, Tex. – They were playing this week to decide the meaning of next week, and it’s now clear that it will be winner take all when the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys meet for the NFC East title. The next question for the Redskins is, which outfit should they scout with the playoffs on the line: the Cowboys who can’t solve the riddle of their dazzling but often fatally confused personality, or the terrifying Cowboys who know exactly who they are?
Do you expect the perplexing, dumbfounding Cowboys who suffered yet another upset loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in overtime, 34-31? Or the touchdown-a-minute monsters who almost won a game that seemed unwinnable? Do you plan for the team that can look like a still life? Or the one that can leave you thunderstruck with feats like two touchdowns in the final 3 minutes 35 seconds against the Saints?
Do you expect the strangely complacent team that allowed the Saints to possess the ball for a staggering 41:59 out of more than 64 minutes? Or do you brace for the biting, snap-jawed team that is never, ever out of a game with Tony Romo, who threw for 416 yards and four touchdowns and can make so much happen in such a short period of time? Their late fourth-quarter drives took just 1:10 and 1:14, respectively, the second one ending with Romo’s 19-yard zing to Miles Austin on fourth and 10 with just 15 seconds remaining to force overtime.
“We had a lot of good plays,” Romo said. “But we didn’t get off the field on third down, and didn’t stay on the field enough on third down, and that’s not a good recipe. . . .We didn’t make a play or two that can determine it.”
RIVAL HEADLINE: Cowboys are ‘pageant beauties’; Dez Bryant makes his baby-sitter proud (Washington Post)
ARLINGTON, Texas — Let’s keep this in perspective. They beat a bunch of pageant beauties in the Dallas Cowboys, a team with more dimples than substance. Nevertheless, how often does a crowd at Cowboys Stadium chant for the Washington Redskins quarterback, while booing their own team off the field at halftime? How often does a team get a performance in a must-win game like we saw from Robert Griffin III, so predatory and timely?
It’s hard to believe these words are landing in hard type: The Redskins are clearly the second-best team in the NFC East. That’s now established, and the division lead is actually in sight. For all of the holes in their defense, for all of Mike Shanahan’s throw-in-the-towelness, they are alive, and not just breathing through a tube either. This was a status report game, a where-do-we-stand diagnostic. Had they lost, Shanahan’s towel would have stayed thrown. But they’ve won two division games in five days, and not by a little — by a lot. They’ve put up more than 30 points twice in a week. Pick up the towel.
"It just felt like we were out there showing not only ourselves, but the Cowboys, and everybody, what we were capable of," Griffin said. "Everybody showed up today ready to go, even with the short week. This is what we have to do: Be ready to play. I couldn’t be more proud."
Their status is now this: They are poised for a strong last third of the season. They are healthier than they have been: wide receiver Pierre Garcon’s foot was well enough for him to finally be a factor, and their offensive line is whole. They’ve put up 295 points, more than they scored all of last season (288). And there is not much separating them from the division-leading New York Giants — not much at all. The last time they met, remember, the Giants needed an on-the-money 77-yard scoring pass from quarterback Eli Manning with a 1 minute 13 seconds to go, for a 27-23 victory.
It’s not yet time to anoint the Redskins a sure playoff contender; they aren’t even a .500 team. But they are certainly a tighter, more disciplined, more self-believing and ascendant team than either the Giants or the Cowboys. And to be honest, after watching the slack, careless, profligate play of the Cowboys for most of three quarters, it’s hard to imagine them recovering from this loss. They are not a team that radiates confidence or consistency; it’s a team of flash powder.
The Cowboys had a golden opportunity to knock out the Redskins, their biggest emotional and division rival, and get to 6-5. A Thursday game at home on Thanksgiving invariably and heavily favors the host, and the Redskins hadn’t won a turkey game since 1973.
But is there a team in the league that annually squanders more talent and opportunity than the Cowboys? Quarterback Tony Romo is all ambling casualness, grinny and impossibly wasteful. Dez Bryant is so gifted it makes his baby-sitter proud. The shiny-haired Jason Garrett applied his Princeton University degree to the problem of how to attack the Redskins’ vulnerable secondary. Instead, Romo throws a bunch of short lobs over the middle. One of which resulted in that second-quarter interception by DeAngelo Hall that set the Redskins up at the Dallas 23, and led to the Redskins’ 28-point explosion.
The Cowboys always look so good, don’t they? Romo was 37 of 62 for 441 yards, numbers that are gaudy on paper. Romo’s numbers were deceptive: He started slow and played leisurely, unable to answer for long stretches while his team fell two, then three, then four scores behind. On one series in the first quarter, they took a false start, and then a delay-of-game while Romo fussed around hitching his shoulders; maybe he was trying to get the line of his jersey right. They moved 10 yards backward without even getting a snap off.
"Too many bad sequences, didn’t play well on offense and didn’t play well on defense, and didn’t do a good job in the kicking game as well," Garrett said.
That about covered it.
You want to see a good quarterback, one with flash and beauty, and substance, and urgency? Griffin, who has thrown eight touchdown passes against just nine incompletions in this week’s two games combined, has become the prettiest piece of wallpaper in the league. He is so dynamic, threatens to make so much happen on every play, that he covers up for all of the Redskins’ weaknesses. He bails them out of even the worst situations — such as Brandon Banks deciding to field a booming 67-yard punt in his end zone, after backpedaling two yards deep, to put the Redskins on their 5-yard line.
It was nothing that couldn’t be cured by Griffin’s eye and arm meeting Aldrick Robinson’s legs for a 68-yard score. Robinson jumped off the line and sprinted past Brandon Carr by 10 yards, and Griffin threw it absolutely as far as he could — fully 60 yards in the air — and at first, it looked like he put too much on it. Actually, he knew his customer. Robinson ran a 4.35 in the NFL combine, and somehow he covered enough green to run under it, and caught it, never slowing.
Among Griffin’s many, many gifts is his ability to summon his sharpest performance when he most needs to. It’s the hallmark of a great player, and it is beginning to imbue the entire organization, on both sides of the ball. One of these days, when the Redskins have become the winner that every arrow is suggesting they will be, they will look back over their shoulders to this week, when they beat two division rivals like a drum, and say it started here.
"Everything seems better when you win," Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said, "Whether it’s the food, the Thanksgiving dinner we eat, it tastes a lot better. Injuries heal up a lot faster when you win. It was a good win for us."
Source: Sally Jenkins | The Washington Post.
YACHTING WITH THE ENEMY: Jerry Jones says his friendship with Dan Snyder enhances Cowboys – Redskins rivalry (Rival Newspaper)
Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder are friends. They do things like ride on yachts together, and film pizza commercials together. Some D.C. fans have reacted negatively to this friendship, worrying that a Redskins owner can’t dream of squashing the Cowboys while simultaneously being close friends with their owner.
Turns out Jones was actually asked this week if the Redskins can still be a bitter rival, despite his friendship with Snyder.
“They are, yes, they are” he said on his weekly radio appearance with New School on 105.3 The Fan. “My friendship with him has NOTHING to do with that. As a matter of fact, have we not all had brothers, sisters, friends where the rivalry or who gets it is more intense than if you were NOT friends? That becomes the case here.
“First of all, this rivalry [began] long before him and long before me. Secondly, it’s bigger than both of us put together. So having said all of that, I just want to figure out a way for the Cowboys to beat the Redskins. Of course if it were the Giants or the Eagles, those are big too, but this Redskins thing is something that’s got more stories, and so storied.”
Jones also talked at length about the threat posed by Robert Griffin III, and the improvement Washington’s offense has enjoyed this season.
“My goodness, with their quarterback and what they’re doing offensively…we’re gonna have to work to come out of here with a win,” Jones said. “I see a guy that is very aware and has the ability to put such pressure on the defense, because he prefers to make time, buy time to throw the ball. They’ve not only coached him to do that, but he prefers it. He’s not a preferred runner, like Michael Vick. He’s a guy that’s using all that skill, all that quickness, all that speed to basically get an opportunity to throw the ball, and that’s what you want.
“He’s really MORE than I think anybody would have thought he would be coming out. The Redskins have a really top quarterback. We know about him here in Texas, we all do. He’s a good one right now, and will make a HUGE difference in our game Thursday….To contain him with his quickness and speed and yet at the same time try to keep his receivers covered is a huge challenge. He really has an accurate arm and a good arm. It’ll be a big challenge.”
Courtesy: Dan Steinberg | Washington Post
Photo: Magic Johnson, Jerry Jones, and Daniel Snyder
The Washington Redskins have acquired the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft, sending three first-round picks to the St. Louis Rams, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.
Known for making big splashes during his tenure as owner of the Redskins, Daniel Snyder authorized his boldest move yet as the team will send this year’s first-round pick (sixth overall) and second-round pick, as well as first-round picks in 2013 and 2014, for what are expected to be the rights to draft Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports first reported the news.
The trade will not become official until Tuesday.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is expected to go first overall to Indianapolis, and the trade with St. Louis puts the Redskins in line to select a potentially game-changing franchise quarterback.
The Redskins had been in discussions with the Rams to acquire the No. 2 pick since the NFL Scouting Combine. The Rams already have their franchise quarterback in third-year pro Sam Bradford, and sought to move the pick for pieces that would expedite their rebuilding process.
Plagued by inconsistent quarterback play for the better part of 20 seasons, and with Coach Mike Shanahan entering his third season with the franchise and needing to reverse his fortunes after consecutive double-digit loss seasons, Washington was prepared to make a bold move.
It was believed that the Rams would command a price similar to that of the San Diego Chargers in 2004 when they received two first-round picks along with third- and a fifth-rounder from the New York Giants for Eli Manning.
But Washington ended up giving much more – an indication of team officials’ high opinion of Griffin, and the level of pressure Shanahan is facing. That move means mortgaging the future, but if Griffin, who won the Heisman Trophy last fall, is as good as advertised, he will ignite a struggling franchise and also buy Shanahan more time.
“You’re not giving [those picks] away. You’re getting a quarterback who has star power,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said Thursday when asked about the price of moving up to acquire the Rams’ pick and the chance to draft Griffin. “I don’t care about the spots you move up. It’s a quarterback-driven league. Griffin is red hot right now. … Dan Snyder knows what [the Redskins] need, and they’ve got to get a quarterback. They beat the Giants twice, and they beat Green Bay a year ago. He knows the missing link in Washington is quarterback.”
The Redskins and Browns both had interest in St. Louis’ pick, but Cleveland had multiple needs and didn’t want to part with both the fourth and 22nd overall picks of this year’s draft, and bowed out.
Washington had aggressively pursued Peyton Manning following his release from the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday. But with Manning indicating that he didn’t have a desire to come to Washington, the team turned it’s focus to the draft, and pulled off the blockbuster deal with the Rams.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who spoiled Dallas’ NFL regular-season debut of Cowboys Stadium a few years back, likes his chances playing there Sunday night. Manning, in an interview with ESPN New York transcribed by SportsRadioInterviews.com, appreciates what the Cowboys have done this season, but he feels the elements in Arlington work well for the Giants.
"We’ve had some good games there, so I think any time you get to play in good weather, in a dome and on turf, it’s always pretty good conditions to throw the football. So obviously they’re a talented football team, they’ve got a new defensive coordinator doing some different things on defense this year. So we’ve got to get prepared, but we’ve played well in the past so hopefully we can continue to do that."
Washington Redskins wide receiver Jabar Gaffney took to Twitter after a tough loss to the Dallas Cowboys and told a Dallas fan to “go kill himself,” The Washington Post reports.
The Twitter tirade began after a Cowboys fan tweeted Gaffney “lmao 3-9.” The Redskins, however, are 3-7 and Gaffney responded rather angrily in a string of three tweets to the Cowboys fan.
“3-7 ain’t a record to be proud of I’m just proud I ain’t you get a life or kill urself,” the deleted tweet read.
Gaffney ended up deleting most of the profanity laced tweets. To see photos of the deleted stream, click here.
In Sunday’s overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Gaffney caught seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Courtesy: Sports Illustrated | The Washington Post
RELATED: Jabar Gaffney tells Cowboys fan to kill himself
The Redskins should probably go ahead and agree not to check Twitter on Sundays after losses.
First Fred Davis wrote that anyone who thinks he fumbled in the first quarter is an idiot.
This started when a Cowboys fan who lives in Virginia sent Gaffney a tweet reading “lmao 3-9.” The Redskins, of course, are not 3-9. Things devolved quickly from there.
The stream is below, with the bad words blacked out. Read from the bottom up.
Courtesy: Dan Steinberg | The Washington Post | 11/21/2011
RIVALS HEADLINE: Jerry Jones’ ‘mad’ day nets a tie for 1st, Dallas Cowboys beat Washington Redskins 27-24 in OT
Photo courtesy: STAR-TELEGRAM/RODGER MALLISON
Dallas Cowboys executives Jerry Jones Jr., Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones talk on the field before the game.
LANDOVER, Md. — Jerry Jones’ team is tied for first place. Dan Snyder has never had a team lose this many in a row.
But such was the nature of the Dallas Cowboys’ 27-24 overtime victory over the Washington Redskins that it was winning owner Jones who afterward declared: “I stayed mad all day.”
“That is what happens,” Jones said, “when you go in maybe thinking that you have a little more going for you than you possibly should.”
Jones said he wasn’t picking on the coaches — he was merely reflecting his own roller-coaster feelings after the Cowboys allowed a last-minute game-tying touchdown in regulation and survived a missed Redskins field goal in overtime. Dallas came in with the momentum of solid back-to-back wins over the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills, but on Sunday came the reminder that rivalry games can never been taken for granted — even when the other team is struggling.
Photos Courtesy: The Washington Post
After five straight dismal performances, the Washington Redskins broke out of their funk Sunday to put on one of their best offensive showings of the season and nearly end the worst losing streak of Coach Mike Shanahan’s career.
But in the end the result was the same, as the Dallas Cowboys escaped FedEx Field with a 27-24 overtime victory in a fierce rivalry game that marked the first time since 1998 the Redskins have been defeated six straight times.
The Redskins (3-7), who forced overtime on a four-yard touchdown pass from Rex Grossmanto Donte Stallworth with 14 seconds left to play, had their chances. They won the overtime toss and received the kickoff, and Grossman moved his unit into Cowboys territory, but the drive stalled at the Dallas 34-yard line.
(Jonathan Newton – WASHINGTON POST)
After missing all of the training camp and the first two games of the regular season, LaRon Landry’s bad Achilles has flared up again. He was unable to practice Wednesday and Thursday and will be a gametime decision Sunday.
“If it was up to me, I’d play on Sunday,” Landry said Friday. “As of right now, it’s out of my hands. I would like to play Sunday. If I don’t, it’s not my decision. So ask coach.”
The anticipated backfield combination of Landry and Oshiomogho Atogwe has only been together for four games this year. While Atogwe is expected to return to the lineup Sunday after missing two games, Landry did not sound as hopeful.
Landry initially injured his Achilles last November. Twelve months later, it’s still a problem.
“If it’s sore today, that’s still two days to heal for Sunday. So if you don’t feel that I’m prepared enough to play for Sunday or whatever, it’s not my call, not my decision,” he said. “But as of right now… if they want to let me play, they’ll let me play. If not, it’s not my call.”
“I’m not upset,” he continued. “It’s just frustrating. The Achilles is getting back sore, it’s a big game coming up and if I don’t play, I’ll be kind of hurt behind it. But we got more games left.”
Courtesy: Rick Maese | The Washington Post
The Washington Redskins will be trying to end a five-game losing streak Sunday, when they host the Dallas Cowboys.
In their first meeting of the season, the Cowboys edged the Redskins 18-16 on a 40-yard field goal with 1:52 left on the clock.
Since then, the Redskins have gone 1-5 while the Cowboys have won three and lost three. Dallas, who enters the game having won 14 of the last 21 meetings, enters as seven-point favorites.
Here are five storylines to follow in this matchup.
1. The lingering injury bug: The Redskins just can’t shake it. Already shorthanded along the offensive line, the status of rookie Maurice Hurt, who has started the last two games at left guard, remains in doubt as a knee injury has sidelined him this week. Both right tackles Sean Locklear (ankle) and Jammal Brown (groin) are hobbled as well. Injuries have robbed the Redskins of playmakers Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, Tim Hightower and now Leonard Hankerson. On defense, strong safety LaRon Landry says he expects to play although a sore Achilles’ tendon has hampered him all week. But how effective can he be? The defensive line has gotten thin as well, as end Kedric Golston was lost for the season last week. Can the Redskins overcome all of their bumps and bruises to compete with Dallas?
2. Rex’s rebound: Quarterback Rex Grossman makes his second start since reclaiming his job, and Redskins players and his coaches believe that despite his warts (11 interceptions and two fumbles in six games), the nine-year veteran gives them the best chance to win. He can move the offense, but moving it isn’t enough. Grossman & Co. need to find the end zone. During this five-game skid, the Redskins have averaged 10.6 points a game. That certainly won’t cut it against a Dallas team that ranks 10th in the NFL in scoring (24.8 points a game). Can Grossman and his short-handed offense get back on track?
3. Run game: The Redskins’ rushing attack has been missing in action for much of the season, and that’s a big reason why their offense has struggled so mightily. The Shanahans have tried Ryan Torain, gone to Roy Helu, back to Torain and then back to Helu again. Helu provided a bit of a spark (averaging 5.0 yards a carry this season), but with Washington usually playing from behind, the team has had to take to the air. A lack of continuity on the line complicates matters, but the Redskins have to try to find a way to rekindle the rushing attack. In their last three games, the Cowboys have given up 178.7 yards a game and 6.3 yards per carry. Could the Redskins possibly get right this week? Will Tashard Choice get a chance to help his new team as he faces his old team?
4. Run defense: While the Redskins still are trying to get their rushing attack going, the Cowboys have found their workhorse back in rookie DeMarco Murray, who has averaged nearly 19 carries for more than 150 yards rushing in the last four games. The Redskins on the season rank 16th against the run, yielding 120.4 rushing yards a game and need to buckle down this week to keep the Oklahoma product from running wild, which will enable Dallas to string together long, clock-churning drives. Limiting Murray will put more pressure on quarterback Tony Romo to make big plays, which could mean opportunities for interceptions.
5. Armstrong’s opportunity: Last season’s breakout receiver, Anthony Armstrong has yet to rekindle the magic this season thanks largely to limited opportunities. He started the year on a strong note, but got hurt the last time Washington faced Dallas and hasn’t reclaimed a regular spot in the rotation since. Now with Hankerson done for the year, it appears that Armstrong will return to the starting lineup as he remains the best option at that X-receiver position. He would love to shine against his hometown team, the Cowboys, and finally prove to coaches that he shouldn’t have been the forgotten man.
Courtesy: Mike Jones | The Washington Post
This weekend the Redskins play Dallas. Usually there’d be so much buzz and excitement in the city surrounding this game that I wouldn’t have to remind you.
That does not seem to be the case this week. It’s been just another week.
I can remember people driving around honking their horns, free meals from from restaurant owners who wanted us to win, banners everywhere and car flags–for both teams–on every other car. And that’s when I played. Hello–we weren’t very good any of my years here. But the excitement surrounding this game was always intense.
I mean seriously, a 1 p.m. game? This has always made at least 4 p.m. 1 o’clock games are usually considered appetizers for the later games.
Even after I left the game in 2006 and came back home, this game was the one that I’d watch at a sports bar. This may be the first year I won’t. I don’t feel the excitement. On my radio show we have barely touched on the game itself or even mentioned the rivalry. All the focus has been on the state of the team.
It feels to me like the ever-growing frustration of Redskins fans is beginning to show in ways like this.
The Cowboys do seem to be finding a stride as of late and could compete for the division title, which, in a conference this weak doesn’t mean much. The Redskins are facing the possibility of not winning another game this season.
Either way, both teams have struggled with identity problems over the last decade. Let’s face it, neither team has done much about making it to the playoffs or staying in them.
There’s usually a build up of mass proportions this week: Cowboys versus Indians, champion versus champion. My, how times have changed since the glory days of both of these franchises.
We won’t see Darrell Green battling it out with Michael Irvin Sunday. Troy Aikman isn’t playing either, trying to avoid being sacked by Charles Mann or Dexter Manley. We won’t see Ernest Byner taking a handoff from Mark Rypien, no Art Monk making a spectacular play downfield with the greatest of ease. No Emmitt Smith or Deion Sanders on Dallas or Monte Coleman or Gary Clark for the Redskins
Those days are long gone.
Once historically great and proud franchises have sunk so deep into mediocrity that it would appear that the prestige of this matchup is all but gone.
Courtesy: LaVar Arrington | The Washington Post
Somewhere in Washington, in a church basement amid a growing circle of men and women in folding chairs . . .
“Good evening. Welcome to the regular Sunday night meeting of Redskins-aholics Anonymous.
“The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop watching the team’s games when Mike Shanahan and his players make your life unbearable. There are no dues or fees in R-Anon; we only ask that the money you would have recklessly spent on tickets or DeAngelo Hall jerseys go to milk and shoes for your baby.
“With such a large meeting — this being Dallas week — please keep your shares to three minutes or less. . . .”
* * *
“Hi, I’m Georgette. And I’m definitely a ’Skins-aholic.
“I have been wearing a pink dress, a garden-party hat and a plastic pig snout since 1983. I have done this for charity and because me and several other men who dress up love this team and what it stands for.
“But this team now makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t even eat. Do you know how bad the Redskins have to be for a Hogette not to eat? We have no offense; we score less than Mel Gibson on JDate. And it’s my fault because I keep watching. Thanks for letting me share.”
* * *
PHILADELPHIA — Michael Vick has to watch his teammates play from home.
Vick won’t play when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the New York Giants on Sunday because of two broken ribs. He won’t even be on the sideline because injured players typically don’t make the trip.
Vick didn’t practice this week because he broke his two lower ribs on the second play in a 21-17 loss to Arizona last Sunday. He got up slowly after taking a hard hit to the side, but didn’t tell anyone the extent of the injury and played the rest of the game. He was off target most of the game and finished 16 of 34 for 128 yards and two interceptions.
Vick was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report, but was ruled out after Saturday’s walkthrough. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin also won’t play because of shoulder and hamstring injuries.
The Eagles (3-6) desperately need a victory over the first-place Giants (6-3) to avoid being all-but-mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. The defending NFC East champions began this season with Super Bowl aspirations, but have failed to live up to those enormous expectations.
Vick’s inconsistency is among the reasons the Eagles have underachieved. Vick has hardly resembled the guy who was an MVP candidate and Pro Bowl starter last season. He’s already thrown 11 interceptions in nine games. He had six picks all of last season.
Young was 30-17 as a starter and went to two Pro Bowls in five seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He was one of several high-profile players Philadelphia signed after the lockout. So far, Young’s only contribution was labeling the Eagles a “Dream Team” at his first news conference at training camp.
It’s been a nightmare season instead.
Second-year pro Riley Cooper will likely start in Maclin’s place. Cooper doesn’t have any catches this season.
Courtesy: Associated Press via The Washington Post
Jim Cowsert/AP – DeMarco Murray, a third-round draft pick out of Oklahoma, has waisted little time entrenching himself as the Cowboys’ featured running back. Murray set a franchise record with 253 yards on Oct. 23 in a 34-7 win over the Rams.
Very little has gone predictably for the Dallas Cowboys this season. But they will come to town for Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field with their hopes suddenly buoyed for a stretch run to a playoff spot.
The Cowboys are on a two-game winning streak and are coming off a solid performance that produced their most lopsided triumph in 11 years. Quarterback Tony Romo has pronounced the fractured rib he suffered earlier this season fully healed. Rookie tailback DeMarco Murray and unheralded wide receiver Laurent Robinson have become major contributors to a new-look offense.
A hamstring injury has prevented Tashard Choice from carrying a football in a game since the Cowboys’ 34-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams in Week 7. According to Choice, he’ll be back on Sunday — just in time to face his old team.
“I’m playing this week,” Choice said.
Choice, who was selected by the Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2008 draft, signed with Washington on Oct. 31 after Dallas released him. In his final game with the Cowboys, the 26-year-old carried twice for eight yards before injuring his shoulder.
Choice, who was listed as questionable last week, was primarily a reserve player in Dallas, rushing for 1,139 yards in 54 games.
Now, he feels healthy and ready to contribute to a Redskins backfield that has been hampered by injuries.
“I felt like I was about ready, but I just had a little doubt,” Choice said. “You don’t want to have that with a hamstring.”
He added: “I’m just going to go in there and play — get behind those guys and run to daylight. I’m excited about the opportunity. I’ve just got to make sure I’m healthy.”
After being notified of his release, Choice tweeted: “I just want to say thanks to all the great dallas cowboy fans. My time in Dallas has come to an end and the best is yet come. God bless.”
The Redskins lost to Tony Romo and the Cowboys 18-16, but that didn’t stop Washington tight end Chris Cooley from taking great joy in the Cowboys blowing a 24-point lead to the Lions on Sunday.
“It’s so good,” Cooley said in an interview on the LaVar and Dukes show, according to the Washington Post. “I was watching the scoreboard in St. Louis, and I didn’t see that they’d lost really until the end. I thought they blew them out so I kind of stopped paying attention. It’s amazing, amazing to watch him choke like that. I’m just saying: I’m up 24 points in the third quarter, if I’m the head coach, I feel like I could probably just take a knee for the rest of the game, punt it away and there’s no way that Detroit’s going to drive on you that many times. The only way you’re going to give up that many points is turnovers, right? It’s hilarious to watch him throw pick-sixes, too, back-to-back. I loved it.”
Cooley said he would love to fight Romo in the UFC.
“But it wouldn’t be as good as my cage fight,” Cooley said. “For me to beat Tony? I’m going to be honest. I don’t know what kind of cage fighting skills he has. I would probably try to incorporate my wrestling ability, like when I was in high school. Obviously it’s been a while, but I didn’t like to beat people fast. I like to embarrass them a little bit. Like, take a 24-point lead, and then just play with it a little bit.”
A lot of people seem to be flip-flopping their ideas of Tony Romo over the last two weeks, but at least one of the guys trying to defend against him on Monday night still doesn’t think much of the quarterback playing through pain.
Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo believes Romo wasn’t hurt as bad as was portrayed in the media.
“To me, they blown it way out of proportion,” Orakpo told a Washington ESPN Radio affiliate. “I mean, they tried to make it seem like the guy was hospitalized the night before the game, just so we could build it up if they was to win the game.
“Oh, he’s a courageous player to go out there and play. The guy was playing just like Tony Romo, running around, making throws. He got hit throughout the whole game and still getting up. I mean, it was blown way out of proportion, but it is what it is.”
Last week, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall created a buzz by vowing to target Romo’s fractured ribs if he had the chance in the game.
On the Cowboys’ final drive, Romo threw Hall’s way when connecting on the third-and-21 conversion to Dez Bryant.
ORIGINAL REPORT: Redskins’ Orakpo says Romo praise blown out of proportion
For everyone who can’t shut up about Tony Romo being a hero — and there seems to be plenty of folks right about now — Brian Orakpo would like you to take it down a notch.
Yes, the Cowboys quarterback played through a broken rib and punctured lung in Monday night’s 18-16 win over the Redskins. And, yes, a broken rib and punctured lung sound excruciatingly painful.
But enough already, says Orakpo.
“To me, they blown it way out of proportion,” the Redskins’ linebacker said Tuesday on ESPN 980-AM via The Washington Post. “I mean, they tried to make it seem like the guy was hospitalized the night before the game, just so we could build it up if they was to win the game.
“Oh, he’s a courageous player to go out there and play. The guy was playing just like Tony Romo, running around, making throws. He got hit throughout the whole game and still getting up. I mean, it was blown way out of proportion, but it is what it is.”
Come to think of it, Orakpo brings up somewhat of a good point. It’s not like Romo played exceptionally well, posting a pedestrian stat line (22 of 36 for 255 passing yards, one interception and no touchdowns). It took six Dan Bailey field goals and a last-minute defensive stop for Dallas to gut out the victory.
So while Romo deserves credit for fighting through the pain — and for completing a key 30-yard pass to Dez Bryant late in the fourth quarter — we can certainly understand Orakpo’s point of view.
At least to some degree.
The Washington Redskins’ offensive line has been tested in their first two games of the season, but neither the Giants nor the Cardinals are quite on the level of the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive front, which Washington will face Monday night.
Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware draws the most attention, and rightfully so as he has ranked among the league’s elite pass-rushers during his career. But the Redskins are just as wary of Anthony Spencer, who lines up opposite Ware, as well as nose tackle Jay Ratliff and ends Kenyon Coleman and Jason Hatcher.
“All of their guys, every single one of the guys that rush the passer are very good,” Redskins offensive line coach Chris Foerster said. “That’s the one thing you notice on film. They’re all very active, they all have distinct, good pass-rush moves, they all execute them very well and put a great deal of pressure on the quarterback. They’re very impressive that way. Spencer, Hatcher, Ware, the nose guard, the list goes on. They’re all very impressive.”
Like the Redskins, the Cowboys run a 3-4 defense. And Dallas has utilized variations of that scheme since 2005. But previous experience against the Cowboys’ 3-4 won’t help Washington’s offensive front very much because Rob Ryan took over as defensive coordinator this offseason and runs a less traditional, rather unpredictable version of the defense.
“It’s still the 3-4, but they run a lot of blitzes you won’t see from anybody else, because that’s how their D-coordinator is,” left tackle Trent Williams said.
Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan agrees.
“He’s aggressive and he’s all over the place,” Shanahan said of Ryan. “He’s going to try to confuse you. They do a lot of different things and you never really know what to expect. It’s not like they do the same thing week-in and week-out. You have to see how they are going to play you and you always have to be ready to watch the defense and be ready to adjust from the first play on.”
In the first two weeks of the season, the Cowboys have done everything from flip-flop Ware from the right to the left side and back to the right again, to overloading on one side, to having all of their front seven — including Ratliff, the nose tackle — blitz from a two-point stance to confuse the offenses they have faced.
“There can be trouble at times with identification,” Foerster said of the challenges that Dallas’s unconventional looks create. “People aren’t aligned where you’re used to having them aligned, there are different angles of rush – it’s different than just guys lined up on the line of scrimmage and rushing from where they usually rush. People coming from different places. Definitely a lot of challenges.”
After two weeks, the Cowboys’ defense leads the NFL with 10 sacks and has limited its first two opponents to an average of 283 yards a game, fourth in the league. Ware leads the team with four sacks, and Spencer and Hatcher have two sacks apiece.
“Every week’s a challenge, and last week’s waaaay in the past,” Foerster said. “Now we’ve got a real challenge in Dallas.”
By Mike Jones of The Washington Post
Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett on Thursday defended his cornerback, DeAngelo Hall, who drew criticism for saying he would target the injured ribs of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo when the teams play Monday night.
“Think about it: He’s not allowed to hit him in the head, and you can’t hit him below the knees, so there’s only one place you can hit him,” Haslett told the Washington Post. “It’s just a shame (Romo) is hurt. (Hall) was joking more than anything. … But, realistically, it’s the only place you can hit the quarterback.”
IRVING, Texas — The Redskins are atop the NFC East with a 2-0 record, which surprises many. In this week’s feature on the upcoming opponent, we ask five questions to Rick Maese of the Washington Post.
In Denver, he was the Mastermind. How is Mike Shanahan viewed in D.C. in his second year?
Maese – The same. Mike Shanahan arrived in Washington and even though he tried to turn the franchise around as quickly as possible, he knows it was a multi-year process. In his first season, the team won only six games, but Shanahan was able to understand his players better and identify his offseason needs. So while they implemented their new schemes a year ago, this season fans are seeing some of the rewards. There have been some obstacles — see: Haynesworth, Albert — but fans are still lined up faithfully behind Shanahan. At the very least, they figure it’s better than Dan Snyder making football decisions.
In Rex we trust? No? Maybe? How did the win the job and how will he keep the job?
Maese – There was a lot of buzz around John Beck, but Shanahan promised an open competition and both quarterbacks say it truly was a fair contest. Put simply: Grossman outplayed Beck in the preseason. The numbers bear this out, and we saw it most days in training camp. Shanahan doesn’t need Grossman to be John Elway. The coach has confidence in his system and simply wants Grossman to be able to execute the offense. That’s not something he felt he had last year. If Grossman does stumble, Shanahan has also said he’s fully confident in Beck, prompting some speculation that the team might employ a short hook.
Is Brian Orakpo turning into a DeMarcus Ware?
Maese – The Redskins would love for that to be the case. Orakpo is in his third year and is hoping to make a big leap this year. The team used its first round draft pick on Ryan Kerrigan, a defensive end who’s converted to linebacker. While they want more pressure from the opposite side, coaches think the addition of Kerrigan will also free of Orakpo. Teams can’t focus solely on him now. Both have looked good thus far.
As far as the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry, how is it viewed by the players? How is it viewed by the fans? I say that because I think the players look at Philly and New York as the bigger rival but most of the fans view Washington as the biggest rival?
Maese – I think a rivalry in pro sports almost always means more to fans than players. Unless you have players who are from the area — and the Redskins do have a couple — it’s difficult for them to get fully invested. They want to win every single Sunday. If they want this game a bit more, it’s because the Cowboys are a division opponent. For those outside the locker room, Dallas Week is still a fun week because there are so many Cowboys fans in the area. But in the locker room, it seems the Cowboys are viewed similarly to the Eagles and Giants.Walker to the roster last week to fill a void at corner. He got more snaps than second-year corner Bryan McCann, who returned kickoffs only in the Week 2 victory over San Francisco.
As Newman has rehab from his groin injury all he would say about his recovery is to ask his handlers, meaning the training staff. In the last week, Newman has looked good in rehab running at full speed during some sessions.
Stephen Bowen: Cowboys don’t ‘miss a beat’ without Tony Romo
If Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is unable play Monday, it’s not necessarily a huge advantage for the Washington defense, says Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen.
“I don’t think they miss a beat at all, honestly,” said Bowen, who signed with the Redskins as a free agent in July after spending the first five seasons of his career with the Cowboys. “When Jon Kitna was in there, he did a great job. A lot of guys respond to him. I think he honestly could probably start for a lot of teams in this league still.
“If Romo is to get hurt or anything like that, we can’t just be lackadaisical and say Kitna can’t get it done. I think he’s still a great quarterback.”
Stephen Bowen. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post) Bowen will be coming out of the visiting team tunnel at Cowboys Stadium for the first time Monday. He downplayed the rivalry a bit, though, saying it’s simply important for the Redskins to pick up a second division win.
“It’ll be different but we got one goal, that’s to come out with the win,” Bowen said. “I’m real excited to get down there and prove a point.”
Regardless of which quarterback the Cowboys use, Bowen says he and his linemates will have to be ready. Romo suffered a fractured rib and collapsed lung in the Cowboys’ come-from-behind overtime win over the 49ers. While Dallas Coach Jason Garrett said Monday he thought Romo would play against the Redskins, team owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday he wasn’t sure. It depends on how Romo tolerates pain, Jones said.
“Romo’s a mentally tough guy. He’s a good guy to play around,” Bowen said. “He studies a lot of film. He gets a bad rap sometimes, but I was around the guy. I’ve seen him work hard every day. To see him come back in the game [last Sunday], it wasn’t surprising to me.”
Though the Cowboys have a revamped offensive line, Bowen said he has no problem sharing any information he can with his Redskins teammates and coaches. He’s plenty familiar and still friendly with several Dallas playmakers, including DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher and Tashard Choice.
“This is a competition,” he said. “I’m doing whatever it takes to win.”