2014-2015 GAME 8 RECAP: Washington vs. Dallas | Tuesday’s Monday Morning Quarterback Report | In-Depth insider viewpoints and analysis of the Cowboys loss | Game takeaways and talking points | Moving on to the next game
ARLINGTON, Texas – The capacity crowd at AT&T Stadium buzzed when Tony Romo returned to the Cowboys’ sideline – it downright roared when he returned to the field in a tie game.
2014-2015 GAME 8 RECAP: Washington vs. Dallas | Halloween Heartbreaker | ‘skins snap streak | Redskins edge Cowboys in OT; 20-17 | OLB Justin Durant likely lost; Romo returns with contusion | Postgame audio and analysis
It was bad, ugly really … and it could have been a whole lot worse. Continue reading →
2014-2015 GAME 8 PRIMER: Rival Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys | Big D ready to rock MNF | RG3 officially inactive | Jason Hatcher returns to Dallas | Pregame Gut-Check
WHAT: Washington Redskins (2-5) at Dallas Cowboys (6-1) Continue reading →
2014 GAME 8 INJURY UPDATE: Washington vs. Dallas | OLB Bruce Carter returns | Only two Cowboys miss this week | Cowboys-Redskins Injury and Practice Report
IRVING, Texas – It appears the Dallas Cowboys linebacker corps is at full health once more – or as close as it can get to full health this season. Continue reading →
BACK TO THE 3-4 DEFENSE: Jason Hatcher departs 4-3 system; signs 4-year deal with rival Redskins | Dallas Cowboys Free Agency 2014
IRVING, Texas – A third Pro Bowl player has now departed Valley Ranch in as many days, as defensive tackle Jason Hatcher signed with the Washington Redskins on Thursday afternoon.
Hatcher, who was the NFL’s sack leader among defensive tackles with 11 last season, signed a four-year deal worth roughly $27.5 million with the Washington Redskins – the Dallas Cowboys oldest rival.
The news ends days (actually months) of speculation about the veteran’s future, as Hatcher made several visits around the NFL to potential suitors. Hatcher visited with the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders earlier in the week, and he reportedly had visits with the Redskins and the Tennessee Titans lined up.
“My hard work paid off. I just left a great organization and now I’m with a great organization,” Hatcher said. “Things change. I just have to take it all in stride.”
Hatcher said he didn’t close the door on returning to the Dallas Cowboys, but said it was clear to him he wouldn’t be returning.
“Once me and my agent met and they didn’t show no signs they wanted me back,” Hatcher told 105.3 The Fan Thursday afternoon. “So I know the fans are upset, they should be. But I made the right decision for me. If we could’ve made it work out, we could’ve, but I’m in a great place with the Redskins, a great organization.”
Hatcher was a third round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2006 NFL Draft, going No. 92 overall out of Grambling State. He played in at least 13 games in every year of his career, from 2006 to 2013. He didn’t start his first game until 2010, and he didn’t become a regular starter until 2011.
In 2012 and 2013, Hatcher became a full-time starter for the Cowboys, starting in 31 of a possible 32 games. He featured primarily as a 3-4 defensive end in the final year of Rob Ryan’s tenure as defensive coordinator. Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli made Hatcher the three-technique defensive tackle in their 4-3 scheme upon arriving in Dallas last spring.
It’s safe to say Hatcher flourished in that role.
Prior to 2013, Hatcher had 16 career sacks with his career highs being 4.5 in 2011 and 4.0 in 2012. He nearly tripled that during the 2013 campaign, earning his first-ever Pro Bowl selection in the process. He posted two-sack performances in three different divisional games – Oct. 13 against Washington, Nov. 24 against New York, and Dec. 29 against Philadelphia.
Hatcher said during the season he planned to test the market when the NFL’s free agency window opened in March. He played the final years of his Cowboys career on a three-year $6 million contract he signed following the 2011 NFL lockout.
“I’m going to test the market – I’m going to test the market. But you guys just leave me alone about my contract. I just once to focus on – I’m a Cowboy,” Hatcher said in December. “I’ve got a star on my helmet. I’m not trying to think about that. I’ll let it take care of itself when it happens. I’ve got four games to play, to be the best three-technique in the league and help my team go to the playoffs. That’s my approach.”
That clearly won’t be the case going forward, as the Dallas Cowboys have now parted ways with their all-time sack leader in DeMarcus Ware and their 2013 sack leader in Hatcher. New free agent acquisition Jeremy Mincey is now the team’s sack leader with 20 career sacks. George Selvie is behind him with 10 career sacks, seven of those coming last season.
RELATED: Career stats for former Dallas Cowboys DE Jason Hatcher
TWISTS AND TWEAKS: Tony Romo back pain doesn’t stop late game surge against Redskins | MRI today
LANDOVER, Md. – There wouldn’t be any excessive dancing and celebrating from quarterback Tony Romo after his game-winning touchdown pass, given how he looked physically at the time.
Romo, who gingerly jogged back to the Dallas Cowboys sideline after a brief moment of jubilation following the successful fourth-down pass to DeMarco Murray, had been fighting through a back injury throughout the final quarter.
“I tweaked it in the game,” Romo said. “For whatever reason, just the twist or whatever that was, definitely just made it not feel comfortable.”
Romo’s back wasn’t 100 percent entering the game, but he said he didn’t feel like it was going to be a major problem going in.
The injury was noticeable and looked more like a leg problem than a back injury, as he limped around following one of his patented spin moves to evade a sack. It appeared his back injury was at its worst after he made the move, threw an 8-yard pass to Miles Austin and converted a crucial third down in the fourth quarter.
Romo said he took a hit earlier in the game that first triggered the back pain, and then late in the game had that play which aggravated it worse.
“I felt it after that play the rest of the game,” Romo said. “You just play through it just like anything – it’s football.”
Even simple handoffs to DeMarco Murray looked painful as the quarterback struggled to meet the running back in the backfield. Romo said it didn’t feel comfortable, but the bright side is the pain is in a different spot than the back problems he had last year.
Head coach Jason Garrett said it looked as if Romo got leg-whipped or kicked somehow.
“He certainly was hobbling around a little bit and you just suck it up, pull your sock up, spit on it and keep going,” Garrett said.
Romo didn’t leave the game. In fact, the quarterback played better than he had all game after the injury, as the Cowboys put up 10 points in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys scored just seven points in each of the first two quarters and went scoreless in the third quarter.
Though the pain was noticeable, Romo was still able to maneuver around the pocket and buy enough time for Murray to get open along the sideline on the game-winning touchdown pass.
“We knew Tony was hurt, but he got right back in there the next play,” said Dez Bryant. “He never went over there to the trainers or anything. He knew how important that drive was and we went down there, executed and scored.”
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Romo’s getting “special treatment” for the back, and it won’t keep him from playing going forward.
“We think it’ll be OK, but it was a tightening – it wasn’t a contusion,” Jones said. “It was a little tight, but they’re working on him and we’ll work on that all week. He really had a little of it in practice, to give you an idea, this past week – just a little tightness.”
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
COWBOYS REDSKINS POSTGAME GUTCHECK: Dallas Cowboys fight to keep their 2013-2014 season alive
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.
RELATED TO THIS ARTICLE:
COWBOYS REDSKINS GAMEDAY GUT CHECK: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins | 2013-2014 NFL Game 15
COWBOYS REDSKINS GAME 15 RECAP: Dallas fights back to defeat Washington, 24-23
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
NFL FILMS COWBOYS REDSKINS PREVIEW:
Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins
NFL Films previews the 2013-2014 NFL Season Week 16 matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. (Watch the Preview)
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards
View NFL | Dallas Cowboys game stats and scores online while you watch or listen to the game.
Click HERE to choose from a list of popular online game trackers.
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game
Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas.
Click HERE. Don’t live in the Dallas area? Click HERE.
or listen via the Dallas Cowboys Android App on your phone or tablet
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game
To watch on network TV, tune to:
KDFW-TV/FOX 4 Dallas Ft. Worth | WTTG -TV/FOX 5 Washington, DC
Out of market? Click HERE to (legally) watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)
When: Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 at high noon (Dallas time)
Where: FedEx Field | Landover, MD
Watch on TV: FOX | DirecTV
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: The Boys Are Back website
The Boys Are Back – Dedicated to TRUE BLUE fans of the Dallas Cowboys
Check back here for Dallas Cowboys box scores and stats, NFL and Dallas Cowboys videos, Dallas Cowboys pictures, gameday highlights, gameday resources, game recaps, interesting articles, and the latest Dallas Cowboys news and information all season long.
Signup for email alerts, RSS feeds, and add us to your favorites or bookmarks.
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Dallas Cowboys pregame/postgame shows
Dallas Cowboys Pre-game/Postgame Show
Note: The pregame show starts about two hours before kickoff. The postgame show starts approximately 30 minutes after the game is over.
THE COWBOYS – REDSKINS RIVALRY CONTINUES! ENJOY THE GAME!
Hey, spread some testosterone! Use the SHARE & LIKE buttons below
COWBOYS REDSKINS GAMEDAY GUT CHECK: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins | 2013-2014 NFL Game 15
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys could be eliminated from the postseason this weekend if they don’t beat the Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles win against the Chicago Bears. So this trip to Washington D.C. is virtually a must-win game for the Dallas Cowboys, who have now lost two straight games to drop to 7-7.
Here are the gut feelings for insiders Nick Eatman, David Helman and Rowan Kavner.
It’s really easy to hop on the negativity train, considering how the past week has gone for the Dallas Cowboys. They don’t have a linebacker corps, and their secondary is held together by duct tape. I don’t have much doubt Kirk Cousins is going to be the latest backup quarterback to rack up big yardage. With the season in the balance, though, I think Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and DeMarco Murray can step up and carry this team into Week 17. More importantly, I think the offensive line can step up and continue its hot streak. I see another 100-yard effort in Murray, and I think Romo can take advantage of a bad Washington secondary. Michael Spurlock is going to have a valuable return in a key situation, and Dallas is going to win by 10-14 points.
Hopes are slim right now for a reeling Dallas group after losing two straight games in awful fashion, once just getting picked apart in Chicago and the other by giving a game away to the Packers, but there’s a reason the Redskins are a three-win team and have lost their last six. Their situation is worse than the Cowboys’ current one. The breadth of Dallas defensive injuries make them look more and more like last year’s team, so there aren’t a litany of teams I’d pick them to beat, but this is still one. I think the Cowboys go back to what they trust, getting Jason Witten involved early. He’ll find the end zone, but the Dallas offense will also find a way to get Cole Beasley at least five catches. The play-calling will still frustrate some, as the Cowboys work to find the best way to handle their recent rushing success, but they’ll have success on the ground and through the air before Dan Bailey wins it by a field goal.
My gut for this game isn’t so great. Somehow, I have a hard time seeing the Dallas Cowboys get out this place with a win. Then again, I really don’t think the season and playoff hopes will be over after Sunday. Whatever the Cowboys do, I see the Eagles doing as well, setting up a showdown next week like we all expected. I think the Cowboys can definitely win this game, but I worry about the defense stopping the run, especially if it gets rainy and turns into a sloppy-field game. I don’t think you can dismiss the fact Washington has just three wins. A three-win team is a bad team. And while Kirk Cousins can certainly hurt this team, there’s a reason they are so bad. So I think this one is close. Somehow I have a hard time picking Dallas, but an even stronger feeling is the Cowboys have something to play for next week, too.
DALLAS COWBOYS VIDEO ROUNDUP: The Jason Garrett Show | The Incredible Story Of Tyler Sampson
The Jason Garrett Show: Attitude following loss | Injuries at LB | 2:03
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett talks about the team’s mentality following the loss against the Green Bay Packers and the injury situation at linebacker. (Watch this Video | Listen Audio)
RELATED: The Jason Garrett Show: Kirk Cousins | Shanahan’s offense | 1:58
Jason Garrett discusses the Washington Redskins offensive attack. (Watch Video | Play Audio)
Dallas Cowboys 1-on-1 interview with linebacker DeVonte Holloman | 3:02
Dallas Cowboys insider Mickey Spagnola sits down with rookie LB DeVonte Holloman for his weekly 1-on-1 interview. (Watch this Video | Play Audio)
BONUS VIDEO: Who inspires who? Some boys are born to inspire men
The Incredible Story Of Tyler Sampson | 3:01 (Watch this Video)
Why do you love football? Tyler Sampson is a finalist in the Together We Make Football trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. Vote for him here http://www.togetherwemakefootball.com/contest.html?v=finalists&i=tyler
GAME 15 GAMEPLAN – COWBOYS VS REDSKINS: It’s time to “let your star be the star” | Cowboys injury shuffle continues in Dallas
IRVING, Texas – Twenty-four hours from now, the Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins game will be in the history books. Here are some final thoughts prior to the game …
Let Your Star Be The Star
Where Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan have done a much better job in the 2nd half of this season is finding ways to move Dez Bryant around in order to find him space in the defense. By using Bryant on the outside but also in the slot has prevented teams from getting a read on where he is going to operate from. Also give Bryant credit for embracing all the moving around and doing a solid job with his assignments and routes. Against this Redskins secondary, there will be opportunities for some productive plays that are simple throws. Keep an eye on Bryant out of the slot this week if the Redskins decide not to bring DeAngelo Hall with him inside. Usually Josh Wilson will play the slot and there is no way that if Bryant continues to run those routes across the field and underneath, that he can match him. Expect Garrett and Callahan to become even more creative in where they move Dez Bryant around in this game.
In his press conference on Friday morning, Jason Garrett was asked about how hard it was to practice and prepare for the Redskins this week with all the players that were missing at one time or another for various medical reasons. His answer was that it wasn’t easy but you find ways to adjust. The biggest problem for this club is trying to field enough players for your scout teams to give your first and second groups the plays they need to work against to get ready for the ball game. If you just take the defensive group for example, with Jason Hatcher, DeMarcus Ware, and George Selvie missing time, that meant guys like Everette Brown, Jarius Wynn, and Martez Wilson had to take double reps working with both the defense, then turning around and playing on the scout team for the offense. DeVonte Holloman will be getting his first start at Mike (middle linebacker) because of injuries to Sean Lee, Justin Durant and Ernie Sims, but there he was getting work on the scout team, just trying to help out. Kyle Wilber is another guy that does this as well. Brandon Carr missed the last two days of practice dealing with a virus, so Sterling Moore who now starts in the nickel on the outside was working as a scout team corner with B.W. Webb. Garrett even spoke of offensive players such as receivers working as corners, just so they could field 11 players to work against. If things had gotten any worse, I am sure, that defensive back coach, Jerome Henderson, who was a former NFL cornerback could have took a rep or two. The last thing a coaching staff wants to deal with is problems during their weekly preparation but it sounds like they were able to work around the issues they had.
Not A Simple Replacement
It will be another week without Dwayne Harris in the lineup due to his hamstring injury. Harris is like that Swiss Army Knife in your pocket. He is the blade, spoon and scissors all in one. Of all the injuries down the stretch, the one to Sean Lee was huge. You could make a case that the injury to Harris has been the one that is the most difficult to replace. There are so many roles that he has on the team, that you just can’t bring one player on board and feel like that is taken care of. In an attempt to find Harris’ replacement, the front office turned to the coaching staff in hope that their experience with certain players over the years, that there might be someone on the street that could maybe fill that void. In this case, Rich Bisaccia had been with Michael Spurlock during two different stops with the Buccaneers and Chargers. What you get from Spurlock is a punt and kickoff return man, an outside flyer on the punt team and a player you can use on the kickoff team as the L3 or R3 as a cover man. I am not going to tell you that Spurlock will be as productive as Dwayne Harris but it is important that his coach believes that he can more than handle the job and with so much on the line you need that type of confidence in the player.
Important Practice Squad Addition
It’s not normal to get too up (or down) about practice squad addition. It was important for various reasons to consistently add and subtract players. In order to not only give the coaches the best group of players to function every day for practice, but also trying to develop (one or two) players that might be able to use as future starters. Much like the Dallas Cowboys did with Ronald Leary in 2012. There are also other reasons you use your practice squad and that is to bring a player or two on that might have been with a future opponent and pick their brain about ways that they might operate. The Cowboys made a very interesting practice squad move on a player that was with the Redskins through their game in Atlanta just last week. Lance Lewis (see below) is a receiver that was on the active roster for the Redskins for the last month of the season and active in games against the 49ers, Giants, and Falcons. He takes the place of Jamar Newsome who was on the practice squad, but was injured this week. Usually teams will not add players this late in the week unless they are rolling guys on and off to have a nine or ten man roster. Lewis got to suit up with the Cowboys and practice on Friday and will do so again today before the team leaves this afternoon. As a staff, you look for any advantage that you might get in a matchup and in this case, the Dallas Cowboys might have found a good one.
RELATED: Dallas Cowboys sign wide receiver Lance Lewis from Redskins squad
The Dallas Cowboys placed practice squad wide receiver Jamar Newsome on practice-squad IR on Friday. Newsome, who has been on the squad most of the year, suffered a calf strain.
The club has replaced him with wide receiver Lance Lewis, who has been with the Washington Redskins organization the last two years, mostly on the practice squad.
Adding Lewis gives the Cowboys three receivers on the practice squad, along with Tim Benford and Lanear Sampson.
There was some speculation that one of the practice-squad receivers could get a call-up this week, depending on Terrance Williams’ hamstring injury. After missing practice Wednesday and Thursday, Williams returned to practice Friday and is listed as questionable to play against the Redskins on Sunday.
COWBOYS @ REDSKINS PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game 15 | Friday
Jason Garrett Press Conference: Cowboys vs. Redskins | Friday Practice (11:39)
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media as his team continues preparation for Sunday’s game with the 2013-2014 Washington Redskins (Watch Video | Play Audio)
- Brandon Carr’s illness and practice outlook
- Who else was sent home because of illness
- Redskins went for 2-point conversion to win last week; preparing for aggressive team
- Is team having to build up players confidence due to recent losses
- What is the mood and atmosphere around Valley Ranch this week
- Brian Orakpo vs.Tyron Smith matchup (Film breakdown on Orakpo)
- Barry Church’s grade in the past month
- How DeVonte Holloman looking so far in practice (as middle linebacker)
- Challenges of using backup players due to injuries of starters
- Is there extra pressure to score on first possession with his defense struggling
- Expectations for Bruce Carter with Sean Lee being out of the lineup this week
- What motivates a team like Washington with a loosing record to win games like these
- Evaluation of Tony Romo’s throws and accuracy during the Green Bay game
- (Reporter from Japan) How do you plan to improve your defense after two losses
- Advantages and disadvantages of running the dime defense vs. Redskins
- Is passing inaccuracy due to now really throwing very many deep passes this season
- Is Romo ranked 19th in pass attempts of 20 yds or longer surprising
- Progress on veteran Michael Spurlock’s practice this week; anticipate help on offense
- Adaption to having a true fullback on the team now
- Has Terrance Williams been around long enough to start with only a few practices
- Description of Alfred Morris’ running style
2013-2014 MEDIA DAY: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins | 9:39
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan speaks to the Dallas media. (Video | Audio)
2013-2014 MEDIA DAY: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins | 8:20
Redskins QB Kirk Cousins speaks to the Dallas media. (Video | Audio)
COWBOYS @ REDSKINS PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game 15 | Thursday
Jason Garrett Press Conference: Cowboys vs. Redskins | Thursday Practice (15:52)
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media as his team continues preparation for Sunday’s game with the 2013-2014 Washington Redskins (Watch Video | Play Audio)
- Coach Jason Garrett’s gift from Dallas media
- What challenges Washington QB Kirk Cousins presents for the Dallas Cowboys
- Without much tape (game film), what goes into game planning against Cousins
- What can be done to get DeMarcus Ware going again; injury status
- Pass rush and quarterback pressure with defensive line
- Assessment on Heath and Wilcox the past few weeks
- Lack of experience at safety in some games this season
- Effects of two back-to-back losses; seeing results of team mentality win/lose
- Signs that Tony Romo will bounce back from Green Bay loss
- Teams Cross-Training philosophy that begins every preseason
- Comparing the challenges of injuries this season compared to last year
- Recent messages from team leaders up and in front of teammates
- DeVonte Holloman’s adaption to MLB and difference in responsibilities
- Why Jason Hatcher popped back up on todays injury report
- Importance and recent success of scoring on the opening drive
- Progress of OL since DeMarco Murray went out 6-8 weeks ago and returned
- Recent incorporation of Gavin Escobar into offense, his progress to date
- How having Escobar might help the Cowboys offense with Williams dinged up
- Murray wanting opportunities to ‘finish’ games
- Positive/Negative reinforcement style with recent tough losses
- How much pressure is on the offense to put up points with latest defense issues
- What it means to the team with Tyron Smith playing so well at left tackle
- Travis Frederick progress and grade on film
- How does this OL compare to the other lines Jason Garrett has had during his tenure
- If worried about Travis Frederick hitting a wall with his development
2013-2014 MEDIA DAY: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins | 5:18
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the Washington media. (Video | Audio)
2013-2014 MEDIA DAY: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins | 5:22
Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Ware speaks to the Washington media. (Video | Audio)
GAME 15 BLACK AND BLUE REPORT: Dallas Cowboys injury and practice update | 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys were without two linebackers, two cornerbacks and two receivers at practice today.
Cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring), cornerback Brandon Carr (illness), receiver Dwayne Harris (hamstring), receiver Terrance Williams (hamstring), linebacker Sean Lee (neck) and linebacker Ernie Sims (groin) did not practice.
Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (neck), defensive end George Selvie (back), defensive end DeMarcus Ware (back) and defensive end Jarius Wynn (chest) were limited.
Linebacker Bruce Carter (hamstring) was a full participant.
Dallas Cowboys injury and practice update for today:
Today’s Washington Redskins Injury and Practice update
Did you know? Your 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys (and each week opponents) Injury and Practice updates are always only a click away!
LINEBACKER SHAMBLES AND GAMBLES: Bruce Carter expected to return; Rookie may start at MLB | Cowboys Cross-Training
IRVING, Texas – There isn’t a spot on the team more in shambles than at linebacker.
Earlier in the season, it was the defensive line, a position that has seen nearly 20 different players take the field at some point.
But it’s never been as bad as it was, or is right now, at linebacker.
What the Dallas Cowboys finished with Sunday against the Packers should be worse than what they will play with this week in Washington. The main reason for that is the availability of Bruce Carter, who all but guaranteed he will play this Sunday, despite missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury.
Not only playing, but Carter is expected to wear the defensive headset in his helmet, something the Cowboys played most of the second half without last week against the Packers. Carter will make the defensive line calls despite staying at weak-side linebacker.
That means DeVonte Holloman, a rookie who had missed five straight games until last week with a neck injury, and a player who played both outside linebacker and safety in college, will be the Dallas Cowboys starting middle linebacker this week.
Holloman has played other positions before in his collegiate and high school days, but never in the middle. He’ll get that shot Sunday with perhaps the season on the line for the Cowboys.
So what’s the hardest thing for Holloman?
“Knowing what to look for before it happens. Guys have been in the fire before, they can see things coming a lot faster than guys that are just thrown out there or their first time out there,” he said. “Just seeing a couple things before they come at you.”
Holloman was thrown into action last week after both Justin Durant and Ernie Sims left the game against the Packers. And because both players had the headsets, it left Holloman having to get relayed signals from the coaches on the sideline.
“Hopefully we’ll have a guy with a microphone this time and we won’t have to do too many signals,” Holloman said. “Bruce will have the mic to start, and I’ll be the backup with it.”
Durant has been placed on IR with a hamstring injury and it’s unlikely Sims (hip/groin) will play. The Cowboys signed Orie Lemon to the roster and will get rookie Cameron Lawrence ready as well. Lawrence had to play most of the second half on the outside.
They certainly can’t afford any more injuries at linebacker. The team is preparing to play again without Sean Lee, who is dealing with a neck injury that likely keeps him out the rest of the regular season.
As for Carter, who missed one game already due to his hamstring, he knows both time and linebackers are running out.
“We understand we don’t have really any depth right now at linebacker, so if we can get guys back healthy like me, try to get Ernie there, he’s been banged up,” Carter said. “We just need to get anybody, really.”
And while Carter’s season hasn’t lived up to the high expectations set for him in the offseason, he knows he has a job to do, especially if he’s the only experienced starter out there, with Kyle Wilber on the strong side.
“My job is to try to lead the defense to a victory and just play as good as we can. When things get out of hand, try to get everybody to calm down and just try to get back to our game plan and play sound,” Carter said. “I’m up for the challenge. I know what’s ahead of me. We’ve just got to go out there and execute.”
And facing the Redskins won’t be easy, simply because of the way they run the football. Washington ranks third in the league at 140.9 rushing yards per game. Even with Kirk Cousins now in for Robert Griffin III, the Redskins will still rely on Alfred Morris, who ranks fifth in the league at 1,125 rushing yards.
RELATED: Cross-Training allows the Cowboys to shift linebackers during roster crisis
IRVING, Texas – To the Cowboys, the term “cross-training” means learning multiple positions to be ready at a moment’s notice.
They’ve put that term to full use this year. Head coach Jason Garrett said it was essential particularly in training camp to cross-train the linebackers, and that could pay off now with all the mixing and matching to adjust for injuries.
“Sometimes you do it out of necessity in training camp to get through a practice or get through a preseason game,” Garrett said. “But you always want to cross-train your guys because it’s a long season. We understand that injuries happen.”
DeVonte Holloman’s getting set to start at middle linebacker for the first time in his career. Next to him on one side will be Bruce Carter, who many thought would shift to the middle after Sean Lee’s injury, considering he’s gotten experience there before.
Next to Holloman on the other side at strong side linebacker is Kyle Wilber, who began the year as a defensive end. Justin Durant, who played middle linebacker last week, had started the year as a strong side linebacker.
“Sometimes you can’t just simply put the next guy in,” Garrett said. “You have to find the next best guy from somewhere else. So we have done that in the past and it’s benefiting us now.”
That goes to show just how much versatility has been necessary for a defense searching for any possible answers at the tail end of the season.
Holloman said he’s been learning middle linebacker all season, but he never played the position before coming to the Cowboys. He was used to playing more of a hybrid safety/linebacker role in college.
“Coming from a safety to a hybrid guy and then finally playing linebacker, I’ve been learning since I got here, so it’s not much different,” Holloman said.
Holloman was forced into action last week after injuries to Durant and Ernie Sims. That was a tough circumstance for Holloman, but the brief experience he had earlier in the year helped out some.
“We all cross-train each others’ positions, so I was familiar with it, but I hadn’t done it,” Holloman said. “It was going out there and just learning on the fly.”
Garrett hopes Holloman can take what he learns from this experience moving forward.
“He’s a smart guy, he cares about football and he works very hard at it,” Garrett said. “Like some of the other young guys we’re talking about, he’ll learn from the experiences. When you get a chance to play Mike for the first time in the NFL, he’ll go back and reflect on those 60, 70 plays that he was in there and he’ll learn from them because he goes about it the right way. I think it was a good experience for him. He did a lot of good things, and hopefully he can build on that.”
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said earlier this week he can’t worry about what personnel is on the field for the Cowboys, because in the NFL it’s such a common occurrence for one player to go down and another to have to step up and that everyone’s in the league for a reason.
With his band of backups, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said he still has confidence in his group with only two regular season games remaining to turn things around.
“You go in your defensive room and split up and away you go,” Kiffin said. “You ain’t walking, get your heads up, let’s go. That’s the way it works. There ain’t no pouting around. We’ll be ready to play.”
COWBOYS VS. REDSKINS PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game 15 of 16 | Wednesday
Jason Garrett Press Conference: Cowboys vs. Redskins | Wednesday Practice (13:35)
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media as his team starts preparation for Sunday’s game with the 2013-2014 Washington Redskins (Watch Video | Play Audio)
- Addressing the “available” linebacker’s roles in practices and upcoming game
- If ever been in similar position of ‘not knowing’ what players will be available on gameday
- How do you help the defense with even more injuries on offense than last week
- Any scheme changes planned to help boost the offensive output
- Is it easier to gameplan with replacement players when QB is a traditional type player
- How do you combat against the types of beatdowns the Cowboys have faced recently
- How do you keep faith in Tony Romo when you start seeing late in game mistakes
- Does Romo need to be convinced how good the running game can be right now
- If JG is surprised by recent improvement in the running game
- OLs adaption and recent success with the zone blocking scheme
- Addressing Dwayne Harris’ injury situation regarding gameday
- What’s wrong with Terrance Williams this week
- The recent impact of losing the Special Teams field position with Harris being out
- The signing of new (big) defensive lineman Frank Kearse
- With LB Orie Lemon back, where does he best fit in this defense (W/M/S)
- Miles Austin’s return (from injury) has been incrementally better; grade on last game
- What is it about Jim Haslett defense that holds Cowboys offense back (scoring)
- Latest on Sean Lee and Ernie Sims injuries
- Sean Lee’s tests and results from them
- How did Holloman do (film room) with filling in for Sean Lee in last game
- Dealing with headset issue for the middle linebacker (went out in Green Bay game)
- Anticipate using a ‘dime package’ this week vs. Washington Redskins
- Was Jason Hatcher hurt or did he just have a bad game vs. Packers
- How effective can the Cowboys be with personnel packages due to lack of depth
- Has Brandon Carr lost his confidence
- Why is he not playing as well as he has earlier in the season
- Are teams targeting Carr more in the past couple of weeks
Don’t be afraid to tackle those SHARE and LIKE buttons below!
SOUVENIR ROCK SIGNED: Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle asks Travis Frederick to sign touchdown ball
ARLINGTON — At Joseph Randle’s locker, where he was surrounded by reporters, a football was tucked in his stall. It was a little memento from the first touchdown he scored in the same game he got his first NFL carry.
“That’s the rock, right there,” he said. “I’ve got to keep that one.”
Of course, Randle’s 1-yard dive into the end zone during the fourth quarter of Dallas’ 31-16 victory didn’t come without assistance. Randle, while in a crowd of Redskins defenders, was pushed across the goal line by rookie center Travis Frederick (photo below). As a way of acknowledging Frederick’s contribution, Randle asked Frederick to autograph the football that is now his souvenir.
“I told Travis to sign it for me,” said Randle, who finished with 17 yards and the touchdown. “But he was like, ‘Nah, I can’t do that. I can’t sign your ball.’”
Randle laughed along with the reporters near him. He seemed surprised by the attention he received.
“We wanted to see him play in a real game, get him a couple of snaps,” Dallas Cowboys running back coach Gary Brown said. “And he responded well…I’m looking forward to seeing him practice some more.”
Randle, meanwhile, will savor his first touchdown, and that rock, as long as he can.
IN THE HEAT OF BATTLE: Jason Garrett likes the passion of the defensive line coach Rod Marinelli
Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Rod Marinelli apologized moments after getting a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct in Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins, coach Jason Garrett said.
“He’s a stand-up guy,” Garrett said. “As soon as the flag happened, he turned to me and apologized. But if everybody brings it like Rod Marinelli brings it, we’ve got a really good chance of being a good football team.”
The penalty gave Washington a first down after Jason Hatcher’s sack would have set up second-and-20. Initially, the play was ruled an incompletion, but a replay reversed the call. Marinelli had argued that the quarterback was down.
Garrett described what happened like this:
“He had a short conversation with the official on the play that Hatcher got the sack,” Garrett said. “I think initially, they ruled it that the quarterback had thrown the ball away, and I think we all saw that his knee was down, and I think Rod was just trying to let the official know that, and I guess the official didn’t like how he said it.”
Hatcher laughed about it Monday.
“We got him on a grade sheet. I think he got an F today for that penalty,” he said. “He fought for my sack, so I got a sack. That’s my fifth one of the season. I thank him for that.”
NFC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Dwayne Harris earns his second special teams award
In the least suspenseful announcement of the week so far, Dallas Cowboys kick returner Dwayne Harris was named NFC special teams player of the week.
It is the second time this year and the third time in his career that Harris has won the award.
The third-year receiver had an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 90-yard kickoff return against the Washington Redskins Sunday night. The punt return was the fifth-longest in team history and his second punt return for a touchdown. He finished the game with 109 punt return yards, seventh-most in team history.
The 90-yard kickoff return, to the 15-yard line to set up a touchdown that put the Cowboys ahead 21-9, was the 10th-longest in team history.
He finished the game with 222 combined return yards, fourth-most in team history.
He also had two tackles on special teams and leads the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys in special teams tackles.
RELATED: Harris takes home NFC special teams award for 2nd time
IRVING, Texas – For the first time in 10 years and just the third time in franchise history, a Cowboys’ player has won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time in a season.
To no surprise, Dwayne Harris won the weekly honor for his performance in Sunday’s 31-16 win over the Redskins. Harris’ 222 return yards outgained the Cowboys’ entire offense by nine yards.
His 86-yard punt return for a touchdown broke the game open in the second half and his 90-yard kickoff return led to another touchdown.
Back in Week 1, Harris won the award for his coverage skills in a win over the Giants. He had three tackles and was involved in a fumble recovery on the punt team. The last time a Cowboys player won this award twice in one season was Billy Cundiff in 2003, when he had two big games against the Giants, kicking a combined 11 field goals. Cowboys kicking coach Chris Boniol also won the award twice in the 1996 season, although the second award was for his performance occurred in the Wild Card win over Minnesota.
Along with this weekly award, Harris also achieved some milestones as well. He now has 623 punt return yards to move into ninth place in Cowboys history.
The 86-yard return was the fifth-longest in franchise history and he became just the third player in club history to have a 90-yard kickoff return without scoring a touchdown.
And his 222 total return yards ranked fourth in club history for a single-game. Mel Renfro holds the club record with 273 against Green Bay in 1964.
LONE FLASH OF BRILLIANCE: Tony Romo didn’t have to be the Dallas Cowboys star, for once
ARLINGTON, Texas — A wry grin broke out on Tony Romo’s face when asked to describe what happened on his spectacular touchdown pass Sunday night.
“I would normally ask you which one,” Romo joked after the Dallas Cowboys’ 31-16 win over the NFC East rival Washington Redskins, “but I think I know.”
Yep, there was only one, just a lone flash of brilliance from Romo. And the Cowboys won anyway.
After a week of discussion about how much blame he deserved for a loss in which he threw for five touchdowns and broke the franchise record for passing yards, Romo didn’t need to be a superhero to give the Dallas Cowboys a chance to beat the Redskins.
Not with a defense that had been dreadful the previous two weeks bending but not breaking, giving up 433 total yards but only allowing Washington into the end zone once. Not on a night that Dwayne Harris produced more yardage on returns than the Cowboys did on offense, scoring on an 86-yard punt return and setting up a touchdown with a 90-yard kickoff return.
Dwayne Harris returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown and also had a 90-yard kickoff return.
“Dwayne did a great job and almost allowed us to kind of just sit over there as an offensive unit and rack up all his yards as if we did it without doing much work,” Romo said.
Romo’s work for the night: 18-of-30 for 170 yards and a touchdown with an interception. For his fantasy football owners, it was Romo’s worst performance of the season, not that any of the Dallas Cowboys were complaining.
Maybe the football gods owed Romo one after he ended up being the goat despite one of the greatest statistical performances in NFL history during the previous week’s shootout loss to the Denver Broncos. The Dallas defense definitely owed Romo one.
“Last week, the defense lost the game by not being able to get a stop,” said linebacker Sean Lee, who led the Cowboys with 10 tackles, including a touchdown-saving stop of Robert Griffin III on the Redskins’ first series. “When your offense plays as well as it does, putting up 48 points, and Tony plays as well as he did, you have to win those games if you want to be a good team, if you want to win Super Bowls. The defense let everybody down. We knew it, and we knew we had to find a way to bounce back this week.”
The reality is this kind of win is rare. The Cowboys usually need their franchise quarterback with the nine-figure contract to play up to his paycheck to be in position to pull out a victory.
That could be especially true over the next few weeks if injuries that knocked running back DeMarco Murray and defensive end DeMarcus Ware out of the game linger. Murray suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee; Ware strained his quadriceps. Their statuses for next week’s game in Philadelphia are uncertain.
The Dallas running game is a rumor without Murray. That’s evident by the 19 yards on 12 carries the other tailbacks generated against the Redskins.
The pass rush had been a problem even with Ware coming off the edge. The Cowboys managed to get three sacks and pressure Griffin several other times Sunday night, but it’s a stretch to see that happening consistently if Ware isn’t a major factor.
All of which means the Cowboys could be asking Romo to put up big numbers without the benefit of a balanced offense.
With road trips to Philadelphia and Detroit coming up, it’s probably a safe assumption that the Cowboys will need the spectacular version of Romo to return back home over .500.
They’ll need more plays like the only pass he completed in the third quarter, when he somehow made a clean-blitzing cornerback miss before perfectly dropping the ball to Terrance Williams in the back corner of the end zone for a 15-yard score, stretching Dallas’ lead to double digits.
“He shows that ability really on a consistent basis, week in and week out,” coach Jason Garrett said. “But I tell you what, that was a heck of a play.”
Added owner/general manager Jerry Jones: “That throw he made to 83 in the end zone after getting flushed out, that’s his A game.”
On this night, a flash of that was enough for the Cowboys. That’s reason to smile, an exception to the rule.
RIVAL NEWSPAPER HEADLINE: Robert Griffin III and Co. struggle in Dallas, fall to 1-4
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