Who knows. This game might have killed the Dallas Cowboys' dream of playing in the Super Bowl in Jerryworld.
I was wrong--about the Cowboys beating the Redskins at home on Sunday Night Football. And I'm sorry. I'm glad I was wrong. For that I'm not sorry.
Does it count when the Cowboys help you win?
The Redskins weren't perfect either, but the Cowboy's gaffs came at the worst possible times:
- End of the first half on a fumble by Dallas running back Tashard Choice, recovered by Skins DB DeAngelo Hall and returned for a touchdown.
- End of the game when an offensive holding penalty nullified the go-ahead touchdown reception by WR Roy Williams.
The Mike Shanahan era is off to a good start with a game plan that was not brilliant, but an astute use of the talent on the team, especially the defense. Dallas gained 282 passing yards and a touchdown, and 103 rushing yards, but the Redskins brought pressure to kill drives (five of 13 third downs converted) and disrupt plays. The Skins front seven exploited the Cowboys offensive line. Tony Romo handled that pressure to give Dallas its first lead as time ran out, only to see it evaporate when back-up OT Alex Barron couldn't handle Brian Orakpo.
The touchdown-challenged 2009 Redskins averaged 16 points per game. The 2010 Redskins could not do as well, perhaps because they were playing the Cowboys defense. Trent Williams and the offensive line held up. Though QB Donovan McNabb was under pressure, the line allowed no sacks. McNabb showed no ill-effects from his preseason ankle injury.
But for much of the game, the entire passing offense consisted of McNabb to Santana Moss and to Chris Cooley. Clinton Portis gained 63 yards on 18 carries. Yet he was not ineffective. His key play was an 18 yard fourth quarter gain for first down after his prior 10 yard run was nullified by a penalty on Chris Cooley. (Cooley was called for an illegal forward motion. It appeared on the replay that he set for the snap before moving forward. Whatever!)
Portis' run gave Washington possession for another series. Washington ended that series with a Graham Gano 49 yard field goal that forced Dallas to score a touchdown to win. More important, Dallas had less than two minutes to score that touchdown. Thus, the Cowboys ran out of time to attempt a score on fourth down because of Portis' 18 yard first down conversion.
The misty fog settled over FedEx Field as the game ended was somehow the right atmosphere for the drama.
It was worth missing Mad Men for this.
Point after: Keep the gold pants. The colors of this team are burgundy and gold. Burgundy and white only worked in the 1980s.
Game balls to Portis and to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett