October 19, 2019

Washington Redskins Week 17 Preview: at Dallas Cowboys

The NFC East champion Washington Redskins travel to face the rival Dallas Cowboys in an extremely rare meaningless game (from a standings perspective). Washington (8-7) has already locked up the division and a home playoff game by beating the Philadelphia Eagles last week, and will likely play their star players sparingly, if at all.

Dallas (4-11) is having the season that most Washington fans expected to have. They have had quarterback problems throughout the season due to the injured clavicle of Tony Romo, and have started 4 different players at the quarterback position this year. This week, they land on Kellen Moore, the lefty out of Boise St. The Cowboys have never been able to get it going offensively this year, and they will not be helped by the absence of Dez Bryant (injury) this week either. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins Week 13 Preview: vs. Dallas Cowboys

Folks, this is the one we look forward to every year. The division-leading Washington Redskins host the rival Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field on Monday Night Football. The Redskins somehow find themselves leading the NFC East over the Giants and Eagles, who both sit at 5-7 after their week 13 games. The Dallas Cowboys have endured a tough season, sitting at 3-8 amid serious injury and off-the-field distractions.

For Redskin fans, this game is THE game, whether the division is on the line or not. FedEx will be loud and the atmosphere will be electric. The Redskins have not fared well on primetime in recent memory, with a 4-18 clip in their last 22 games under the lights. However, they hold a 5-1 record at home in 2015 and defeated the Cowboys on Monday Night Football last year in Dallas. Anything is possible when these rivals come together. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins Week 8 Preview: Dallas Cowboys

The Washington Redskins needed a win in the worst way in week 7 against the Tennessee Titans, and they delivered, albeit in unconventional fashion.  The newest star for the team finally imploded and from the ashes, a new one was born.  Quarterback Colt McCoy will start his first NFL game in almost three years on Monday Night Football against the hated foe Dallas Cowboys.  This also marks a return to Texas for McCoy, where he enjoyed a successful collegiate career with the Longhorns.  While it remains to be seen when Robert Griffin III will return, Colt McCoy seems to be the starter moving forward until that time.

The 6-1 Dallas Cowboys find themselves in a unique position heading into November: not much is going wrong for them. Demarco Murray broke the NFL’s record for most consecutive 100 yard rushing games.  Tony Romo looks like he can do no wrong.  The defense, after much speculation about a complete debacle, has played well enough to not allow Romo to make his now infamous late game mistakes while trying to bring his team back from a deficit.

But let’s pump the brakes on “America’s Team” for a second (which, by the way, they no longer are.)  Of the six wins Dallas currently owns, here are the current records of those teams: 2-5, 2-4, 2-4, 3-4, 3-3, 3-4.  This equals up to a combined winning percentage of 66%.  The Cowboys have yet to post a victory against a team that is currently above .500.  While this may or may not indicate the direction their franchise will go for the remainder of the year, it does indicate that this team is not the juggernaut that most pundits anoint them as.

The problem here is, the Washington Redskins may not pose much of a threat either to Dallas.  The Redskins are in roster turmoil, starting a quarterback who hasn’t started a game since 2012.  In addition, their “franchise” player is now shelved for the season while the injuries continue to pile up for this already thin roster.  It’s going to take limited mistakes and a lot of heart for the Redskins to steal a victory on Monday night.

 Keys to the game

Stop beating yourselves

It is going to take close to zero mistakes for this Washington team to pull out a victory against a superiorly talented Cowboys squad.  So far this season, the Redskins have been hampered by mental errors in all three phases of the game.  The offense has committed costly penalties, often leading to huge third down distances, which the Redskins are among the worst in the league converting.  On the defensive side of the ball, wrong reads and often players being out of position have resulted in untimely huge plays for the opposition.  And special teams, while at times have looked to improve, are only marginally better than last year’s debacle.

The Cowboys of the past are no more.  This team appears to be a cohesive unit that limits errors.  If the Redskins want to have a chance on Monday night in the house the Jerry built, they will have to play focused.

Stop Murray

Pretty simple.  Murray has been among the best, if not the best, running back in the NFL this season.  He is as locked in as it gets. If the Redskins want to have any hope of containing Dallas’ dynamic receivers and tight ends, it will start with making them one dimensional.  If Demarco Murray can be contained, possibly to 80 yards or less, the Redskins should still be in the game.

Get to Romo

Tony Romo is one of the best quarterbacks in the league when he is under duress.  Most want to proclaim Romo as a “choker”, which may be true at times, but this isn’t because the pass rush is getting to him.  Time and time again, Romo proves that he can extend plays by keeping his eyes down the field.  He rarely gives up on a play.  Meanwhile, defenders will do just that, and someone ends up being wide open downfield.  It’s maddening.  It’s inexplicable at times.  But he does it.

The key here is to produce actual pass rush that will finish the play.  Defensive end Jason Hatcher, in his return to Dallas, needs to feed off of the adrenaline that he will undoubtedly have playing his former team in AT&T Stadium.  Yes, Brian Orakpo is gone, but rookie OLB Trent Murphy is quietly coming along and Ryan Kerrigan is on pace to accumulating career-high sack totals.  He will need to add to them in this matchup.  Additionally, the Redskins secondary needs to be ready and in position in case Romo is forced into one of those mistakes.  They won’t come often.

Our Predictions 

Joe Ziegengeist

While Redskins fans would like to think (and hope) that these matchups are always close, this one will unfortunately be pretty ugly.  Colt McCoy will struggle mightily here, and fans will be calling for Griffin to start before the bye week.  The defense also struggles as the Redskins will fall to 2-6.  There is good news though!  I think the Redskins get it done against a dreadful Minnesota team.  That’s 3-6 headed into the bye.  Anyone else up for an RG3 return and to party like it’s 2012?   Cowboys 35, Redskins 13

Dave Nichols

The Cowboys might have the best offensive line in football and have their running game firing on all cylinders right now. I think despite his success in the second half against Tennessee, Colt McCoy will have trouble moving the offense on Monday night.  Cowboys 31, Redskins 17

Eric Hobeck

Redskins play well but can’t keep up with Cowboys on either side of the ball.  Cowboys 27, Redskins 17

Joe Miller

This prediction is under the assumption that Colt McCoy is the starting quarterback Monday night. The Cowboys’ offense powered by their record-breaking run game has been excellent this season and almost certainly will put up a good amount of points (they’re 5th in points/game). That’s a serious problem for the Redskins as the Washington offense will most likely look to run the ball and be conservative with a third-string quarterback under center. That style of offense is poorly suited for a ‘shootout’ where they’ll be relied upon to keep up with Dallas’ scoring.  Cowboys 31, Redskins 17

Neil Dalal

The Cowboys are clicking on pretty much every cylinder right now, offensively for sure. I personally do not want RG3 to play as this season is more or less lost and there is no reason to risk a player who NEEDS to be ready for many years to come. Only way the Redskins win this game are in a shootout against a team that lacks a pass rush and if the defense is able to slyly cause a few turnovers. Unfortunately, a lot of things would have to bounce the Redskins way to even stay close.  Cowboys 31, Redskins 17

Washington Redskins Game 16 Review: With win over Cowboys, Redskins are kings of the NFC East

Alfred Morris cuts through the Cowboys defense for some of his 200 rushing yards. (photo by Brian Murphy)

For the first time since 1999, the Washington Redskins (10-6) are champions of the NFC East, after beating the Dallas Cowboys (8-8) by the score of 28-18 in a do-or-die match Sunday night at FedEx Field.

Whether nerves, the nagging injury to his right knee or a combination of both factors impacted Robert Griffin III in a game that had all the elements of a playoff match, it appeared the rookie quarterback was not quite 100 percent. However, thanks in part to Alfred Morris – who rushed for 200 yards over 33 carries – and in part to Tony Romo – who threw three interceptions on the night – Griffin did not have to post record-breaking numbers to send the Cowboys packing for Dallas.

Three times Morris ran the ball into the end zone. Before the Redskins etched another win into the books, Morris tallied 1,613 yards to end the season and re-write the Redskins’ single-season rushing yards record previously set by Clinton Portis in 2005.

As a whole, the Burgundy and Gold outran Dallas with 274 rushing yards compared with the Cowboys’ meager 100. Taking into account the Cowboys’ ailing defense, the Redskins required few highlight-worthy tosses by Griffin, who completed just nine of 18 passes for 100 yards.

As many had anticipated before Sunday’s kickoff, however, turnovers decided the game – and the Redskins effectively cashed in on costly errors by Romo and company.

On the Cowboys’ first possession, Romo attempted a pass to Miles Austin but it bounced onto the field, which itself has seen better days. On his next attempt, Romo tossed up the middle to Kevin Ogletree, but instead, the ball landed into the hands of Washington cornerback Richard Crawford for the first of Romo’s interceptions thrown.

However, the Redskins weren’t yet clicking. They advanced the ball only 52 yards over nine plays on their next possession, which included only short runs by both Griffin and Morris.

Then, the seemingly impossible happened.

From just 37 yards away, Kai Forbath bounced a field goal attempt off the right upright, marking his first career miss. Both the Redskins and Cowboys failed to score before the end of the quarter and it quickly became clear the Redskins would continue to look to designed runs despite Griffin’s knee woes.

The second quarter brought an end to the scoring drought, but not by much.

On the opening drive, the Cowboys played small ball to advance downfield and send Jason Witten into the end zone with a nine-yard touchdown.

But, as was so often the case in Sunday night’s matchup, Morris helped lead a rebuttal for the Redskins.

After back-to-back runs for 13 and 14 yards respectively during the Redskins’ next possession, Morris later carried the ball another 17 yards for the tying touchdown to make it 7-7 all.

That score held until late into the third quarter when Griffin picked up his own rushing touchdown to give the Redskins an underwhelming 14-7 lead into the final quarter.

The Cowboys’ Dan Bailey took an early crack at trimming Washington’s lead with a 48-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, but once again, Morris answered – this time in the form of a 32-yard touchdown run to give the Redskins a reassuring 21-10 lead.

On the Cowboys’ next possession, Romo failed to connect with both DeMarco Murray and Dwayne Harris and instead, came face-to-face with London Fletcher on third and 10 from Washington’s 37-yard line for an 18-yard sack.

With 6:35 remaining, Sav Rocca managed to punt 43 yards to the Dallas 30-yard line, only to hand the Cowboys’ yards by committing a costly – and pointless – face mask penalty enforced at Washington’s own 31-yard line.

Romo and the gang took advantage of the field position by completing a touchdown in less than 45 seconds of playing time, and suddenly the Cowboys found themselves within three points of catching the Redskins for the playoff berth.

But, it was Romo himself who literally handed the Redskins the division. WIth 3:33 left to play, Romo succombed to pressure from Perry Riley and underthrew the ball to Murray, just in time for Rob Jackson to swoop in for the game-sealing pick.

For further insurance, Morris carried the ball into the end zone on the Redskins’ next drive to give Washington a 28-18 win and the opportunity to host the Seattle Seahawks in postseason play next Sunday.

Entertainment, Drama, and Another Redskins Loss

On weekends, I work for a mainstream media website, where part of my job description on Sundays is to write a recap of Redskins games. I started working there in the beginning of October, which happened to coincide with the last time the Redskins won a game. That nearly changed during Sunday’s 27-24 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys. So nearly, in fact that on two separate occasions, I began mentally preparing myself to punch up a Redskins victory story. [Read more…]

Cowboys 18, Redskins 16: The Knockout Punch That Missed

Redskins QB Rex Grossman is stripped on last meaningful play of the game. (Photo by Brian Murphy)

Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is from Pittsburgh. So was Billy Conn. If you don’t know who Billy “The Pittsburgh Kid” Conn is, you’re not alone. Conn, a light-heavyweight who died in 1993 at the age of 75, is best remembered for being knocked out in a heavyweight title fight by Joe Louis in the summer of 1941. Despite being ahead on all three judges’ scorecards entering the 13th round, Conn continued to fight in his trademark aggressive style. His reward was a savage beating from Louis and a defeat by knockout. The New York Herald Tribune wrote, “Conn wound up on his wounded left side, trying to make Irish legs answer an Irish brain.”

Leaving nationality and the innate folly of cross-sport comparisons aside for a moment, Haslett’s defense found itself in more or less the same position on Monday night. [Read more…]

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