For those football fans who turned this game off at half time they missed quite an ending, a theme that belonged to more than just the Cowboys and Redskins game. Many of Sunday’s early games were dramatic, including this game of NFC East basement dwellers. When the Cowboys and Redskins faced off in week 1 it was anything but an offensive contest, but that was the story today in Big D. Both offenses showed up, and it made for quite the ending. With Rex Grossman taking the snaps for a benched Donovan McNabb, the Redskins gave the Cowboys all they could handle in the second half of this one.
The Cowboys dominated the first half by pressuring Grossman and forcing a Gerald Sensabaugh interception on the Redskins second drive of the game. That turnover led to a Cowboys touchdown pass from Kitna to Austin and a 10-0 lead. The Cowboys went up 13-0 before Rex Grossman hit backup tailback Ryan Torain for a 19-yard TD reception to narrow the Cowboys edge. But that would be all for Washington in the first half as the Cowboys scored again on a nice 14-yard touchdown pass from Kitna to Witten. The play was setup by the “Razorback” formation that had Tashard Choice take the snap and hand it to Felix Jones on a sweep. Jones pitched it to Kitna who was coming back the other way and he threw it back to Jones for a 32-yard gain. It was a fine piece of trickery and it led to the Cowboys a 20-7 halftime lead.
The second half started much of the same for Washington. DeMarcus Ware got his second of two sacks, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Jay Ratliff, of the Cowboys, and gave them great field position at the Washington 15 yard line. The possession ended when Tashard Choice punched the ball in from 3 yards out and extended the lead to 27-7.
The Cowboys defense seemed to fall asleep after that, especially the secondary. Grossman was able to get into a rhythm with a modest pass rush in his face. Grossman hit WR Anthony Armstrong on a 47-yard bomb in front of Terrance Newman. The play might have been a touchdown but Grossman under threw Armstrong allowing Newman to catch up. The bomb set up, Cowboy killer, Santana Moss on a 14-yard TD completion in front of Alan Ball who had a terrible second half, as did most of the Cowboys secondary.
The Cowboys got the ball back and drove down the field, aided by a nice Kitna to Witten 33-yard completion, but the drive would stall and the Cowboys would get their third David Beuhler field-goal to go up 30-14.
The Redskins would come right back. Grossman would hit Moss again for their second touchdown hookup of the half in front of Alan Ball, and with the 2-point conversion successful, would go down just 8 points. The Redskins forced the Cowboys to punt and Grossman again took them down the field to tie the score when he hit TE Chris Cooley with a rocket from 5 yards out. Another successful 2-point conversion would tie the game at 30-30.
The Cowboys got the ball back, went three-and-out, and punted it back to Washington. The Boys were able to pin the Redskins at their own 4-yard line and with help from back to back sacks by LB Victor Butler and CB Orlando Scandrick, the Cowboy got the ball back. Kitna led the team to the Redskins 30-yard line where Beuhler nailed a 47-yard field goal to put the Boys up 33-30.
Grossman, who already had 4 touchdown passes on the day, tried to lead a game-winning drive but was picked off by Terrance Newman, who ran around to run out the clock, and the Cowboys were able to hold on 33-30.
It wasn’t the kind of game I expected and I was surprised how well Grossman played for the Skins. Santana Moss continued to light up the Cowboys secondary adding 8 receptions for 72 yards. But, in the end the Cowboys came through moving their record to 5-9 and Jason Garrett’s to 4-2 since taking over the reigns. Kitna was strong finishing the game with 305 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. But it was Jason Witten who stole the show catching 10 passes for 140 yards with a touchdown.
The major concern for the Cowboys has to be their defense. While they out gained Washington 434 to 341 in total offense, the secondary was burned quite a bit for big plays and might have had one more if Moss didn’t drop a sure touchdown bomb from their 4-yard line, after Mike Jenkins stumbled. The Cowboys also held the ball for 10 minutes longer than the Redskins.
With another win in the books the Cowboys continue to move themselves out of a top 10 draft pick and, by still refusing to play guys like Stephen McGee, also contest taking a good look at their future. But, hey, at least they beat the rival Redskins!