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Redskins Fall to Cowboys 27-24 In Overtime

Posted Nov 20, 2011

Led by QB Rex Grossman, the Redskins played with gritty effort but it wasn't enough as the Cowboys captured a 27-24 win over the Redskins in overtime at FedExField.


COWBOYS 27, REDSKINS 24: SCORING SUMMARY
Team Quarter Play Score
Cowboys 1 Bryant 22-yard pass from Romo (Bailey kick) Cowboys 7-0
Cowboys 2 Bailey 37-yard field goal Cowboys 10-0
Redskins 2 Grossman 4-yard run (Gano kick) Cowboys 10-7
Redskins 2 Gaffney 16-yard pass from Grossman (Gano kick) Redskins 14-10
Redskins 3 Gano 40-yard field goal Redskins 17-10
Cowboys 4 Robinson 7-yard pass from Romo (Bailey kick) Tie, 17-17
Cowboys 4 Witten 59-yard pass from Romo (Bailey kick) Cowboys 24-17
Redskins 4 Stallworth 4-yard pass from Grossman (Gano kick) Tie, 24-24
Cowboys OT Bailey 39-yard field goal Cowboys 27-24

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Throw out the records when the Redskins and Cowboys play. Please. With the Redskins at 3-6, the season appears lost. Why not beat the arch-rival Cowboys on Sunday and gain some degree of satisfaction?

After a sluggish offensive start, the Redskins finally found momentum in the second quarter, taking a 14-10 lead into halftime. Rex Grossman was efficient with the ball, connecting with fellow University of Florida alum Jabar Gaffney on several clutch catches.

Of course, the Cowboys came back and took a 24-17 lead. Late in the fourth quarter, Grossman guided the offense to perhaps its best drive of the season to tie the game and send both clubs into overtime.

Graham Gano had a chance to win the game with a 52-yard field goal a few minutes into overtime. His kick had the distance but it was just a few yards wide left. The Cowboys got in position for a 39-yard field goal by Dan Bailey. His effort appeared to sail left, too, but referees ruled that the ball stayed just inside the uprights. It was good.

So, there’s no satisfaction. Redskins lose 27-24, their sixth consecutive loss. They are 3-7 overall and 1-3 in the NFC East. Call it a gritty effort, especially the offense, but still not good enough.

REVEALING MOMENT

After Graham Gano’s missed 52-yard attempt in overtime, the Cowboys began the ensuing drive at their own 42. It took one play, a 14-yard pass from quarterback Tony Romo to tight end Martellus Bennett, to move the offense into Redskins territory. The pivotal play came two plays later when the Cowboys were faced with a 3rd-and-15. Romo dropped back to pass and sidestepped the Redskins’ pass rush. He threw to wide receiver Dez Bryant 25 yards downfield. DeAngelo Hall was in coverage but he appeared to slip for a moment, allowing Bryant to plenty of time to pull in the pass. After the catch by Bryant, the Cowboys had the ball at the Redskins’ 23-yard line, prime position for a game-winning field goal. Bailey converted the 39-yarder for the Cowboys’ win.

PLAY OF THE GAME

Donte Stallworth was released by the Redskins on Nov. 8 but he was re-signed when the Redskins lost Leonard Hankerson to a season-ending hip injury. Stallworth made his presence known on the Redskins’ final drive with two big catches and then he capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown catch. Stallworth ran a fade route to the left corner of the end zone and leaped up in front of the Cowboys defender to make the grab. Rex Grossman’s pass was perfectly thrown. Hold on ... Did Stallworth keep both feet in bounds? Replay revealed that Stallworth dragged his right foot as he caught the ball and his left foot was clearly in bounds, and the touchdown was upheld.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Rex Grossman and Jabar Gaffney have a connection that goes back to their University of Florida days. They were back in rhythm on Sunday. Gaffney finished with a game-high seven catches for 115 yards – 16.4 yards per catch – and one touchdown, a 4-yard catch late in the first half that gave the Redskins their first lead in a game since Week 4. Gaffney proved he was a clutch player early in the fourth quarter catching a 22-yard pass in front of cornerback Terence Newman on a 3rd-and-12 play. He also had a 15-yard grab on the Redskins’ game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter.

WHAT WENT WRONG

-- The Redskins’ secondary struggled against the Cowboys’ passing game, yielding several big plays on third down. Overall, the Redskins yielded 8-of-17 third-down conversions, including all three of the Cowboys’ touchdowns. On Dallas’s game-winning drive in overtime, the defense yielded a 26-yard completion on 3rd-and-15.

-- An early turnover proved costly for the Redskins. On a 3rd-and-6 early in the first quarter, Rex Grossman threw a short pass to Fred Davis, who fought off tacklers to try and reach for the first down. Instead, defensive lineman Jason Hatcher came up from behind and swatted Davis’s arms, causing a fumble. Safety Gerald Sensabaugh recovered, setting up Dallas’s offense at the Redskins’ 24-yard line.

-- Two plays after Fred Davis’s fumble, the Cowboys converted the turnover into a score. Quarterback Tony Romo threw a pass to the right corner of the end zone, where wide receiver Dez Bryant found space between DeAngelo Hall and Oshiomogho Atogwe. Atogwe may have been late coming over and Bryant pulled in the pass for the touchdown, giving Dallas a 7-0 lead.

-- Tony Romo proved once again that he is at his most dangerous when he can roll out of the pocket after plays have broken down. In the third quarter, a plodding 13-play drive gave the Cowboys a 3rd-and-goal at the Redskins’ 7. On the 14th play, Romo eluded pressure in the pocket by rolling left. He waited for a receiver to get open but the defense was solid. Wide receiver Laurent Robinson ran from the other side of the end zone with Josh Wilson on his heels and pulled in a Romo’s pass for a 7-yard touchdown.

-- Momentum had clearly shifted to Dallas midway through the fourth quarter. On 3rd-and-8 at their 41-yard line, Tony Romo dropped back to pass but he was flushed from the pocket by Brian Orakpo. Once again, that’s when Romo is at his most dangerous. He threw to tight end Jason Witten, who escaped initial coverage by DeJon Gomes and got behind DeAngelo Hall. Witten caught the pass in stride and quickly turned up-field, outpacing Hall. Witten raced into the end zone for a 59-yard touchdown.

-- Graham Gano missed the 52-yard game-winner in the same end zone where he connected on a club record 59-yarder just two weeks earlier. Gano also missed a 49-yarder midway through the third quarter – which proved to be a critical miss. The Cowboys grabbed momentum and scored touchdowns on their next two possessions.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

-- Give Rex Grossman credit. After a slow start, he got into a rhythm in the passing game and stayed poised as a signal-caller. His fourth quarter drive to lead the offense to a game-tying touchdown was impressive. Grossman finished with 25-of-38 passes for 289 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His QB rating was 95.2.

-- Midway through the second quarter, the Redskins took advantage of a poor punt by Dallas’s Mat McBriar and started a drive at the Cowboys’ 32-yard line. Rex Grossman connected with David Anderson, who made an acrobatic catch along the left sideline for 23 yards. On 3rd-and-goal at the 4, Grossman followed strong blocks by Tyler Polumbus and Will Montgomery and slipped into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw.

-- It was a simple route, really. Jabar Gaffney lined up in the slot and ran straight to the end zone. He cut inside safety Gerald Sensabaugh and found a hole in the Cowboy’s coverage. Rex Grossman appeared to target Gaffney from the get-go and he and even though coverage was tight, they connected for a 16-yard touchdown to give the Redskins a 14-10 lead heading into halftime.

-- Brandon Banks has drawn scrutiny this season for struggling at times on punt and kickoff returns. On Sunday, he turned in his best game of the season. Late in the second quarter, he posted a 32-yard return to the Cowboys’ 43-yard line, setting up a Redskins touchdown drive. Early in the third quarter, Banks brought back another punt, cutting inside and following great blocking up field for a 55-yard return, which is a career-best.

-- For the second game in a row, Ryan Kerrigan was an active presence. Matched up against fellow rookie Tyron Smith, Kerrigan sacked Tony Romo for an 8-yard loss, helping stymie a second quarter drive. Kerrigan leads the Redskins’ defense with six sacks.

-- Midway through the third quarter, the Redskins increased the pressure on Tony Romo. First it was Stephen Bowen, the former Cowboy, who sacked Romo for a 4-yard loss. One play later, on 3rd-and-3, London Fletcher broke off coverage and blitzed Romo, sacking him for a 12-yard loss.

-- With the Redskins trailed 24-17 late in the fourth quarter, Rex Grossman led a gritty drive downfield to tie the game. He completed a 20-yard pass to Donte Stallworth to open the drive. Then he connected with Darrel Young, who broke a tackle and raced down the right sideline for 27 yards. A 15-yard pass to Jabar Gaffney put the Redskins deep into Cowboys territory. On a key 3rd-and-5 at the Cowboys’ 11-yard line, Grossman connected with Fred Davis, who carried tacklers to the Cowboys 2-yard line for a 1st-and-goal.

-- Donte Stallworth was released by the Redskins on Nov. 8 but he was re-signed when the Redskins lost Leonard Hankerson to a season-ending hip injury. Stallworth made his presence known on the Redskins’ final drive with two big catches and then he capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown catch. Stallworth ran a fade route to the left corner of the end zone and leaped up in front of the Cowboys defender to make the grab. Did he keep both feet in bounds? Replay revealed that Stallworth dragged his right foot as he caught the ball and his left foot was clearly in bounds, so the touchdown was upheld.

UNSUNG HERO

London Fletcher is a hero every game, every day, but perhaps his play in Sunday’s game went unnoticed. It shouldn’t have – Fletcher led the defense with a whopping 16 tackles, a sack, two tackles for a loss and a forced fumble. He went into the game with a sprained ankle and suffered a bout with cramps mid-game, but he still was able to make plays. It’s the second time this season that Fletcher posted 16 or more tackles in a game. He surpassed 100+ tackles for the 13th time in his 14 NFL seasons.

QUOTE SHEET

-- "I was pleased with the effort. I thought we played extremely hard. I thought we kept our poise and I was just disappointed we didn't get the job done. We have to go back and say, 'Hey, everybody has to look at themselves day by day and just keep on working on the little things." -- Mike Shanahan

-- "You play for these moments. I’m disappointed we didn’t get a victory. I enjoyed myself being in that Redskins-Cowboys rivalry game, fighting with my teammates, the support from the fans. It’s extremely disappointing." -- Rex Grossman

-- “It’s very frustrating. I don’t feel any pressure out there whatsoever. I love those opportunities and to not pull through is very disappointing.” -- Graham Gano

INJURY REPORT

-- Trent Williams suffered an MCL sprain in his knee on the Redskins’ missed field goal in overtime. Athletic trainers tended to him for several minutes on the field and Williams eventually walked off the field with a noticeable limp.

-- Josh Wilson left the game in the second half with a hamstring injury.

-- DeJon Gomes was sidelined midway through the second quarter with a knee injury, but he returned to action later in the game.

STATS GEEK

The Redskins may rank 32nd in the NFL in rushing offense after this weekend’s game. They rushed for just 60 yards on 24 carries – 2.4 yards per carry – against a stout Cowboys front seven. Roy Helu led with 35 yards on eight carries, but both Ryan Torain and Tashard Choice found little running room. Consider: Tim Hightower has been sidelined since Week 6 and he remains the Redskins’ leading rusher for the season.

WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT

LaRon Landry sat out the game to rest his sore Achilles, but Jammal Brown returned to the starting lineup and Sean Locklear was available as a backup. All three were listed as questionable heading into the game. Rookie DeJon Gomes started for Landry. Tashard Choice made his debut with the Redskins, playing against his former team. The Redskins’ list of inactives was as follows: Landry, D.J. Johnson, Keyaron Fox,Markus White, Maurice Hurt, Niles Paul and Santana Moss.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Redskins will travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Nov. 27 at CenturyLink Field (formerly Qwest Field). Kickoff is 4:05 p.m. ET. Washington is 10-4 all-time against Seattle in the regular season and 0-2 in the postseason. The Redskins have won the last five regular-season matchups but the Seahawks won playoff games in 2005 and 2007, both at CenturyLink Field. The game will take place on the four-year anniversary of the passing of Sean Taylor.

LAST WORD

The Redskins may be 3-7, but they were able to keep up with a Cowboys team that appears to be hitting its stride. After scoring a combined 20 points in the last three games, the Redskins were practicially prolific scoring 24 points on Sunday. Rex Grossman is more than capable of leading the offense, if he can avoid the costly turnover. The defense can always keep a game close. This is progress for the rest of this season.