Did anyone really expect anything other than a close game against the division rival Redskins? In eight out of the last 11 meetings between the Cowboys and Redskins the winning margin has been no more than six points, with the Cowboys winning five and the Redskins winning three.
In the first meeting between these two teams back in September it came down to a last second field goal by rookie Dan Bailey to win the game 18-16. Today’s game was no different except that it came down to overtime for the Cowboys to pull out the hard fought victory, 27-24. The win was their third in a row and improved their record to 6-4 as they prepare for the Thanksgiving Day game against the Dolphins in four days.
The Cowboys started their scoring in the first quarter after Gerald Sensabaugh recovered a fumble on the Redskins 24 yard line. Tony Romo connected with Dez Bryant from 22 yards as he found his way into the corner from the end zone. The Cowboys took a 7-0 lead.
The Cowboys defense was dominate in the first quarter with the one turnover from Sensabaugh and forcing the Redskins to punt on their two other possessions.
Early in the second quarter the Cowboys defense forced another Redskins punt. The Cowboys offense took over on their own 48 yard line. The Redskins defense seemed to be focusing on stopping the running of DeMarco Murray in the first half. Romo drove the Cowboys down to the Redskins 20 yard line. From there rookie Dan Bailey continued his field goal streak with his 23rd straight as he connected from 37 yards and gave the Cowboys a 10-0 lead.
After the Cowboys defense forced another Redskins punt, Romo and the offense found themselves pinned on the five yard line. They could only manage to gain four yards and were forced to punt back to the Redskins. Matt McBriar helped the Redskins with a 23 yard punt and the Redskins took over on the Cowboys 32 yard line.
The Cowboys defense could have forced a Redskins field goal attempt from the 29 yard line, but Orlando Scandrick was beaten on 3rd and 7 to keep the Redskins drive going. Rex Grossman drove the Redskins down to the four yard line and on 3rd and goal he ran a quarterback sneak and scored to tighten the score to 10-7 Cowboys.
Momentum seemed to swing in favor of the Redskins after the 23 yard McBriar punt. After getting the kickoff the Cowboys could not generate any offense. Facing a 3rd and 17 from their own 23 yard line they ran a draw play that only gained one yard and were forced to punt with less than two minutes to go in the first half.
Rex Grossman once again drove the Redskins into Cowboys territory as the Cowboys defense seemed confused at times. From the Cowboys 16 yard line on 3rd down Grossman tossed a touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney and the Redskins took a 14-10 halftime lead.
Things didn’t seem to be getting better as the third quarter started. The Redskins seemed to be having no problems driving the ball on the Cowboys defense. Their opening drive of the third quarter resulted in a field goal and a 17-10 lead.
Still not getting and offensive production the Cowboys once again were forced to punt. The Cowboys punt coverage unit was also struggling as the Redskins returned the McBriar punt 55 yards to the Cowboys 34 yard line. The Cowboys defense only allowed three yards to the Redskins and they lined up for another field goal attempt. The kick went wide right and missed. The Redskins remained in front 17-10.
With six minutes left in the third quarter Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense started to move the ball on the Redskins. They found themselves with a 4th and 1 from the Redskins 40 yard line. Head Coach Jason Garrett decided to go for it and gave the ball to rookie DeMarco Murray who gained seven yards and a big first down. Then from the Redskins 14 yard line and facing a 3rd and 6, Romo connected with Murray for seven yards for a first and goal from the seven yard line as the third quarter ended. Three plays later the Cowboys tied the game at 17-17 as Romo tossed his second touchdown pass of the game, this time to Laurent Robinson from seven yards out.
The Cowboys defense forced the Redskins to punt on their next possession as DeMarcus Ware collected his 14th sack of the season. Romo took over at the Cowboys twelve yard line after the Redskins punt. He drove them up to the 41 yard line and on 3rd and 8 Romo was pressured by the Redskins. He spun and rolled out to his left where he saw Jason Witten break open. Romo connected with Witten who then scored from 59 yards to give the lead back to the Cowboys 24-17. It was Witten’s longest touchdown reception of his career.
The Redskins got the ball back with 8:48 left in the game. Rex Grossman on first down was pressured by Bradie James and was forced to throw the ball early. The result was an interception by Orlando Scandrick at the Cowboys 41 yard line. After four straights runs by Murray he got the Cowboys down to the Redskins 41 yard line as time was running off the clock. But the Cowboys drive stalled and they punted the ball back to the Redskins with 5:35 left in the game.
The Redskins started the drive from the eleven yard line. They began driving on the arm of Rex Grossman. The Cowboys looked to force the Redskins into a fourth down from the Cowboys 21 yard line, but on 3rd and 2 Scandrick was called for defensive holding. That gave Redskins a first down at the Cowboys 16 yard line. From there Grossman tossed the game tying touchdown pass with only 14 seconds left in the game. With the score tied 24-24 the teams prepared for overtime.
The Redskins won the coin toss in overtime and proceeded to drive on the Cowboys defense again. Facing a 3rd and 7 from the Cowboys 34 yard line it was Victor Butler who sacked Grossman. The Redskins attempted a 52 yard field which once again sailed wide right and gave the ball to the Cowboys at the 42 yard line.
Tony Romo started the Cowboys drive by connecting with Martellus Bennett for 14 yards to get to the Redskins 44 yard line. After no gain by Murray on first down, an incomplete pass to Dez Bryant on second down and then a false start by Doug Free on third down. The Cowboys faced a 3rd and 15 from the Redskins 49 yard line. Romo found Bryant for 26 yards and a first down at the 23 yard line. From there the Cowboys ran two plays with Murray and sent out Dan Bailey for the win. Bailey connected from 39 yards out and gave the Cowboys a hard fought division win over the Redskins, 27-24. It was Bailey’s 24th straight field goal.
Although the Cowboys seemed to struggle at times we have to remind ourselves that these were the Redskins and records need to be thrown out when they meet. The Cowboys are now 6-4 and have a 2-1 division record. They are still currently behind the division leading Giants who play the Eagles on Sunday Night Football.
Tony Romo threw three touchdown passes and had 292 yards passing. DeMarco Murray had 73 yards rushing and Jason Witten led the way with 85 yards receiving. The defense forced two turnovers (fumble and interception) and collected three sacks.
The Cowboys have only four days before their Thanksgiving Day game against the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins find themselves on a three game winning streak after starting the season 0-7. In those three wins the Dolphins defense has only given up 20 points.