The Washington Redskins’ quarterback Rex Grossman witnessed a chance to end the team’s five-game losing streak, until kicker Graham Gano missed a 52-yard field goal with 9:27 remaining in overtime.
About four minutes of extended play later, the Dallas Cowboys continued their three-game winning streak when rookie kicker Dan Bailey nailed a 39-yard field goal with 5:47 left, sending the Redskins (3-7) to their sixth straight loss, 27-24, despite a solid team performance led by Grossman.
“I thought he (Grossman) did a good job,” said Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan after the game. “Anytime you make a mistake and you’ve got the poise to come back and make some big time throws…I thought he really handled himself well. I’m just disappointed right there at the end that we weren’t able to finish it.”
After being benched for four consecutive contests, Grossman received his starting job last Sunday against the Dolphins in Miami. Clearly, Grossman was determined to get the Redskins back on the winning track.
“Rex studies his butt off during the week and I was happy to see that he threw for three hundred yards he deserves a victory more than anybody,” Redskins fullback Darrel Young.
Grossman went toe-to-toe against Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s aggressive play calling as he delivered majority of his timely passes to his receivers, while staring down the burrow of the Dallas defense.
Grossman completed 25 passes out of 38 attempts for 289 yards, three touchdowns (one rush), and an interception.
In his second season with the Redskins, Grossman honor and respect the rivalry the team has with the Cowboys. This contest against the Cowboys was more than attempting to get win after a month long losing streak, but to get the most anticipated home win of the season for the fans of Washington to savor a proud moment after another losing campaign.
“It stings more because as a player you understand how much our owner wants to win this game,” said Grossman. “We understand how much the fans want to win this game. You understand that you are 3-6 coming into this game. This is an opportunity to play against the Dallas Cowboys, our rival. All the things were out there for us to get it done.
“We tried our [butts] off and I’m proud of every single player and every teammate,” he continued. “Just came up a little short. You could come up with a longer list of reasons that this is a disappointing situation.
“I did see Doc Walker (Redskins legendary tight end) on the sidelines in the middle of the game just kind of cheering me on and telling me to get going and all that,” he added. “For some reason, it did pump me up. I obviously talked to Sonny Jurgensen (Hall of Fame quarterback) a little bit before during the week. Some of the situations like that, you really kind of get it.
“A lot of times, you think you really only have that kind of allegiance in college. You really feel it in these rivalry games.”
In defeat, Grossman was the Redskins’ player of the game. However, the Redskins defense played well, despite the absence of safety LaRon Landry, and their special teams, especially their return game, contributed masterfully.
The Redskins defensive line, led by linebacker London Fletcher who finished with 16 tackles and a sack, were aggressive, but smart under the schemes of defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who was criticized for his play calling in the team’s first matchup against the Cowboys this season. Moreover, when it counted, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo extended plays with his legs to come up with critical conversions.
“Yeah, it does make things tough, you know, because it’s the ability to make plays on the move, avoid sacks, things like that, buy some time,” said Fletcher when asked about Romo extending plays. “You know it puts a lot of stress on the coverage on the back end to cover a lot longer than facing some of the other quarterbacks. You know, we knew that coming in that he (Romo) is a tough sack, but it is still on us to stay tight on our coverage.”
Redskins punter Sav Rocca averaged 44.2 on his kicks, with two landing into the 20. Most specifically, Rocca 63-yard punt to the Cowboys’ 8 (after a holding penalty) triggered a Redskins upstart. The Redskins defense forced a three-and-out to set up Grossman and his offense with a short field, which eventually led to a quarterback draw by Grossman to get 4-yard touchdown on third-and-4 to make it a 10-7 game in the second quarter.
Redskins return specialist Brandon Banks had his best game of the season as he displayed some big returns, most noticeably his 55-yarder midway through the third quarter. Unfortunately, the Redskins were not able to capitalize on the opportunity, as Gano missed his first field goal attempt of the contest.
“It’s frustrating, but at the end of the day we all have to work as a team,” said Banks. “I mean, obviously I need to get them closer so we can put points on the board.”
Consequently, the Redskins’ mishaps allowed the Cowboys to stay alive late in the game after taking advantage of some of Dallas’ misfortunes in the first half, with questions of what might have been after two missed field goals by Gano.
“I think it was a lot better than the last few weeks but we just didn’t do enough to win,” said Redskins Donte’ Stallworth who was released a week ago, only to get re-signed. “You hate to lose on a field goal. You hate to put your kicker out there making a difficult field goal in a difficult situation and offensively we didn’t do enough to win the game.”
Grossman may have found his go-to-guy in wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, who finished with 7 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown, as they connected on big play after big play.
“This whole week at practice, I just went to Rex [Grossman] and said ‘I’m [going to] work,” said Gaffney. “If nobody else [works] to get open, I’m [going to] work. If you come to me, I’m [going to] make plays and he came to me today and I was able to make a few catches.”
Grossman always felt Gaffney was an elite receiver.
“I don’t know about statistically how good we’ve been, but I’ve always felt good about Jabar and his routes,” said Grossman. “You could tell pre-game that he was ready for a huge game. He made some amazing catches in some huge situations. I’ve always thought Jabar was an elite receiver since 1999.”
If Grossman and the Redskins can continue to play collectively, similar to their performance against the Cowboys, Washington could squeak out more unexpected wins with six remaining.
One thing for sure, the Redskins will fight to the end.
“Oh, we are absolutely going to continue to fight,” said Fletcher. “Now, we want to fight and win. It’s one thing to fight, but it’s another thing to fight and win. I feel like eventually, because of the character, it is going to happen for us and we are going to make more plays. We are going to make more plays to win these games.”
Game Note: Redskins vs. Cowboys
- Attendance for the game was 80,122. The game was the Redskins’ 365th consecutive sellout, including preseason, regular season and playoffs. All 145 regular season, postseason and preseason games at FedExField have been sellouts.
- Linebacker London Fletcher started in his 174th consecutive game, the most among active linebackers and tied with Tampa Bay’s Ronde Barber for the most in the NFL among active non-specialists. Fletcher’s appearance extended his consecutive games played streak to 218.
- With appearances in their respective games today, Fletcher and Barber both moved into a tie with defensive end Clyde Simmons for the fourth-most consecutive games played by a defensive player since 1970.
- Fletcher had a game-high 16 tackles and his third quarter sack gave him 34.0 sacks for his career.
- Quarterback Rex Grossman completed 25-of-37 passes for 289 yards with two touchdowns. Grossman tied his season-high in completions (25) in a game, as he previously completed 25 passes in Week 2 of this season vs. Arizona.
- Grossman ran for a four-yard touchdown in the second quarter, marking his fourth career rushing touchdown. It was his first rushing touchdown since Nov. 9, 2008, when Grossman rushed for a one-yard touchdown vs. Tennessee as a member of the Chicago Bears.
- Later in the second quarter, Grossman connected with wide receiver Jabar Gaffney for a 16-yard touchdown. The touchdown pass was the 47th of Grossman’s career. The touchdown reception was the 22nd of Gaffney’s career.
- The touchdown from Grossman to Gaffney marked the 27th time the two have connected on touchdown plays between the collegiate and professional levels (25 at the University of Florida and twice with the Redskins).
- Gaffney finished the game with 115 yards on seven receptions. It was his first 100-yard game as a Redskin, fifth overall, and his first since Sept. 26, 2010, when he posted 140 yards vs. Indianapolis as a member of the Denver Broncos.
- With his 115 receiving yards, Gaffney became the fourth different Redskins’ player this season to post 100-plus receiving yards in a game, which is the first time the team has accomplished this since 1998. Gaffney joins Fred Davis, Leonard Hankerson, and Roy Helu on the list of players who have 100-yard receiving games this season.
- Wide receiver Donté Stallworth recorded season-highs in receptions (four) and receiving yards (51).
- Stallworth caught a four-yard touchdown with 14 seconds left in regulation. The touchdown was his first since Oct. 26, 2008, and his first as a member of the Redskins.
- Punter Sav Rocca had a 63-yard punt in the second quarter, tying his longest punt as a member of the Redskins. He had a 63-yard punt against St. Louis in Week 4.
- Rocca had two punts downed inside the Cowboys’ 20-yard line, giving him 20 punts downed inside the 20 this season, first in the NFC and second in the NFL.
- Rookie safety DeJon Gomes received his first NFL start, making him the sixth Redskin rookie to start a game this season (Leonard Hankerson, Roy Helu, Maurice Hurt, Ryan Kerrigan and Niles Paul). Only the Denver Broncos have started more rookies this season (seven).
- Gomes recorded 13 tackles (seven solo).
- In the second quarter, rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan posted his sixth sack of the season, becoming the first Redskin rookie to record at least half-a-sack in three consecutive games since linebacker Brian Orakpo accomplished the feat in four consecutive games in 2009 (Weeks 3-6).
- Defensive end Adam Carriker and defensive tackle Chris Neild split a sack of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in the second quarter. In doing so, Carriker improved upon his single-season career high for sacks, which now stands at 5.0.
- Defensive end Stephen Bowen added a sack in the third quarter, adding to his existing single-season career high as he now has 4.5 sacks for the season.
- The Redskins now have four players with at least 4.5 sacks (Bowen, Carriker, Kerrigan and Orakpo). Entering Sunday’s games, only the Houston Texans had four players with 4.5 sacks.
- Brandon Banks’ 55-yard punt return in the third quarter was a career long. Banks’ previous long was a 53-yard return at Philadelphia on Oct. 3, 2010. Banks finished a season-high 190 all-purpose yards.
- Tight end Fred Davis caught six passes, pushing his season total to 49, a single-season career-high.
- Receiver Anthony Armstrong received the first rushing attempt of his career, rushing for five yards on the Redskins’ first offensive play.
- Running back Ryan Torain surpassed 1,000 yards for his career on his first carry.
- Running back Tashard Choice appeared in his first game as a member of the Redskins.
- Fullback Darrel Young had a career-long 27-yard reception in the fourth quarter.
- Washington was 1-of-2 on challenges. All three of Washington’s challenges this season have come against Dallas.
- Head Coach Mike Shanahan is now 41-of-99 all-time when challenging rulings.
- Two of Graham Gano’s five kickoffs went for touchbacks.
Article via Bleacher Report