- The Washington Times - Monday, December 28, 2009

FIRST QUARTER

What happened: Dallas blew up Washington’s first play in the backfield, but the Redskins answered with a long screen to Quinton Ganther for the first down. On third down, Fred Davis tipped a pass thrown his way, and Terence Newman intercepted it, giving the Cowboys possession at the Washington 36. Tony Romo completed a 16-yard pass on third down to a wide-open Patrick Crayton and had ample time in the pocket four plays later to find Roy Williams for the game’s first touchdown. Campbell threw five straight passes before getting crushed by Jay Ratliff on third down to end the next drive. The Redskins got to Romo on the next Dallas drive and forced a punt.

Analysis: Had the defense not asserted some control over the Cowboys on their second drive, this game could have gotten ugly just as quickly as the Giants game did. And while Campbell wasn’t at fault for the interception (though it wasn’t a perfect pass), he takes the blame for the drive-killing sack on third-and-15 on the second drive; he had more than enough time to get rid of the ball. Ratliff made an early claim to player of the game honors, making key stops in the backfield on the first two drives — including a brutal sack of Campbell.

BY THE NUMBERS

8 Interceptions against the Redskins by Terence Newman, who had three in one game at FedEx as a rookie in 2003.

SECOND QUARTER

What happened: Dallas and Washington traded punts to start the quarter. But the Cowboys took advantage of LaRon Landry on the third play of the next drive: Tight end Jason Witten lost him at the line of scrimmage and then outran him for a 69-yard gain before Reed Doughty finally ran him down. On the next play, Marion Barber rushed for a 3-yard touchdown. Washington had a three-and-out on the next drive, and then Doughty picked off Tony Romo. The safety was injured on the return and was helped off the field and into the locker room. Dallas got the ball back four plays later but didn’t score when it ran a pass play to the middle of the field instead of the sideline and time ran out.

Analysis: Landry’s inability to tackle and be in position to make plays continued to haunt the Redskins. Perhaps even more troubling than Witten’s ability to get past him off the line was that the big tight end outran Landry down the field. Washington wasn’t getting the pass rush it showed in the first quarter. Not so for the Cowboys’ unit, which continued to hound Campbell. The quarterback has gotten into the habit of holding on to the ball too long — witness the sack on Washington’s third drive of the quarter.

BY THE NUMBERS

100 Points Washington has been outscored by in the first half this season. Opponents have piled up 201 points before halftime.

THIRD QUARTER

What happened: The Cowboys got great field position to start after a short kick and a 20-yard return, but they squandered it after crossing the 50 when they couldn’t get 1 yard on third or fourth down. Washington answered with a drive that looked promising at the start but soon fizzled, with Campbell - standing in an empty backfield - getting drilled on a corner blitz on third down. Beginning at the 12, then the 6 after a holding penalty, Romo got the Cowboys started on a clock-draining drive that, again, resulted in no points. Dallas went for it on fourth-and-1 again and didn’t get it, this time from the Washington 31. Santana Moss caught his fifth pass of the game to end the quarter.

Analysis: Shaun Suisham might be getting a complex. Jim Zorn became known, for better or worse, for his tendency to go for it on fourth-and-short earlier in the season when Suisham was his kicker. Now Cowboys coach Wade Phillips has Suisham, and twice he passed on the opportunity for long-but-makable field goal attempts to go for it on fourth-and-1. And those are hard to come by with Albert Haynesworth in the middle of the Redskins’ defense. It was an otherwise forgettable quarter for the Redskins, who ran just nine offensive plays.

BY THE NUMBERS

4 Yards rushing for the Redskins in the third quarter on two 2-yard runs by Quinton Ganther.

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