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TE FRED DAVIS: The Cowboys turned Davis‘ fumble on the third play of the game into seven points, and you don’t need a math degree to realize how that affected the outcome of an overtime game. Davis never tucked the ball away to protect it, maybe because he wanted to reach it across the line-to-gain. Ultimately, it was careless. Personally, I don’t think it was a fumble, but I do agree that whatever was called on the field should not have been overturned by the replay. The video evidence wasn’t sufficient either way; that’s how close it was.

Beyond that costly miscue, Davis‘ run blocking was problematic again this week. He was pushed back too frequently. Because he’s on the edge, that limits the running back’s options on stretch plays. Davis got up banging his chest after a 24-yard reception in the third quarter, and on the next play RB Ryan Torain lost two yards partly because Davis got pushed back two yards by OLB Anthony Spencer, who made the tackle. That inconsistency is really hurting the Redskins‘ offense. He makes TE Chris Cooley seem more irreplaceable every week.

WR ANTHONY ARMSTRONG: For the second time in four games, Armstrong started but didn’t have a catch. Anytime a receiver is shut out, it’s due to a combination of reasons. Ultimately, though, what matters is that Armstrong is not producing.

I’m not sure what he could have done to prevent the fourth-quarter interception. He had inside position on CB Orlando Scandrick off the ball, and QB Rex Grossman threw it accordingly. If Armstrong’s route called for a move back to the outside — which he ran — so be it.

There was a play in the preseason against Baltimore on which QB John Beck threw an interception on a deep pass intended for WR Donté Stallworth. After the game, both players said Stallworth should have at least committed pass interference to save possession of the ball, and I wonder if Armstrong could have done that in this instance.

Don’t blame Armstrong for dropping a potential touchdown early in the third quarter. CB Alan Ball got a hand on it and changed the ball’s path.

Armstrong’s stats tell the main story, so let’s look at three positives. He had a key block on PR Brandon Banks‘ 32-yard punt return in the second quarter. His vertical route in the third quarter cleared two defenders from the left side of the field, allowing space for WR Jabar Gaffney’s 28-yard completion near the left sideline. And he dove for a badly overthrow pass down the right sideline — an indication that he’s fighting hard to break out of this slump.

RB RYAN TORAIN: Torain has 57 yards on 36 carries (1.6 yards per carry) since he rushed for 135 yards on 19 attempts in Week 4. The blocking in front of him consistently has been poor, but there are holes that he’s not capitalizing on. You hear players and coaches talk about the importance of a runner’s feel for the zone running scheme, and Torain seems out of sync right now for whatever reason.


RB Roy Helu played 38 of 65 snaps, more than any of the other backs, despite beginning the game on the sideline. Mike Shanahan on Monday explained Helu’s role by saying: “I don’t want to put too much pressure on him too early. He’s not ready for that, but he’s gaining experience.”

In fact, Shanahan broke down Helu’s game pretty well for us. Here’s what he said:

“He had a couple of nice runs in that two-minute — it was perfect runs, perfect opportunities. They were in a two-minute type defense — they were rushing the pass and we had a couple of trap plays.

“We had a chance late in the game on the last drive. He almost broke that run — the handoff to the left. It should have went probably 20-25 [yards] and we missed a block and had to turn it to the inside, but he hit that hole nice. I like Helu. He’s doing some great things.”

For the record, CB Orlando Scandrick beat WR David Anderson’s block attempt out of the left slot on Helu’s 4-yard run to the left in overtime.

• The Redskins scored touchdowns on all three of their red zone possessions, their best performance of the season. The improvement resulted from good play-calling and better execution.

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