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On the snap, the offensive line blocked to its left. That created a free path to the backfield for Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. But Dallas’ tight end and running back slid to their right and blocked them. The adjustment - the tight end in the backfield - allowed the Cowboys to pick up the blitz.

“Their protection bought them a little bit of time the way they slid the line to our right,” Fletcher said. “Then they took the tight end and back to the left to max protect the edges a little bit.”

Receiver Dez Bryant, meanwhile, expected from Romo a quick throw similar to earlier ones against the eight-man blitz, but Romo waved him downfield.

“It was a good job by Dez continuing to play on,” Romo said. “I could see kind of the angle he was taking, and I could see where the corner was. I gave him a little air and let him go run under it.”

Hall, Washington’s Pro Bowl cornerback, gave up the middle of the field. Bryant beat him inside, and Romo’s throw led him into open space for the catch.

“He ran a little ‘now’ route - I thought I had that pretty well covered,” Hall said. “And then he kind of just backyard-routed [me] and ran away from me.”

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan after the game stood by such an aggressive call on third and long.

“You can second-guess everything, but at the end of the day, [we] had a chance to have a sack there,” Shanahan said. “He did a good job scrambling, made a play. That’s the nature of this game. The first two times we blitzed, too, and got them in third-and-long. But, hey, it didn’t work.”