- The Washington Times - Monday, December 11, 2000


IRVING, Texas All but the last handful of Dan Snyder's infamous $100 million flushed down the toilet yesterday, with the lever tugged earthward by the same turnovers, special team gaffes and uninspired play that got coach Norv Turner fired six days earlier.
The overpaid and underachieving Washington Redskins became all but mathematically ineligible for the playoffs in the debut of interim coach Terry Robiskie, dropping a frustration- and retaliation-filled 32-13 decision to the hated Dallas Cowboys before 63,467 at Texas Stadium.
"I thought we had a pretty good week of work, and coming into the game I really thought we'd compete harder," Robiskie said. "We did some things that were high schoolish, and that was disappointing… . We lost our composure. That's the bottom line. We scrambled."
Said quarterback Jeff George: "We were prepared well. Mentally, I thought it was the best week we had all year. The energy level was so high, I didn't expect to play flat like that. We did. We were flat and they put it to us."
Washington (7-7) retains dim hopes of rallying for a playoff bid, thanks to yesterday's loss by Detroit (8-6). The Redskins are out next week if they lose in Pittsburgh, or if the Lions or New Orleans (9-5) defeat the New York Jets and Atlanta, respectively.
And with Washington having lost three straight and five of its past six plus seven in a row to Dallas (5-9), a record in the celebrated rivalry there's little reason to expect a surge. Robiskie's key talent of motivation has yet to work on this group.
"People put too much into the coach motivating guys," offensive tackle Jon Jansen said. "We're big boys. Guys, they've got to get themselves motivated… . We didn't do it, and it's not the coach's fault; it's not Mr. Snyder's fault. It's the guys that dressed today."
Robiskie didn't have much job security anyway not with Snyder's itchy finger on the trap door and newly hired Pepper Rodgers assembling a list of high-profile candidates but his shot at keeping his first head coaching job already may be gone. For what it's worth, the coach shouldered the weight of his first loss.
"I'm the head coach. It's my responsibility," Robiskie said. "During the course of the week, we talked about the focus, we talked about being ready to compete, we talked about fighting a war. I don't think we did that."
A huge day by Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith (150 yards) and another puny day by the Redskins offense (116 yards in the first three quarters) made the absence of Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman a non-factor Aikman's Hall of Fame career probably ended late in the first quarter when rookie LaVar Arrington served up his fourth concussion in the past two seasons, ninth of his NFL career and 11th overall.
The Redskins also suffered a potential career-ending injury when left guard Keith Sims tore his chronically sore Achilles' tendon on the game's third play. Sims, 33, will undergo surgery tomorrow.
Smith, also picking up a touchdown on his 23 carries, looked every bit the future Hall of Famer who has rushed for 15,000 yards and at least 1,000 in each of the past 10 seasons marks he set yesterday. Meanwhile, Redskins Pro Bowl back Stephen Davis gained just 57 yards against the NFL's worst run defense.
"I don't know if we got whipped up front or what happened," Robiskie said of the Redskins' inability to run the ball. "Our couple shots didn't get through."
George threw for 235 yards behind a third straight embarrassing effort by Washington's offensive line. George's weak performance demonstrated that Brad Johnson might not have been as bad as assumed following the Redskins' 9-7 loss to the New York Giants the previous week.
George's only touchdown pass yesterday came late in the fourth quarter, a 32-yarder to Irving Fryar. George (19-for-33) threw an interception on the two-point conversion, leaving Dallas ahead 29-13. The Redskins' onside kick then failed with 4:02 left.
A 20-yard field goal by Tim Seder extended Dallas' third-quarter lead to 22-7. Smith began the drive with runs of 13 and 25 yards, Michael Tucker picked up 12 on an end-around and James McKnight gained another 12 on a swing pass.
Davis fumbled just 2:40 into the second half, on the Redskins' first snap of the third quarter, placing the Cowboys at the Washington 22. Smith picked up 20 on the first play, a fake end-around, and the final two on a rush up the middle. His eighth touchdown of the season gave Dallas a 19-7 lead.
Washington trailed 12-7 at halftime after its two-minute drill ended with an interception by Ryan McNeil. Cornerback Champ Bailey, who got his first career reception earlier in the quarter, and Sanders were both wide receivers on the ragtag possession. George said he tried the bomb because so little time remained in the half.
The Redskins held a brief 7-6 lead before Cowboys reserve quarterback Anthony Wright guided a two-minute, 68-yard drive midway through the second quarter. Tucker drew a key pass interference penalty on Sanders for a 28-yard pickup, and Wane McGarity scored on a 22-yard end-around. Arrington, blocked early on McGarity's run, lost track of the ball and Washington's best shot at McGarity. Wright was sacked on the two-point try, leaving the Cowboys ahead 12-7.
Davis' 11th touchdown of the season and first in four games provided the Redskins' only first-half points. The 62-yard drive was sparked by Bailey's first NFL catch, just two plays after George's first completion and one after the Redskins' first first down not by penalty.
Davis, limited to 29 yards against the Giants and out the previous week against the Philadelphia Eagles, played with a small brace yesterday on his fractured right forearm.
Sanders was burned by McKnight for a 46-yard pickup on the second quarter's first play. Marco Coleman and Dan Wilkinson followed with sacks, though, before Seder doinked the right crossbar on a 47-yard attempt, leaving the Redskins down just 6-0.
Both of the Cowboys' first-quarter field goals were set up by Redskins three-and-outs and poor punt coverage. A 27-yard return by McGarity preceded a 19-yard field goal by Seder. A 33-yard return on the game's fourth play set up a 33-yard field goal.

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