- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2002

The Streak (1997-2002) R.I.P.
The officials nearly stole the game. The Redskins nearly gave it away. But the bad karma of the past five years somehow, someway, someday had to end. After 10 straight losses to the Cowboys, the Redskins finally won one yesterday despite turning the red zone into a twilight zone in which scoring chances simply vanished.
Nothing pleases Redskins fans more than beating the Cowgirls. Not even a tax cut would go over better around the office water cooler today. Yeah, it was another crummy season, but at least the locals won't have to listen to another long offseason of obnoxious Cryboy fans.


Q: Gee, if the Redskins only had made that late field goal against the Giants, if they only hadn't blown the first game against the Cowboys, and if they'd only played better against the Saints, wouldn't they have made the playoffs?
A: And if a frog only had wings You can play "what if" for the next seven months, but the Redskins were no better than a 7-9 team from the start.

Q: Maybe the Redskins will be playoff contenders next season.
A: Drank a few of those "Big Jack" beers you found in the cellar, huh? Oh, the Redskins could be wild-card contenders next year. After all, this is the NFL crazy is the norm.

Q: Was Darrell Green really crying before the game? How emotional was it during the retirement ceremony?
A: You'd have to be made of stone not to shed a tear for one of the greatest players in team history. Indeed, it might have been the most emotional moment in the seven-year history of FedEx Field. A classier move, though, would have been a $1million contribution by the team to the Youth Life Foundation instead of $150,000.

Q: What about Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith? Was this his last game, too?
A: It definitely was his last game as a Cowboy, but it's not implausible that another team will sign him if he is willing to accept a cheap deal. The first-ballot Hall of Famer clearly is not the great player he once was, but he still is better than some starters in the NFL.

Q: What was the deal with Cowboys defensive end Peppi Zellner trying to fight Redskins offensive tackle Chris Samuels after the game?
A: Talk about no-class moves. Zellner nearly kicked Samuels' helmet as he walked off the field and then started talking smack. Samuels considered pounding Zellner, but tight end Walter Rasby stepped in and started blowing kisses. The Redskins laughed and walked away. That's a perk of victory.

Q: Dallas coach Dave Campo had said that if the Redskins didn't win yesterday they would never, ever beat the Cowboys. Did he regret saying it?
A: Campo has a pink slip to read today, so it's doubtful he was worried about offending Redskins fans. The scoreboard delivered a witty payback in the final minutes. After showing Campo's quote, it flashed, "Yeah right, Dave." Gotta love it.

Q: So the rivalry still is alive? Did owner Dan Snyder finally get his game ball?
A: It cost $800 million and seven losses, but Snyder finally cradled that pigskin in the locker room but not before he baited Cowboys owner Jerry Jones about making Bill Parcells his new coach. Careful, Dan. If Parcells goes to Dallas, that means two more losses every year. Now that the Cowboys have lost, maybe the rivalry is indeed back.

Q: There were some amazing calls made yesterday, calls that cost the Redskins two touchdowns. Can you explain them?
A: The officials said the Redskins had 12 men on the field on the kickoff return on which they recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown. The officials said that the Redskins defense came off the sideline while play was in progress. Supposedly, cornerback Fred Smoot hit the official, which would have been his only hit of the day; he was torched by Cowboys receiver Antonio Bryant for 170 yards. At any rate, that made it a dead ball and no fumble. The fumble by running back Ladell Betts at the Dallas 1 rolled through the end zone and became the defense's ball. That's two weird calls, the likes of which you may never see again.

Q: What happened to Smoot? He didn't improve in his second year after a solid rookie season.
A: It was surprising because Smoot has plenty of talent. Playing opposite Champ Bailey isn't easy because the Pro Bowler can dominate, as he did yesterday, but Smoot has to do better.

Q: Why did the Redskins keep punter Craig Jarrett for the last game after his awful effort last week?
A: They figured his lousy performance against the Texans could have been a fluke, and with one game left it didn't make sense to bring in someone else. Instead, they played Jarrett again and he looked awful again. He won't be back next year.

Q: Quarterback Patrick Ramsey made some bad plays, but he still notched the win. Is he truly going to be the No.1 quarterback next season?
A: Absolutely, positively until coach Steve Spurrier changes his mind. OK, Ramsey is the starter next year. He has a great arm and plenty of smarts. He just needs experience. At least that's one problem solved.

Q: Bailey looked pretty good returning punts yesterday after a so-so season. Will he return punts next year?
A: Probably not. Bailey showed some of the elusiveness that makes it so tempting to use him as a returner, but the Redskins probably will sign a return specialist in the offseason.

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