- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 28, 2002

It's not a streak it's a dynasty that has nearly outlasted both rosters.
Running back Stephen Davis is the only Washington Redskins starter who has beaten the Dallas Cowboys. Conversely, only two Cowboys starters have ever lost to the Redskins.
What's more, the Redskins are 0-5 at Dallas on Thanksgiving.
So how come the franchise smug enough to call itself "America's Team," with an odd-shaped stadium roof for "God to watch his favorite team," is suddenly nervous over playing the visiting Redskins today? Why are the Cowboys staring nervously at the Redskins like two in-laws eyeing the last piece of pumpkin pie?
"It's a monumental task for us to win two in a row, let alone nine or 10 in a row," Cowboys coach Dave Campo said. "We are in no position to intimidate anybody. It doesn't matter how many times you win in a row. Sometimes that streak comes to an end."
Reserve guard Tre Johnson and cornerback Darrell Green are the only other Redskins who have ever tarnished the blue star with a loss. They remember that final game at RFK Stadium when the stands rocked during a 37-10 victory and the 21-16 Monday night win in 1997. Teammates say they've beaten the Cowboys when playing elsewhere, but it's not the same.
"A lot of times you have to be in a place for a while to understand the magnitude of a rivalry," quarterback Danny Wuerffel said. "But here, from the moment you get here it's the only thing everybody is talking about. Even us new guys want to get this one bad."
Campo told the Cowboys on Monday about the time defensive end Harvey Martin threw a funeral wreath into the Redskins' locker room after Dallas eliminated Washington from the playoffs. Indeed, this could be an elimination game for either team. Washington (5-6) must sweep its last five games and hope Philadelphia (8-3) wins only once more to take the NFC East title.
Dallas' nine straight over Washington is the longest current streak in the NFL. Cornerback Deion Sanders, who has played for both teams, said his Cowboys teammates felt they owned the Redskins. After signing with Washington in 2000, Sanders departed 0-2 against Dallas.
"There's definitely a confidence here because of winning nine in a row. I don't know how they wouldn't be confident after beating one team nine in a row," said Cowboys guard Ross Tucker, who was waived by the Redskins on Oct.22. "But, if you really think about it, those nine games won't really mean anything."
Playing on Thanksgiving is a cornucopia for players. Johnson said the nationally televised game is a good vehicle for coming free agents to showcase themselves leaguewide. Pro Bowl ballots are often influenced by performances on national games, too.
And legends are created on Thanksgiving. Dallas quarterback Clint Longley's pro career never amounted to much, but his 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson for a 24-23 victory in 1974 is still painfully remembered during many Washington holiday meals.
"This game is like both teams playing in a Super Bowl," receiver Rod Gardner said.
But it's going to be a low-scoring one. The Redskins are 26th overall offensively, the Cowboys 28th. Conversely, Dallas' defense is ninth, the Redskins 10th.
The Redskins regained their offensive rhythm in the 20-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. With 31 carries by Stephen Davis and an offensive line allowing no sacks for the first time this year, quarterback Danny Wuerffel emerged with his second-best game in six seasons while completing 16 of 23 for 235 yards. The Redskins will probably replicate the same game plan to offset Dallas' expected heavy blitz.
The Cowboys offer an equally balanced challenge. Running back Emmitt Smith has plagued plenty of teams, but the NFL's career leading rusher has scored 24 touchdowns and rushed for 2,283 yards in 22 games against Washington. While Smith may end his career Dec.29 at FedEx Field, he remains Washington's nemesis with two 100-yard games last year.
Washington must also beware rookie quarterback Chad Hutchinson, given that cornerbacks Fred Smoot (back) and Darrell Green (hip) are limited. Hutchinson led Dallas to a 21-19 victory over Jacksonville on Sunday by passing for 301 yards and two touchdowns. The former major league pitcher, whom the Redskins unsuccessfully sought over the offseason, didn't throw an interception in his first 95 passes.


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