- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2006

When it became apparent last week that top wideout Santana Moss wouldn’t be able to play against the Dallas Cowboys, Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El, James Thrash and Chris Cooley knew the deal: It was up to them to pick up the slack.

The Washington Redskins’ receiving corps did just that yesterday in a 22-19 victory over the Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Though none of those players caught more than three passes or gained more than 66 yards receiving, each made big plays as the Redskins broke a three-game losing streak.

“Those guys played great,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “James made big plays, Brandon made great plays and Randle El made plays on punt returns and fought all game long.”

Cooley made three catches for 66 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter that tied the score at 19-19.

Thrash caught three passes for 52 yards, including receptions of 27 and 17 yards on which he was immediately smacked by Cowboys safety Roy Williams. Thrash entered the game with four catches in the Redskins’ first seven games.

“I’ll probably get fired one day because of James — he’ll be 48 years old, and I’ll be saying, ‘He can still play for us this year,’ ” Gibbs said, joking.

Lloyd made two catches for 26 yards, drew a 48-yard pass interference penalty that led to Cooley’s touchdown and made a key block on Clinton Portis’ 38-yard touchdown run. He almost exclusively ran deep patterns in Moss’ absence.

“Brandon stepped up, and he wants us to go to him, and he feels like he can be a big-play guy for us,” Gibbs said.

Randle El, though he did not catch a pass for the first time this season, drew two penalties and averaged 16.7 yards on punt returns.

The Redskins also played without reserve receiver David Patten, who like Moss was nursing a hamstring injury.

“We knew when we had the right kind of coverage against us we could take advantage,” Lloyd said. “When they played one way, we could use the deep ball, and when they played cover 2, we could use Cooley.

“The difference for us is we executed a [heck of a] lot better, period.”

Impressed with Romo

In his second career start, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns. Romo also hurt the Redskins on third down — he was 8-for-9 for 140 yards in those situations as the Cowboys converted 10 of 16 third-down chances.

“I was impressed with him because we went after him. …” assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. “We wanted him to move around as much as possible, but to his credit he made some of the throws he needed to make.”

On several occasions, Romo showed why the Cowboys fancy him over the immobile Drew Bledsoe.

Romo was backpedaling left away from pressure and still had the arm strength to rifle a pass to Terry Glenn in the back of the end zone for the Cowboys’ first touchdown. And just before intermission, Romo ducked a sack, scrambled right and found Patrick Crayton, who was improvising his route, for a 27-yard gain that set up the half-closing Dallas field goal.

Rogers: T.O. flustered

Though Dallas receiver Terrell Owens caught seven passes for 76 yards and one touchdown, Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers said he was getting frustrated throughout the second half.

“Most of the time, he was cussing and getting mad,” Rogers said. “It was great knowing that we had taken him out of his game a little bit.

“I think he was frustrated by us jamming him so much. A couple times, he went to Tony [Romo] about not throwing him the ball. But we were putting pressure on Tony, and we were covering their other guys, so he had to hold on to the ball.”

Redemption

Redskins kicker and Maryland grad Nick Novak said the difference between his two last-minute kicks had everything to do with technique and nothing to do with pressure.

“I just didn’t follow through on the first kick, and that caused it to sail wide right,” said Novak, who missed from 49 yards with 35 seconds remaining but scored from 47 yards out with no time on the clock. “I followed through on the second kick, and it hooked in. I’m very confident in myself, so after I missed the first one I just went over to the sidelines knowing exactly what had happened, collected myself, refocused and prayed for another shot. I’m just so glad those prayers were answered.”

Safety first

Middle linebacker Lemar Marshall, declared inactive for the Oct. 22 game at Indianapolis because of a sprained ankle, made a dramatic return to action.

Redskins running back Clinton Portis failed to score on fourth-and-goal, giving the Cowboys possession at their own 1-yard line. However, on their first play, Marshall knifed through the left side of the Dallas line and tackled running back Julius Jones for a safety. It was the Redskins’ first safety since Jessie Armstead recorded one in Atlanta in Week 2 of 2003.

“I saw something,” Marshall said of his anticipation. “It was one of those things where you step up and make a play. It worked in my favor. I didn’t know if I was making the right play. It was a great start for me after getting back after two, three weeks. I was getting those jitters of how I was going to do.”

Flags flying

Dallas was penalized 11 times. The 153 yards in penalties were the third most in franchise history, just eight shy of the record 161 accumulated in a 45-21 victory at Washington on Nov. 22, 1970.

On the sidelines

The Redskins declared receivers Santana Moss and David Patten inactive for yesterday’s game, along with newly signed offensive lineman Taylor Whitley, defensive linemen Anthony Montgomery and Ryan Boschetti, safety Reed Doughty and cornerback Mike Rumph. As usual, Jason Campbell was the third quarterback.

The Redskins reported no injuries after the game.

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