- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2006

IRVING, Texas — A game-tying touchdown, momentum and redemption for an offense that had been stagnant all night was just 39 yards away.

But the Washington Redskins took a gift, courtesy of a Dallas Cowboys turnover, and quickly gave it away. On third-and-9 at the Dallas 21 late in the third quarter, Roy Williams intercepted a Mark Brunell pass intended for Chris Cooley at the 1-yard line. The Cowboys then marched 99 yards to a decisive touchdown in a 27-10 victory at Texas Stadium.

“If you’re going to try to find a turning point in the ballgame, that would be it,” Cowboys quarterback Drew Bledsoe said.

Trailing 17-10 and struggling to move the ball, the Redskins finally got the break they needed when safety Sean Taylor ripped the ball loose from Dallas running back Julius Jones and linebacker Marcus Washington recovered it at the Cowboys 39 with 4:21 left in the third period.

Suddenly, a short scoring drive could put the momentum squarely behind the Redskins. And when Ladell Betts burst off left tackle for 17 yards on the first snap, it seemed the Redskins were on the way to achieving that scenario.

“Yeah, we were concerned,” Bledsoe said. “If you don’t put a team away, there’s a possibility you’ll get beat. And the longer they hung around, the more likely that became [a possibility] and the more imperative it became for us to score and put them away.”

Two plays later, Brunell lofted a ball toward the left corner of the goal line for Cooley, who had slipped out of the backfield on a wheel route. But Dallas safety Roy Williams flashed across from the middle of the field and snagged the pass just before sliding out of bounds at the 1.

“I knew he was back there,”’ Brunell said of Williams. “I probably should have put a little more on the ball and gotten it out to Chris quicker. Or better yet, I shouldn’t have gone there in the first place, gone underneath instead. That was just foolish. I can’t make those mistakes.

“We had an opportunity to change that momentum and to get things going, and we didn’t. I let the guys down.”

The interception not only ended the Redskins’ threat, it sucked whatever life they had left out of them.

On the Cowboys’ next play, Washington cornerback Carlos Rogers was called for pass interference against Terrell Owens. Another penalty — a 15-yard face mask call on cornerback Kenny Wright — pushed Dallas out to its 34.

The Cowboys converted a third-and-10 on the final play of the third quarter when Bledsoe hit running back Marion Barber with a dump underneath the coverage. Barber ran to the right sideline and then turned upfield for a 26-yard gain.

One the next play, Bledsoe threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Terry Glenn, who was trailed by overmatched middle linebacker Lemar Marshall along the way to giving the Cowboys a 24-10 lead one play into the fourth quarter.

“Once we were up by a couple of scores, I knew we were in good shape,” Bledsoe said. “That was what we needed.”



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