- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2006

The red zone

Washington’s offense, which sputtered inside the Minnesota 20 last Monday, didn’t even get there until the final seconds. Washington’s defense, which allowed a touchdown on one of two red zone series Monday, gave up two such scores last night. However, Mike Rumph deftly knocked a touchdown away from Terrell Owens in the end zone, and it took Marion Barber three tries to punch it over from the 1.

Third downs

Dallas converted four of its first five third downs, but the Washington defense righted itself after the first quarter. That’s more than the offense can say. The only third down the Redskins converted in 10 tries in the first three quarters was a meaningless run just before halftime. Mark Brunell consistently missed his receivers. His wobbly third-down throw for Chris Cooley, which was intercepted by Roy Williams at the 1-yard line, killed the offense’s best chance at a touchdown.

Establish the run

Washington’s failure on third downs negated a good night by the running game, which could have gone a long way toward keeping the potent Dallas offense on the sideline. The Redskins had the ball for 6:24 less than the Cowboys through three quarters despite having run for 98 yards on 20 carries. And those 98 yards came with star running back Clinton Portis in street clothes with an injured shoulder.

David Elfin

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