- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 22, 2009

ARLINGTON, Texas | Down six points with seven minutes remaining and his team still unable to reach the end zone Sunday, Tony Romo said he took the mentality of Tiger Woods, an occasional golfing partner.

“He says you can play great, horrible or whatever for 17 holes and you could have bogeyed the last six holes,” Romo said. “But if you can get yourself mentally to the point where it doesn’t matter and you execute right now, you can deal with the other stuff later.”

When it counted most, Romo and the Dallas Cowboys’ offense were Tiger-like, operating with poise under pressure. The Washington Redskins, meanwhile, were like so many pro golfers who are great for 71 holes only to falter.

Using the golf metaphor is perhaps the best way to describe the Redskins’ seventh loss in 10 games, a 7-6 setback to the Cowboys. They certainly have a case of the yips.

They’re good enough to compete with first-place teams, but they aren’t good enough to beat them in consecutive weeks.

Q: When Shaun Suisham missed his 50-yard field goal and Dallas took over with 7:06 remaining, it was a given the Cowboys would win, right?

A: At the very least they were going to make it interesting by quickly driving down the field and kicking a field goal to make it 6-3. The Redskins tried to take away the deep stuff, and that allowed Romo to chip away with short completions before the winning 10-yard pass to Patrick Crayton.

Q: Before Dallas’ winning touchdown, did the Redskins leave a lot of points on the field?

A: At least six points because Suisham missed his first two field goals of the year. But the Redskins, while converting on third down, got to the red zone only once.

The Redskins’ average starting position was their own 26, so that meant some long trips. They had six drives of at least 33 yards and managed only two field goals.

Q: How did the Redskins’ defense compensate for not having Albert Haynesworth?

A: In the first half, Greg Blache deployed a four-linebacker, four-defensive lineman formation, obviously in an effort to stop the Cowboys’ power running game. Where Big No. 92 was missed most was absorbing double teams and letting other players like Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo get to the quarterback. Carter and Orakpo combined for no sacks and one quarterback hit.

Q: Carlos Rogers was a missing man on defense. How long will this continue?

A: There is obviously something going on behind the scenes because the Redskins used Justin Tryon as the nickel back instead of Rogers.

Whether it’s him not taking to the coaching or not practicing well, this situation isn’t going away.

Fred Smoot was serviceable in his second straight week of extended action, making four tackles.

Q: The Redskins were in position to lead 10-0 or 6-0 late in the first half, but Jim Zorn opted for a field goal that Suisham missed. Is a first- or second-guess in order?

A: Both. With 15 seconds on the clock, the Redskins had no timeouts, but the players wanted to take a shot at the end zone, and Campbell should have been given the order of “if there’s nothing available, throw it into one of the sideline luxury boxes.” The Redskins had nothing to lose by taking a shot (or two shots). Zorn should have dialed one pass play up before using Suisham.

Q: With Ladell Betts likely out for at least a week because of a knee injury, who’s up next?

A: Rock Cartwright has waited nearly a decade for this opportunity, and he got it against Dallas and will get it against Philadelphia. The problem it leaves is that Cartwright plays all four special teams, so the Redskins will have to adjust his role - Devin Thomas returned kicks in the second half.

Q: The losses to Detroit and Kansas City were bad. Where does the Dallas setback rank?

A: It should rank near the top because the Cowboys lead the NFC East and for three-plus quarters their offense was held in the check by the Redskins. The Redskins still can’t win on the road (0-5) and still can’t beat a division team (0-3 during their first tour through). Until they can accomplish those two things, it will mean more losses down the stretch.


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