- The Washington Times - Monday, November 23, 2009


What happened: Felix Jones started with a 32-yard return for Dallas. London Fletcher almost intercepted a pass on third down, and Dallas punted. The Redskins followed with their own three-and-out. Dallas marched down the short field on five straight carries. On the sixth, Marion Barber fumbled and the Redskins recovered, though Tony Romo and DeAngelo Hall were injured on the play. On a pass protection breakdown, Jason Campbell broke free to hit Devin Thomas for a 26-yard gain. Ladell Betts, meanwhile, limped off the field, and the drive ended shortly after Stephon Heyer’s second false start penalty. Despite another dropped pick, Redskins forced Dallas to punt again.

Analysis: The Cowboys made it clear that the Redskins missed Albert Haynesworth. Dallas went after Washington on the ground, running it 12 times for 61 yards in the first quarter against only five pass attempts. But thanks to a trademark Barber fumble and tight pass coverage, Dallas couldn’t get on the board. Had Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh been able to hold on to interceptions, the Redskins might have been able to shake up the zeros on the scoreboard. Instead they faced going three more quarters with their third-string running back, Rock Cartwright, with Betts out for the rest of the game.


5.1 Yards a carry for Dallas in the first quarter on 12 carries. With the Redskins missing Albert Haynesworth, the Cowboys attacked on the ground.


What happened: A deep sack snuffed the first drive, but Shaun Suisham kicked a 45-yard field goal to put Washington on the board. The Cowboys’ drive ended after two Romo incompletions, and Washington answered with a few of its own before punting again. Then the Cowboys started their longest drive of the game, featuring heavy doses of Barber and Jones. But Nick Folk’s 46-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right, giving Washington the ball on its own 36. A Fred Davis catch for 17 yards got the Redskins over the 50, and two more short passes got them in field goal range. But a bizarre set of circumstances — involving an overturned out-of-bounds call and the reversal of a delay of game penalty — ultimately led to Suisham’s first missed first kick of the season.

Analysis: The more than five-minute delay at the end of the half will get a lot attention and rightfully so. But there were other items worth noting from this quarter. For one, the Redskins’ defense still managed to get a pass rush and make plays without Haynesworth. LaRon Landry, who too often seems a step late to the play, had perhaps his best half of the season, breaking up at least three pass plays with big hits or tight coverage. And when Cartwright came in for Betts, it didn’t slow the Redskins’ offense at all — he earned both the difficult yards and hauled in three passes for 24 yards.


3 Games in which the Redskins have scored first this season: Week 2 against St. Louis, Week 5 against Carolina and then Sunday at Dallas.


What happened: The Redskins started with great field position after a Devin Thomas 38-yard kickoff return to the Washington 44, but they gained only one first down and were forced to punt. That started a trend; Dallas had two short drives and the Redskins had one, all leading to punts, before Washington took over at its 40. On third down Campbell hit Malcolm Kelly for a 36-yard gain. The drive then stalled, and Suisham hit his second field goal of the game to give Washington a 6-0 lead. Dallas started the next drive in a hole because of an illegal shift penalty.

Analysis: A largely uneventful quarter, especially considering the way the last one ended. Washington lost another player when guard Chad Rinehart was carted off and replaced at right guard by undrafted rookie Edwin Williams. And the defense continued to do its job even without Haynesworth. Washington had to be disappointed with its second drive, which ended too soon after two questionable play calls.


11 Pass completions on 11 attempts for Jason Campbell on third down through the third quarter.


What happened: Dallas failed to convert on third-and-1 in Washington territory and decided to go for it on fourth down. But London Fletcher intercepted Romo’s pass to Miles Austin, and Washington took over at its 35. That started an eight-play drive that stalled on third-and-2 when Campbell got hit behind the line of scrimmage. The Redskins sent Suisham out to attempt a 50-yard field, and it had the distance but sailed wide right. Dallas took the short field and ran nine consecutive pass plays, including the 10-yard scoring strike to Patrick Crayton - his only catch of the game. With the Redskins down for the first time all day, Campbell threw an interception on the fourth play of the next drive and after another Dallas punt threw a long incompletion to end the game.

Analysis: So reliable for the first half of the season, Suisham let his team down at the wrong time - on the road, with a win in hand. Had he hit the fourth attempt, the Redskins would have had a two-score lead despite the offense’s inability to score a touchdown. Instead, the Redskins were left in a situation where one touchdown would flip the scoreboard - which happened when Washington’s defense finally broke. Romo recovered from a rough start to have an impressive quarter. He went 7-for-8 on the final drive (including the touchdown toss) and scrambled for 5 more yards. And Washington left Dallas with a deflating loss against its biggest division rival.


13 Carries for Rock Cartwright against the Cowboys. The last time he had that many was the 2003 season.

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