ARLINGTON, Texas — A bum knee couldn’t prevent London Fletcher from continuing his games-played streak Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys.
The veteran Washington Redskins’ middle linebacker sprained his left ankle in Sunday’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The injury kept him from practicing Tuesday but he improved enough to only be limited Wednesday.
Still, Fletcher’s streak of 234 consecutive regular-season games appeared in jeopardy until he was declared active two hours before Thursday’s game at Cowboys Stadium.
“London is the ultimate pro,” linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. “It just shows you grit. If he’s going to go out there at 37 and play hurt when he doesn’t have to it makes you want to step up that much more and play even harder. That’s what you need out of your leaders.”
For much of the game, Fletcher looked like his old self. He delivered a pep talk to the team about 30 minutes before kickoff. Then on the Cowboys’ first series, Fletcher delivered a big hit to wide receiver Miles Austin coming across the middle on a dropped ball then popped Austin again in the back of the end zone to prevent a touchdown catch.
But late in the fourth quarter, Fletcher left and didn’t return after reinjuring the ankle. After the game, he maneuvered the ankle into a large plastic walking boot before speaking with the media.
“It was very hard,” Fletcher said of leaving the game. “I worked so hard and to not be in a position to finish the game …”
Fletcher’s streak almost ended last month against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of recurring balance problems and a hamstring injury, but he started and made six tackles.
Garcon gets start
Playing on Cowboys Stadium’s artificial turf left wide receiver Pierre Garcon’s status in doubt this week as he heals from a plantar plate tear in his right foot. Garcon was active, though, a week after catching three passes for 5 yards in his first game since Oct. 7.
Garcon started the game and needed one 6-yard catch in the first quarter to surpass his game-long total against the Eagles.
The seven Redskins inactives weren’t surprising: quarterback Rex Grossman, receiver Dezmon Briscoe, cornerback Richard Crawford, cornerback Jerome Murphy, guard Adam Gettis, lineman Maurice Hurt and defensive end Doug Worthington.
The Cowboys missed two key players Thursday, as nose tackle Jay Ratliff (groin) and running back DeMarco Murray (foot) were inactive.
Fixing a hole
The retractable roof on the $1.3 billion stadium opened before the game. By early in the second quarter, that let in drizzle from a steadily darkening sky. The decision to open the roof is made by the Cowboys 90 minutes before kickoff. If the roof is closed to the start the game, it can’t be opened. But if officials decide to close the roof in-game due to weather, it can’t be reopened, either.
The roof, incidentally, remained open and as time slipped away in the second quarter, sun streaked through the roof.
• Days after suffering a second-degree strain of his rotator cuff against the Eagles, Josh Wilson started at cornerback Thursday.
• Running back Alfred Morris scored in the second quarter, his first touchdown since Week 6.
• The game kicked off at 4:41 p.m. Eastern time. Originally, kickoff was scheduled for 4:15 p.m., then adjusted to 4:35 p.m. earlier this week, then delayed further because the Texans-Lions game went to overtime.
• As expected, DeJon Gomes started at safety in place of Brandon Meriweather, out for the season with a knee injury.
Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, attended the game.