- The Washington Times - Monday, October 27, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas — The storyline in Texas was supposed to be set. The Washington Redskins, a bumbling 2-5, were to be an easy pass for the 6-1 Dallas Cowboys on Monday night in front of a national audience.

The Redskins flipped that notion with a blitz-heavy performance bolstered by a precision evening from third-string quarterback Colt McCoy. Washington came to Dallas as an extreme underdog and left with a 20-17 overtime win behind McCoy’s 25-for-30 performance, producing a night and game that will hold a prominent place in the longtime rivalry between the Redskins and Cowboys.

Former Cowboy Jason Hatcher called the coin toss to start overtime. He was right, and the Redskins started from their 20-yard line with a chance to win without letting Romo on the field.

McCoy hit Pierre Garcon for 23 yards. Alfred Morris ran for eight. Third-and-3 at the 50-yard line produced a 5-yard completion to tight end Jordan Reed. A flip to Reed for 18 more yards followed.

Third-and-3 came again, this time at the Dallas 22-yard line. McCoy found Reed again, but he gained no yards. Kai Forbath’s 40-yard field-goal attempt was good and the Redskins led, 20-17.

Dallas‘ turn. From the 20-yard line, the Cowboys needed at least a field goal to to continue the game. Fourth-and-3 from the Dallas 27-yard line popped up quickly. Timeout, Dallas.

Romo was blitzed yet again. He pivoted out of trouble, then threw wide. Rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland was in position to knock it away and end the game.

The Redskins joyfully sprinted onto the field, triumphant in a game that was taut throughout.

Troubled all year by inability to force turnovers, the Redskins hung around in the first half because of Dallas fumbles. Two Cowboys running backs — DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle — fumbled in the first half. Murray’s was particularly damning. The ball was knocked from him by Breeland during a pileup after a big gain. Brandon Meriweather jumped on the ball at the Redskins‘ 10-yard line.

The counter to that was Washington’s inability to score when in Dallas territory. A bizarre penalty on Logan Paulsen trumped one drive. Paulsen entered the huddle, then left well before the snap and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. That cost the Redskins 15 yards, turning second-and-5 at the Cowboys‘ 33-yard line into second-and-20. Following a short completion, McCoy was sacked, pushing the Redskins out of field-goal range.

McCoy had a turnover problem in the first half, continuing a harrowing trend for Redskins quarterbacks. Instead of throwing toward open receivers underneath the play, McCoy threw into double-coverage in the end zone. He was intercepted for the 21st time in his career, his only blip of the evening.

A 44-yard field goal by Forbath was the only Redskins scoring in the first half. They trailed, 7-3, at the half.

The season had been a quiet one for Morris. He made noise to start the second half. Morris gained 29 yards and finished a drive with a 5-yard touchdown to give the Redskins a 10-7 lead. The touchdown seemed to confirm the Redskins had come to Dallas for a fight.

The score gave the Redskins 27 points on the first possession of second half, which is tied with Miami for the most in the league.

McCoy then scored on a 7-yard draw to vault the Redskins ahead 17-10 at the start of the fourth quarter. His celebration was less effective than the score, as Reed knocked McCoy to the ground on an attempted chest bump, but the points stood just the same.

The lead didn’t last. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten leaked out and was wide open for a 25-yard touchdown to tie the game 17 with 9:36 remaining. The touchdown for Witten was not a surprise, he has 54 in his career. That Brandon Weeden threw it was unlikely.

Romo was temporarily knocked out of the game after being sacked by linebacker Keenan Robinson with 7:50 to go in the third quarter. Romo was flat on his back for several minutes before walking slowly off the field. The Cowboys were cryptic about his status, announcing “Romo being evaluated in the locker room, his status is unknown.” He returned to the sideline with about four minutes remaining in the game.

While Romo warmed up, the Redskins were faced with a crucial decision. Reed was stopped a yard short of a first down with 3:46 left in the game. The Redskins called timeout to discuss the fourth-and-1 play call from the Dallas 49-yard line.

They went to a reliable play: play-action pass to fullback Darrel Young. First down.

Into field-goal range, the Redskins went backward. They were called for delay of game on third-and-5 from the Dallas 32-yard line. Backed up five yards, McCoy was sacked on third-and-10, pushing the Redskins out of range at the 41-yard line.

Tress Way’s punt forced the Cowboys to start at their own 3-yard line. Romo came back onto the field with 1:52 to put Dallas in position to win the game.

The Redskins thought they ended that chance when Meriweather came untouched at Romo. He knocked Romo down and the ball out. Ryan Kerrigan, who picked up another sack earlier in the game, fell on the loose ball only to have it squirt out his right side.

A play later, the Redskins had another chance. Romo’s risky pass hit Breeland in the hands as he moved across the field, but he was not able to hang on. Breeland repeatedly slammed his hand on the ground in frustration.

The Redskins held, though, forcing a Dallas punt with 16 seconds remaining. McCoy took a knee to push the game into overtime.

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