- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 15, 2019

LANDOVER — As running back Ezekiel Elliott celebrated his game-sealing touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Redskins’ 31-21 loss, two 20-somethings in the 100-level of FedEx Field proudly displayed their banner for those who made their way to the exit. They cheered, decked in their Elliott and Dez Bryant jerseys.

“You’re in Cowboys Country,” the banner read.

For large portions of Sunday’s game, it sure felt like it.

Despite the Redskins being at home, Washington’s home opener featured a sea of Cowboys faithful — as has been customary lately when the two teams meet at FedEx.

The Redskins reported a paid attendance of 75,128 on Sunday, and based on the noticeable number of Cowboys jerseys in the crowd, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to suggest the rooting interest of fans was evenly split.

The Redskins even heard chants of “DE-FENSE” at one point — even though they were on offense.

“You notice it, but at the end of the day, we’re here to play a game and get a W,” Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said. “We love our fans, the ones who support us, but it’s about us.”

Last season, Redskins players complained about the atmosphere at FedEx Field. Players like cornerback Josh Norman and former safety D.J. Swearinger bashed fans for booing and spoke out about how many opposing fans fill the stands on game days.

The criticism didn’t seem to help. Washington saw its attendance drop 19% as it finished its third straight season without a playoff appearance. In Week 17, FedEx Field saw an invasion of Eagles’ fans — whose green and black jerseys filled seats. The Eagles were in a must-win game for a playoff appearance, while the Redskins had nothing to play for.

This year’s home opener wasn’t as lopsided, but there were plenty of moments when Dallas’ fans made themselves heard.

Any time Elliott rushed for a first down, fans in the stands would intimate the 24-year-old’s signature “feed me” celebration. When Amari Cooper hauled in a pass from quarterback Dak Prescott, chants of “Cooooooo” filled the stadium.

Washington fans could be heard when Peterson bulldozed his way into the end zone in the second quarter, with the crowd chanting “AP, AP, AP!”

Peterson dismissed the noise from Dallas fans.

“We can’t let a traveling group of Cowboys fans — which travels well — discourage us in any type of way,” Peterson said.

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