Best and worst moments from Washington’s 24-23 loss to the Cowboys at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon.
Worst Season: If you wanted to add “blow a two-possession fourth-quarter lead at FedEx Field against Tony Romo and the Cowboys in London Fletcher’s home finale” to the ledger, well, go right ahead.
Worst Job Pressuring a Gimpy Quarterback: I dunno. I don’t call plays. Just seemed like Tony Romo had an awful lot of time to make the game-winning throw to DeMarco Murray.
Worst Job Covering a Dangerous Running Back: I get that there are lots of weapons on the Dallas offense. But it also appeared that Murray had a fairly comfortable cushion before grabbing the dagger of all daggers.
Worst Final Drive: Lots of moments of promise for Kirk Cousins. The final drive wasn’t one of them. The game ended on three incompletions, none of which seemed anywhere close to being complete. Cousins’s final pass was caught by Fred Davis, although Davis was out of bounds. Also, Davis hadn’t been on the field to start the play. “That last drive was just pathetic,” Comcast SportsNet’s Brian Mitchell said after the game.
Worst Timeout Preservation: The Redskins, as always. Last week, they had three timeouts in the second half when they needed them. This time, they did not. In fact, they used their second timeout with the clock stopped just before the two-minute warning.
Worst Bomb: Not sure what happened to Josh Wilson on the 51-yard bomb to Terrance Williams. It appeared the Field Monster got him, though. The Field Monster was everywhere on this day. Speaking of which.
Worst Field: If the FedEx Field playing surface was a flavor, it would be licorice. If it was a band, it would be Nickelback. If it was a public transportation feature, it would be a Metro escalator. If it was a television, it would be a 9-inch black-and-white tube. With no power cord. If it was a television show, it would be The View. If it was a bagel, it would be blueberry flavored. If it was a slogan, it would be “the DMV.” If it was a football team, it’d be….nah, that’s a cheap shot.
Worst Tackle: DeAngelo Hall had several highlights on Sunday, and he’s been one of Washington’s best players this season. But his attempted tackle of Dez Bryant during Dallas’s final drive was….ineffective? I think that’s the word. It looked like Hall was attempting to clap his hands over a pesky gnat or mosquito as Bryant ran around him and headed inside the 5. Bryant is a bit more imposing than a gnat, however.
Best Job Turning Two Turnovers Into Two Touchdowns: The Redskins. I especially liked how, after Dallas’s second turnover of the second half, the Redskins went Alfred Morris, pass, pass, Alfred Morris, Alfred Morris, Alfred Morris, Alfred Morris. (That last Alfred Morris was an Alfred Morris into the end zone.)
Worst Decision: The Redskins were stopped on a third down late in the third quarter. Approximately 40 minutes after the play ended, J.J. Wilcox flew in from the top turnbuckle and landed on top of Moss, giving Washington 15 yards and a first down. If the Cowboys are an NFL playoff team, Johnny Rockets has more Michelin stars than I can count. Anyhow, Wilcox’s penalty led to a long Kai Forbath field goal and a two-possession lead.
Best Crowd: The previous home game led to the empty snowy wasteland against the Chiefs. There was rain on Sunday, and it’s almost Christmas, and the Redskins were playing for nothing, and there were plenty of Dallas fans at the stadium, but it still got very loud when it needed to be loud. Fans didn’t quit on this team, no matter what media folks (including me, possibly) may have suggested.
Best Punt: No, really, a best punt award. For the Redskins. On a weird, shanked-looking kick that initially seemed like a disaster. But somehow, Sav Rocca’s last kick of the day traveled 46 yards, pinning Dallas at its own 10, with the Cowboys needing a touchdown to win. They got that touchdown, but it wasn’t Rocca’s fault.
Best Tackle: Since I got on Josh Wilson for getting run over by Steven Jackson last week in Atlanta, I kind of have to praise him for his fourth-quarter tackle on Terrance Williams. The receiver looked like he was headed for a first down before Wilson slammed him backwards. That set up a 4th-and-1, which then became a 4th-and-6 after a false start. The Cowboys converted, but still.
Worst Special Teams Miscue: EVERY WEEK THERE’S ONE OF THESE EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Jeez. Fix it or something. Anyhow, last time these teams played, Dwayne Harris recorded 222 total return yards, including a punt return for a score and a kickoff return that set up another. He was injured this week. So the Cowboys signed Micheal Spurlock off the street and he returned his first punt 62 yards to set up a Dallas touchdown.
Worst Opening Series: I feel like I’ve typed those words 11 or 12 times this season. I should make a macro or something. Ctrl-Shift-Q: Worst Opening Series. Ctrl-Shift-R: Worst Special Teams Miscue. Ctrl-Shift-Y: Worst example of radio beat reporter insisting that the coaching is fine and it’s just the execution. Ctrl-Shift-W: Worst Field Conditions. Ctrl-Shift-Z: Worst Anonymously Sourced Sunday Morning National Report. Anyhow, this time the Redskins got the ball first, and went dropped pass, run for loss, false start, one-yard gain, punt. Next time they should just receive the ball first and punt right away. As long as they punt out of bounds.
Best Defensive Play: The Cowboys came out of halftime with an eight-point lead and the ball. Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson fixed the latter problem, dislodging the ball from fullback Tyler Clutts and then recovering it himself.
Worst Celebration: Wilson’s subsequent celebration included the removal of his helmet and the flinging of the football. That earned him a delay-of-game penalty. The Redskins still went on to score a touchdown.
Worst Effort to Prevent a Touchdown: Everyone who gently brushed up against DeMarco Murray as he ran three yards into the end zone to get Dallas on the board.
Worst Interceptions: I like Kirk Cousins very much, but this is becoming a trend. In his first significant action last season, he threw two picks against Atlanta. In his first start, he threw one against Cleveland. In mop-up duty in Denver this year, he threw two more, and in his first start in Atlanta, another two. Sunday brought his first home start, and he threw another interception with Washington in scoring position.
Worst Other Interception: (Can’t really mention interceptions in this space without mentioning DeAngelo Hall picking off Tony Romo on just a brutal pass in the third quarter. Being a Cowboys fan isn’t an easy business, either.)
Best Catch: Early in the second quarter, that darn Field Monster tackled Pierre Garcon before the ball reached him. Using his fingertips, while virtually prone on the grass, Garcon caught the ball anyhow.
Best Player: When the commemorative coffee table book about this is written, and then immediately sent to the remainder bin at the Dollar Store, Pierre Garcon will be rewarded with the most glossy photographs. After catching 7 balls for 129 yards last week in Kirk Cousins’s first start, Garcon went for a season-high 11 catches for 144 yards against the Cowboys. He’s now had at least five catches in every game this season; Sunday, he reached that mark early in the second quarter.
Best Milestone: Needless to say, Garcon set a single-season Redskins receiving record with his 11th catch of the day and 107th of the season, going past Hall of Famer Art Monk who had 106 in 1984.
Worst Supporting Cast: On this day, anyhow, there weren’t any other receiving weapons. Garcon, as mentioned, had 11 catches for 144 yards. Everyone else on the Redskins caught 10 passes for 53 yards.
Worst Job Ramming it in: Washington had a 3rd-and-goal at the 2-yard line in the first half. A false start and an illegal shift instead made it 3rd-and-goal from the 12. Then the Redskins wound up taking a timeout for good measure. They wound up with a field goal.
Worst Assistance: After Kirk Cousins took a hard hit from Dallas safety Jeff Heath, he put out his arm, asking for a bit of assistance to get back on his feet. Heath turned and walked away. Look at Cousins’s sad, disappointed, no-longer-innocent puppy eyes. The world is a mean place, sir. I hate that you had to discover this.
Best Deke: Ok, we’re not usually in the business of praising the bad guys in this space, but Tony Romo deked E.J. Biggers to the ground late in the first half and then threw a touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. The field was messy, yes, but it was Romo’s fancy footwork that made Biggers fall down.
Worst Agony: The Redskins are on pace to have their worst point-differential since the early 1960s. Can’t do anything about that. But the last two weeks, the Redskins have lost by a combined two points, on games decided inside the final minute. Sure, they’re a bad team, and bad teams find ways to lose, but that’s a pretty tough eight-day span.