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Posted at 09:35 PM ET, 09/26/2011

Redskins-Cowboys: Dallas escapes with 18-16 win

Final: Cowboys 18, Redskins 16

Dallas kicker Dan Bailey hit a 40-yard field goal with 1:52 remaining Monday night, giving the Cowboys an 18-16 win and handing the Redskins their first loss of the season.

A final push for the Redskins offense in the closing moments of the game came up short, as Rex Grossman fumbled away the team’s last opportunity. The Redskins carried their 2-1 record back to Washington and will face the St. Louis Rams next Sunday.

The Cowboys had a good chance to take the lead midway through the final quarter. They drove 76 yards downfield and reached the Redskins’ 2-yard line. The drive was aided by some Washington missteps, including a holding penalty on Oshiomogho Atogwe that negated a Rob Jackson sack that forced a fumble. Instead of third and long, the Cowboys instead had first and goal. But Dallas was unable to find the end zone and had to settle for a 23-yard field from Dan Bailey, which cut the Washington lead to 16-15.

The Redskins got the ball back with 6:53 to play. The Washington offense showed some signs of life but their drive stalled after DaMarcus Ware sacked Rex Grossman for an eight-yard loss. Two plays later, the Redskins were punting.

Dallas began its next drive on the 14-yard line and had less than four minutes and a lot of field ahead of them. A bad snap resulted in an 11-yard loss -- Ryan Kerrigan was credited with the sack -- eventually putting Dallas in a third-and-21 situation.

The Redskins sent both safeties on a third-down blitz and DeAngelo Hall was left all alone with Dez Bryant, who hauled in a 30-yard completion. Hall was flagged for a facemask penalty, which tacked on 15 yards and put the Cowboys in field goal range.

While the Cowboys failed to move the chains, Bailey had no problem hitting his sixth field goal of the day, giving Dallas the 18-16 lead.

Grossman and his offense had 1:40 to move 80 yards down the field. The team inched its way near midfield but would get no further. Grossman was sacked by Anthony Spencer and fumbled away the ball. The Cowboys recovered and secured the win.

Third Quarter: Redskins 16, Cowboys 12

After stopping the Cowboys on the opening possession of the second half – nickel back Kevin Barnes came up with his second career interception on a pass Tony Romo simply threw up for grabs on third down – the Redskins finally managed to end the battle of field goals.

Taking over at his own 24, quarterback Rex Grossman found Santana Moss on a crossing route that gained 36 yards – in part because of a good downfield block by wideout Jabar Gaffney. Grossman then hit tight end Chris Cooley for 12 yards, and found running back Tim Hightower on a key third down pass. Hightower then ran twice to get a first and goal at the 1, and Grossman found Hightower on an easy scoring pass for a 16-9 lead.

The Cowboys immediately came back, though. Running back Felix Jones opened their drive with a 29-yard run that brought the ball almost to midfield. Meanwhile, Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo left the game – and eventually went to the locker room – with a leg injury. Athletic training staff members appeared to be treating Orakpo as if he had cramps on the sideline.

After a 23-yard completion from Romo to tight end Jason Witten gave the Cowboys a first down at the Washington 23, the Redskins; defense stiffened again. On third and 7, it forced an incompletion, and the Cowboys were left with Dan Bailey’s fourth field goal of the night, a 41-yarder that made it 16-12. That left the Cowboys two of nine on third downs, and the Redskins headed to the fourth quarter with both the lead and the ball.

Second Quarter: Redskins 9, Cowboys 9

Rex Grossman’s first pass of the quarter was his worst of the night to this point – an underthrown ball on first down that Dallas linebacker Sean Lee easily intercepted, returning it to the Washington 18. The Redskins defense, though, bailed out Grossman to a degree, stopping fullback Tony Fiammetta on third and 1 from the 9 – with London Fletcher and Brian Orakpo combining on the play. Dan Bailey’s second field goal of the night, this one from 27 yards, tied the score at 6-6.

The Redskins then went three and out, but it gave the defense a chance to remind Washington fans what they had been missing the first two weeks: LaRon Landry. On a third-down play from its own 15, Dallas attempted a pass to wideout Laurent Robinson. From his deep safety position, Landry read the play and leveled Robinson at the sideline, forcing an incompletion and a punt.

But the Redskins botched what looked to be a good drive – they had a first down at the Dallas 23 – when punter Sav Rocca, serving as the holder on a 36-yard field goal attempt, muffed the snap. That messed up the timing of kicker Graham Gano, and the attempt was blocked by Dallas’s Gerald Sensabaugh.

The Cowboys turned that into three points of their own, getting a 32-yard field goal from Bailey with 2:25 left in the half that gave Dallas its first lead at 9-6. The Redskins’ defense, though, forced that field goal with a stop of Tashard Choice on third and 6 – making the Cowboys 0 for 5 on third-down conversions in the first half.

The Redskins tied the game at the half, though, with a crisp 10-play drive in the two-minute drill that ended with Gano’s 50-yard field goal – the longest of his career. Grossman made a nice throw to Santana Moss on third and 8 to pick up a key first down during that possession.

First Quarter: Redskins 6, Cowboys 3

The Washington Redskins hold a 6-3 lead as they enter the second quarter.

After winning the toss, Washington moved the ball to the Dallas 25 yard line in seven plays but saw their drive stall and had to settle for a 46-yard Graham Gano field goal that gave them a 3-0 lead.

On that drive, Washington used tight end Chris Cooley as a fullback. First-string starter Darrel Young was out with a strained hamstring.

Cooley, who played H-back and tight end as a rookie, got the nod over Mike Sellers. Cooley also got his first career carry, taking a third-and-1 handoff and barreling three yards up the middle for a first down. Cooley then came back with a 17-yard reception on the next play. (That catch marked the 423rd of Cooley’s career and gave him sole possession of 19th on the NFL’s all-time receptions list for tight ends).

From there, Rex Grossman threw an incompletion, and then a shovel pass to Santana Moss that was stopped for a three-yard loss, and then another incompletion, bringing on the field goal unit.

The Cowboys came back with a field goal of their own on a drive that was aided by two Redskins errors.

On third-and-9 from the Dallas 35, Tony Romo went for Jason Witten, but Kevin Barnes was flagged for an obvious pass interference call.

On the next play, the Redskins left running back Felix Jones wide open, and Romo completed a pass to him for a 27-yard catch-and-run. But following a short gain, Romo threw back-to-back incompletions. Dan Bailey made a 41-yard field goal to tie the game.

The Redskins had to punt on the next play, but quickly got the ball back thanks to a play by strong safety LaRon Landry, who made his season debut.

On second-and-14 from the Dallas 22, Romo completed a short pass to receiver Kevin Ogletree, but Landry knocked the ball out from behind, and Josh Wilson recovered it at the 10 yard line. Kevin Barnes batted the ball along the side line, and originally, officials thought he was out of bounds, which would have given Dallas the ball. But Washington challenged the ruling and won.

The Redskins failed in their first red zone possession of the game, however. Tim Hightower had a one-yard gain and then a run for no gain, and Grossman threw an incompletion to Hightower. Gano came on to boot a 27-yard field goal, giving Washington a 6-3 edge with 21 seconds left in the quarter.

Time of possession for the first quarter: Washington: 8:36; Dallas: 6:03.

By and  |  09:35 PM ET, 09/26/2011

 
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