The Redskins (3-7), who forced overtime on a four-yard touchdown pass from Rex Grossman to Donte Stallworth with 14 seconds left, had their chances. They won the overtime toss and received the kickoff, and Grossman moved his unit into Cowboys territory, but the drive stalled at the Dallas 34-yard line.
Graham Gano’s 52-yard field goal attempt was wide right — his second miss of the game. (On the same play, right tackle Trent Williams went down with a knee injury and had to be helped off the field. He could miss significant time.) Dallas (6-4) took over and marched 37 yards to set up Dan Bailey for the game-winning 39-yard field goal.
“It stings more because as a player, you understand how much our owner wants to win this game,” said Grossman, who completed 25 of 38 passes for 289 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He rushed for a touchdown as well. “We understand how much the fans want to win this game. . . . I’m proud of every single player and teammate. Just came up a little short.”
Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney led the team in receiving with seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown, and Stallworth — used sparingly in four games this season, cut two weeks ago and then re-signed on Wednesday — added four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo connected on 23 of 37 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns. Romo’s biggest throw came on a third-and-15 pass to Dez Bryant, who was covered by DeAngelo Hall, for a 26-yard gain to the Washington 23-yard line with 7 minutes 48 seconds left in overtime. Two plays later, Bailey hit the field goal.
“He’s like a snake, man,” fumed Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo, who narrowly missed sacking Romo twice on key third-down plays. “You got to know when you’re rushing, he’s slippery, he’s all over the place. I can’t stand playing against this guy, because it don’t matter if you beat your guy. You got to worry about him. That’s the frustrating part.”
Early in the game, the Redskins made Romo’s job easier when tight end Fred Davis
fumbled three plays into his team’s first offensive series. Dallas’s Gerald Sensabaugh recovered the ball at the Washington 24, and Romo and his offense needed only three plays to score.
The quarterback completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Bryant, who was bracketed by Hall and safety Ohsiomogho Atogwe. Dallas took a 7-0 lead with 7:44 remaining in the first quarter.
After three more futile drives, Washington finally experienced a positive development when Shanahan won a second-quarter challenge to wipe out a Grossman fumble. Facing third and one from his 29-yard line, Grossman tried to pick up a first down on a no-huddle quarterback keeper. As he tried to squirt through the line, the ball came out. Dallas safety Barry Church scooped it up, broke a tackle by Gaffney and returned it to inside the Redskins 1-yard line. Shanahan, who already had lost a challenge on the Davis fumble, succeeded in getting the call overturned, and Washington survived to punt yet again.