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Best and Worst

Tuesday, September 28, 2004; Page D07

Best Anticipation: Both teams circled this game as soon as the league released the schedule. Cowboys-Redskins is one of professional sports' most heated rivalries but has been one-sided of late. But the anticipation among the Redskins faithful became disgust after Washington lost to its arch rival for the 13th time in 14 games.

Best Moments: Ken Houston stopping Walt Garrison at the goal line. Darrell Green chasing down Tony Dorsett from behind. Roger Staubach rallying the Cowboys for his final victory in the NFL. Greg Ellis dragging Jeff George along the Texas Stadium turf. It's football at its most entertaining.

___Cowboys 21, Redskins 18 ___
Bill Parcells, pictured, and the Cowboys best the Redskins, 21-18.
The highly anticipated rivalry game is decided on the last play.
Thomas Boswell: Joe Gibbs returned for big games like this one.
Michael Wilbon: Quarterback play is once again a problem.
Wide receiver Laveranues Coles struggles as offense sputters.
Cowboys cornerback Jacques Reeves barely gets passing grade.
Notebook: Backups played a prominent role on defense.
Best & Worst

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_____ Audio _____
Joe Gibbs is disappointed with the start but knows the season is young.
Washington QB Mark Brunell cites the effort of the Cowboys.
Dallas Coach Bill Parcells says he's happy to escape with a road win.
Vinny Testaverde talks about his team's big plays Monday night.

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Worst Injury: The Redskins were missing their most feared playmaker on defense in linebacker LaVar Arrington, who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. Arrington has had some of his most memorable games against the Cowboys, including knocking out Troy Aikman in what would be the quarterback's final game.

Worst Memory: The Redskins had plenty of reason to be angry after what happened to them in last season's game against Dallas at FedEx Field. Starter Tim Hasselbeck threw four interceptions and finished with a 0.0 quarterback rating, the Redskins lost two fumbles, and the Cowboys made then-coach Steve Spurrier look like a rank amateur during a 27-0 win.

Worst Scenario: The Cowboys take an early lead and damage the fragile psyche of their NFC East rival. That unfolded in the first quarter when the Cowboys went on a long drive that was capped by a one-yard touchdown run by running back Eddie George for the first points of the game.

Worst Penalty: Cornerback Walt Harris got tangled with Cowboys wide receiver Terry Glenn one play before Dallas took a 7-0 lead. The pass interference call gave the Cowboys the ball at the Redskins 1.

Worst Throw: Midway through the first quarter, Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell apparently was looking for wide receiver Laveranues Coles on the right sideline. But his throw sailed well high and wide and drew a smattering of boos.

Best Hit: Cowboys safety Roy Williams made sure Coles was not going to hold on to a ball late in the first quarter when he collided with the wideout over the middle. Coles was juggling the pass as Williams arrived, and the hit left Coles dazed on the ground holding his helmet.

Worst Discipline: The Redskins committed consecutive penalties late in the first quarter. The first was a hold on center Cory Raymer, the next was a false start against guard Derrick Dockery. That left the Redskins on their 12-yard line with first down and 25.

Worst Protection: Brunell suffered the consequences of an offensive line breakdown in the second quarter. First, Cowboys Pro Bowl defensive tackle La'Roi Glover broke through for a sack. On the ensuing play, defensive end Greg Ellis got the sack.

Worst Quarter: Brunell did not help himself early in the game, partly because of pressure and partly because of poor execution. He finished the first quarter with 2-for-10 passing.

Best Smarts: After a lackluster first quarter, Brunell made a quick decision that paid off in points just before halftime. On the Redskins' final drive of the second quarter, Brunell threw a third-down pass to tailback Clinton Portis, who slipped a tackle and made the first down. But television replays showed Portis's knee appeared down before the first-down marker. Brunell snapped the ball before the Cowboys could challenge, and that drive yielded a field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.

Best Fake: Vinny Testaverde pitched to Richie Anderson on an apparent sweep, but the Sherwood product stopped and threw a left-handed pass to Terry Glenn for a 26-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Glenn had gotten behind the secondary, including safety Sean Taylor.

-- Gene Wang


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