Report Card vs. the Redskins
Rush offense: F-- There was no rushing offense as the Cowboys gained only 35 yards on 11 carries. Once they got behind, it was no use to try. But it was awful from the beginning. Felix Jones had only 14 yards on six carries. He is playing through injuries, and the offensive line is not opening many holes. It appears Lance Dunbar is no longer an intriguing option either. The Cowboys hope to get DeMarco Murray back, but how much help will he be with no holes to run through?
Pass offense: D – Numbers-wise, the passing game looked good as quarterback Tony Romo had career highs in attempts and yards with 62 and 441, respectively. Receiver Dez Bryant was strong again with a career-high tying 145 yards receiving and two touchdowns from Romo. But don’t be fooled, Romo and Bryant had their problems as well, including interceptions and a fumble that helped the Redskins jump out to a big league. And the big numbers at the end of the game were the result of being behind and having to throw more so than being great in the passing game. Romo was also sacked twice in the game. Consider that eight times this season Romo has thrown 35 or more passes, and the Cowboys are 2-6 in those contests.
Rush defense: F – The loss of inside linebacker Bruce Carter (elbow) and the absence of nose tackle Jay Ratliff certainly played a role in the Cowboys’ inability to stop the Redskins on the ground. Washington simply ran at will, gaining 142 yards on 30 carries. Alfred Morris got 113 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. The Cowboys had no answer for quarterback Robert Griffin III and his option game. He added 29 yards on six carries. They had to play the fourth quarter without defensive end Jason Hatcher who left with a concussion.
Pass defense: F—Quarterback Robert Griffin III left the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones in awe. He completed 20 of 28 passes for 311 yards and four touchdowns, seemingly at ease. His passer rating of 132.6 will attest to that, and the Cowboys do not like the prospect of having to face Griffin again this season let alone for the rest of his career. Sure the Cowboys sacked him four times, including two by linebacker Anthony Spencer who is playing the best football of his career and has been the team’s best defender over the last month. Yet that did little slow down Griffin, who repeatedly stung the Cowboys with the big play, including touchdowns of 59, 68 and 29 yards.
Special teams: B – What more can you say about Dan Bailey, who made three more field goals. It was his 10th career game making three-plus field goals. He is now tied with Chris Boniol for the third-most games with three-or-more field goals converted in team history. Richie Cunningham (11) is second and Rafael Septien (21) has the team-high. Punter Brian Moorman was sensational, averaging 56.7 yards on three punts, including a 64 yarder. The Cowboys did give up a 43-yard kickoff return.
Coaching: F – The slow start against the Redskins was inexcusable in such a critical game. But it has been a season long trend of the Cowboys have trailed early in nine of their ten games. Of course, the Cowboys battled back and made a game of it as they have done all season. But trying hard and competing to the end is not the goal. Winning is the goal and it was too little too late again for the Cowboys. Now the season may be lost because of it.