No matter what the outcome of the game, the Dallas Cowboys seem to find themselves in the spotlight week after week. From the beginning of the season with the Terrell Owens training camp fiasco to the starting quarterback change, the Cowboys’ season has been a rollercoaster.
This loss to the Redskins, however, may have put Dallas on a spiraling fall. A game they clearly had in their grasp fell out of reach much like the deep bomb quarterback Tony Romo threw to Owens. Throughout the later part of his career, Owens has criticized teammates for not performing to the best of their abilities. On Sunday, Owens found himself on the other end as his drop may have very well cost the Cowboys what could have been a two-touchdown lead.
With seconds left in the game, they found themselves struggling to hold the Redskins’ offense. The defense was able to hold them to a 49-yard field goal attempt, and to the Cowboys’ luck, Washington kicker Nick Novak was unable to kick it through the uprights.
Three passes by Romo, including a 28-yard pass to tight end Jason Witten, put Dallas in Washington territory, setting up a 35-yard field goal attempt for veteran kicker Mike Vanderjagt. After putting up solid protection all game long, the blocking finally broke down at its most crucial moment. Washington blocked the field goal attempt and recovered the ball, and in the process received a 15-yard face mask penalty call in their favor, putting them in field goal range for the game-winning kick, which Novak made.
Where do you even begin to place the blame in this situation?
These minor mistakes the Cowboys have committed all season long have cost them big. A dropped pass, an unnecessary face mask and a sudden lapse by the offensive-line may have been only part of the problem.
Earlier in the game, head coach Bill Parcells chose to go for a two-point conversion, an unsuccessful and unnecessary two-point conversion at that. That cost them a lead in which they would not have had to rush down field to get into field goal range for a game-winning kick. They could have run the clock down, putting the pressure on Washington. Of course, that is assuming the game would have continued to play out as it did.
A 15-yard penalty after Owens’ touchdown celebration also proved quite costly; luckily for Dallas, the Redskins were unable to take advantage.
Add that penalty to the other 10 by the Cowboys, which resulted in 138 yards awarded to the Redskins.
Dallas does indeed have the talent to win, but they continue to do themselves in. After they finish off their three-game road trip in Arizona next week, they return home to take on the Indianapolis Colts, not exactly the warm welcome home you would want.
This was a team that looked confident after winning the previous week against Carolina. With a tough schedule ahead, they may get left out of the playoff picture for the second year in a row.