Redskins Stun Cowboys 20-17 in OT Thriller
On a third-and-11 from the Dallas 36, Tony Romo took his fourth sack of the night, a 12-yard drop by linebacker Keenan Robinson. Definitely more painful than the sack was was the inadvertent knee to the back he gave Romo. The 34-year-old quarterback, who had surgery to repair a herniated disc in the off-season, lie on the AT&T Stadium turf in calm, still agony. Team trainers, head coach Jason Garrett and even a hustling-down-from-his suite Jerry Jones tended to the $100-million passer, who left the game for the locker room.
All of a sudden, down 10-7, it became a seeming showdown between former Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden, who arrived in Dallas over the off-season to backup Romo.
Probably more prepared than any other backup in the NFL thanks to Valley Ranch's patented "Romo Wednesdays," where the franchise quarterback takes practice off to work on his core while Weeden takes first-team snaps, Weeden had two respectable drives that kept the Cowboys' hopes to advance to 7-1 alive as their quarterback underwent a battery of medical examinations throughout the rest of the third quarter and most of the fourth.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, DeMarco Murray's 51-yard rush to the Washington 6-yard line allowed Dallas to put three points on the board and tie the game at 10 heading into the fourth quarter.
1:16 in, Colt McCoy rushed for a seven-yard touchdown on third-and-goal to put Washington up 17-10.
Weeden led Dallas on an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 25-yard touchdown to tight end Jason Witten. The old war horse had an alley down the right sideline, and finished off his gallop with a successful dive for the pylon. Dallas was tied at 17.
With 1:52 left, Dallas was able to not only get the ball back, but their star signal-caller too. Romo trotted out of the locker room in full uniform, and campaigned all throughout Washington's previous offensive series to trainers and coaches that it was safe for him to play.
“I was here during the tail end of the examination and knew he planed to come back out and play if he were needed,” Jerry Jones said, explaining involvement on the sideline that included the owner conversing with coach Jason Garrett. “Of course he was needed. I felt good that he could come back out. When he saw the opportunity he did. I told Jason that he would be back in.”
Unfortunately, the feeble Romo reminiscent of the San Francisco game on Opening Day came out instead. On second-and-1 from the Dallas 12, Romo had no ability to dodge a blitzing Brandon Meriweather, who stripped the ball from the QB. If not for Murray's wrestling the ball away underneath the pile, Dallas would have assuredly lost right there. Instead, the Cowboys got another chance, but with all three timeouts, the furthest they could make it was their own 32 before Romo's intentional grounding call on third-and-1 forced a Dallas punt.
“You feel like you dodged one,” Romo said, talking about his injury but certainly not the outcome of the game. “It felt like some knee or elbow that hit me perfectly (in the back). It was a direct shot.”
The Cowboys do believe they have long-term good news here as they are calling Romo's injury a contusion. He took a pain-killing injection to return, will be evaluated again Tuesday, and hopes to be ready for what is now a short week with Arizona coming in Sunday.
In overtime -- following a referee coin flip that Witten protested wasn't a flip at all, but just a flat toss that stayed Washington's way all the way up and down -- McCoy led Washington on a methodical drive that went eight plays, 58 yards. Rod Marinelli's "bend-and-don't-break" defense held Washington to a field goal, so the Dallas offense would have a chance to respond with either a field goal of their own to keep overtime going or a touchdown to win the game.
After Murray rushed for eight yards on first-and-10, Romo hit Murray on a swing pass right, where the NFL's leading rusher lost a yard. On third-and-3, Romo tried to hit Witten, but he was unable to hold on to the ball. On fourth-and-3, with the game on the line, Romo avoided a collapsing pocket to heave one down field for Dez Bryant, who had the ball knocked away.
Game over. Winning streak over. Rivalry with Washington -- losers of eight of the previous 11 meetings with the Cowboys -- revived.
"This is a hard working bunch," Jones said. "They've got a lot of resolve. We are fortunate that we didn't lose Romo. That's something to be thankful for. It would surprise me if we don't take what we learned from this. We’ve got a serious and a good team coming in here in the Cardinals. We'll see how quickly we can bounce back. There is no doubt we will put the work in."
* Jay Gruden joins Jim Zorn, Richie Petitbon, Jack Pardee, and George Allen to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in his first season as Washington's head coach.
* DeMarco Murray rushed for 141 yards, his first ever 100-yard game against Washington, but continues to struggle with fumbling.
* 2009 will remain as the only season Romo took every offensive snap.
* The Cowboys think Justin Durant has a torn biceps and may be lost for the year.
* The last touchdown pass Brandon Weeden threw prior to tonight was 95-yard touchdown to Josh Gordon against Jacksonville last December.
* This is the third consecutive year that the Cowboys have featured two different quarterbacks on Monday Night Football
* The last time the Cowboys were 6-2 was 2009, when they ended up 11-5, winning the NFC East, and defeating the Eagles in the wildcard game.
* Tonight was Jeremy Mincey's first sack since 11/17/13 when he was playing for Jacksonville and facing Atlanta.
Stick with CowboysHQ.com all night and day ... we'll be at Valley Ranch throughout the day Tuesday to take you inside the loss ... and what comes next.
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