Do the Cowboys have a shot at Washington and beyond? There is a slim hope, which explains their host of roster moves this week that feature a non-move as Tony Romo is staying off IR ... just in case. While on the one hand we concern ourselves with Romo and what's next -- Johnny Manziel, anyone? How about Braxton Lynch? -- the Cowboys get on the practice field on Thursday with Matt Cassel at QB and with Brandon Carr as their Man of the Year nominee and with ... a chance.
The NFC East race, Carr says, it "wacky.'' The race continues this weekend, and then for Dallas-at-Washington on Monday ...
The Cowboys are 3-8 for the fourth time in team history. None of the three previous teams (1963, 2001, 2010) made the playoffs.
Since 1990, there have been 75 teams that were 3-8. None of them made the playoffs, though it is worth mentioning that the ’14 Carolina Panthers were 3-7-1.
This is the 14th time in Washington history that the team has been 5-6. 3/13 of those previous teams (2005, 2007, 2012) have made the playoffs.
Since 1990, there have been 111 teams that were 5-6. Only 14/111 of those teams made the playoffs.
The Cowboys are 18-14 against Washington in the month of December.
The Dallas Cowboys are 29-28 against the Washington Redskins on the road. Here is the breakdown by venue:
Griffith Stadium: 0-1
RFK Stadium: 18-20
FedEx Field: 11-7
The Cowboys’ 11-7 record at FedEx Field is the best in the NFC East:
NY Giants: 10-8-1
Dallas is 8-8 against Washington on Monday Night Football.
This is the second straight year Dallas and Washington will play each other on Monday Night Football. The longest consecutive streak was from 1991-93.
The Cowboys have not played in Washington on Monday Night Football since Sept. 27, 2004 when Dallas prevailed 21-18.
The last time Dallas was 3-8 after Week 12 was in 2010 when they were also last place in the NFC East. However, New York and Philadelphia sat atop the division with 7-4 records, thus nullifying any chance of the Cowboys winning the division.
MATT CASSELL FACTS
Cassel is 1-0 against Washington as a starter with a 14-6 victory on Oct. 18, 2009 when Cassel was with Kansas City. It is worth mentioning Cassel filled in for an injured Christian Ponder and led Minnesota to a 34-27 win over Washington on Nov. 7, 2013.
Cassel has a 4-7 record in prime time games with a 3-1 record on Monday Night Football.
Cassel is 3-1 on Monday Night Football with a 79.3 passer rating. On average, he goes 15/26 for 167 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Cassel will be making his first start as the Cowboys quarterback on ESPN. Here is how other Dallas quarterbacks records compare:
Tony Romo: 4-4
Steve Walsh: 1-0
Troy Aikman: 1-2
Steve Pelluer: 0-1
Chad Hutchinson: 0-1
Vinny Testaverde: 0-1
Kevin Sweeny: 0-1
Randall Cunningham: 0-1
Quincy Carter: 0-2
Anthony Wright: 0-2
Drew Bledsoe: 0-2
Cassel is 10-6 in December games with a 79.9 passer rating. On average, he goes 19/33 for 226 yards, one touchdown, and an interception.
Cassel is 2-5 against the NFC East with a 1-2 record on the road.
Cassel is 0-4 as a starter. The last Cowboys quarterback to go 0-4 or worse under center was rookie Troy Aikman in 1989 when he went 0-11.
Cassel is 13-21 against 3-4 defenses with a 77.7 passer rating. On average, he goes 18/31 for 217 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Cassel is 5-15 when he throws two interceptions or more compared to 29-26 when he does not.
Cassel has never started during a five-game winning streak.
KIRK COUSINS FACTS
Cousins is 3-4 against the NFC East with a 2-2 record at home.
For his career, Cousins is 2/5 in bringing Washington back to a .500 record.
Cousins is 1-2 in rematches against teams that have bested him as a starter. Dallas got their first win against Cousins on Dec. 22, 2013 in a 24-23 Romo fourth-quarter comeback.
Cousins is the first Washington quarterback since Robert Griffin III to throw for 16 touchdowns through the season’s first 11 games.
Cousins has been sacked just 17 times through 11 games, which is the lowest total since 2007 when Jason Campbell was dropped 17 times. Washington qualified for a wildcard spot that year.
Cousins has helped Washington have the highest completion percentage (68.2 percent) through 11 games to start a season since 1940.
Cousins had a 114.4 passer rating in Washington’s 20-14 win over New York last week. He has never put together 100-plus passer rating games in consecutive starts.
As a starter, Cousins is 1-3 against Tampa-2 defenses with a 94.6 passer rating.
Cousins is 7-13 as a starter with a 6-4 record at home.
Cousins and Russell Wilson are the only quarterbacks from the 2012 draft class that have started every game for their teams this season.
JASON GARRETT FACTS
The New York Giants, Carolina Panthers, and Washington Redskins are the only teams Jason Garrett has defeated as both a starting quarterback and head coach.
Garrett has six wins apiece against Washington and Philadelphia. The most wins Garrett has against a divisional opponent is seven against the Giants.
Garrett’s 11-10 December is among many of his predecessors who finished their Dallas tenures with losing December records. Here is how Garrett’s December record fares in team history:
Tom Landry: 63-43-1
Jimmy Johnson: 13-7
Jason Garrett: 11-10
Bill Parcells: 8-9
Barry Switzer: 7-8
Wade Phillips: 5-7
Dave Campo: 4-9
Chan Gailey: 3-5
Garrett is 12-4 against the NFC East on the road.
Garrett is 3-2 in post-Thanksgiving games with a 2-2 record on the road.
Garrett is 0-2 when his team is coming off of 11-day rest. Here are the results:
2012 – @SEA, 7-27 – L
2013 – @CHI, 28-45 – L
Garrett is 6-3 against Washington, which, along with his record against the Giants, is his best record against a divisional opponent to date. Here is how he compares to other Cowboys head coaches through their first nine games against Washington (where applicable):
Jason Garrett: 6-3
Bill Parcells: 5-2
Wade Phillips: 4-3
Jimmy Johnson: 4-5
Barry Switzer: 4-4
Tom Landry: 3-4-2
Jimmy Johnson is the only Cowboys head coach to have not swept Washington. Conversely, four out of the Cowboys’ eight head coaches have been swept by Washington (Landry, Switzer, Parcells, Garrett).
Jason Garrett is 1-4 on ESPN Monday Night Football. Here are other Cowboys head coaches’ records on ESPN:
Wade Phillips: 3-1
Jimmy Johnson: 1-1
Chan Gailey: 1-1
Jason Garrett: 1-4
Tom Landry: 0-2
Dave Campo: 0-3
Bill Parcells: 0-4 (one MNF game)
Garrett is just 1-1 over Jay Gruden. Here are Garrett’s ledgers over every NFC East coach he has faced all-time:
JAY GRUDEN FACTS
Gruden is the first Washington head coach since Norv Turner in 1999 to have the team sitting atop the NFC East heading into Week 13.
Gruden is 1-3 in prime time games. Here is how he compares to other Washington head coaches in club history:
George Allen: 10-2
Norv Turner: 7-6-1
Richie Petitbon: 2-2
Steve Spurrier: 2-3
Jack Pardee: 2-3
Joe Gibbs: 19-24
Marty Schottenheimer: 1-2
Mike Shanahan: 3-8
Bill Austin: 0-1
Jim Zorn: 0-7
Gruden is 2-3 in initial division games. His first ever division win was against the Cowboys.
With last year’s 20-17 defeat of the Cowboys on Monday Night Football, Gruden became the seventh head coach in Washington history to have defeated the Cowboys in his first game. The other six head coaches are Mike Nixon (1960), George Allen (1971), Jack Pardee (1978), Richie Petitbon (1993), Jim Zorn (2008), and Mike Shanahan (2010). Gruden, Allen, and Zorn are the only coaches to have done so in Dallas.
Gruden has a 1-3 December record with a 2-1 record at home.
Gruden is the first Washington head coach since Joe Gibbs in 1991 to have a 5-1 mark at home through Week 12. In ’91, Gibbs had his team at 6-0.
Gruden is 3/11 on challenges in his career with a 2/3 record in 2015.
Gruden has numerous connections to the Cowboys coaching staff, and they all come from his time in Tampa Bay as an offensive assistant from 2002-08 under his older brother Jon:
Jason Garrett was a backup quarterback in Tampa Bay in 2004. Rod Marinelli was defensive line coach from 1996-2005. Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia was special teams coach from 2002-10.
Gruden was head coach or the Orlando Predators in the Arena Football League from 1998-01 and then 2004-08. In the 2006 Eastern Conference championship, Gruden’s Predators defeated the Dallas Desperados 45-28. The Desperados were owned by Jerry Jones and coached by assistant director of pro personnel Will McClay.
Gruden is the seventh head coach owner Dan Snyder has hired or promoted since buying the franchise in 1999. Here is how Snyder’s hiring compares to other Washington owners:
George Preston Marshall: 16
Dan Snyder: 7
Jack Kent Cooke: 4
Edward Bennett Williams: 2
The Dallas Cowboys are 3-2 against the Washington Redskins on ESPN telecasts (1989, 1998, 2011, 2014).
WFAA will simulcast the game in Dallas-Fort Worth, and are the fifth Metroplex station to do so since 1987. Here is a list of the other stations that have simulcast Cowboys cable games and the Cowboys’ records:
KXAS (1987-90): 1-2
KTXA (1991-12): 13-15
KTXD (2013): 0-1
WFAA (2014): 0-1
KTVT (2014): 1-0
The Nov. 13, 1988 ESPN Sunday Night Football game between Minnesota and Dallas was blacked out in Dallas-Fort Worth, and probably for good reason. The Vikings handed the Cowboys their largest margin of defeat on ESPN with a 43-3 drumming.
The only quarterback the Cowboys have faced on both of ESPN’s telecasts is Eli Manning, who remains a perfect 3-0 against the Cowboys having played them in three different venues (2004: Giants Stadium; 2006: Texas Stadium; 2010: AT&T Stadium).
Going back to 2000, the Dallas Cowboys have only had three rushers go over 100 yards in an ESPN telecast: Troy Hambrick (2001), Julius Jones (2004), Felix Jones (2011), and DeMarco Murray (2014).
Dallas Cowboy Victor Butler recorded the most sacks in an ESPN game with two, while DeMarcus Ware’s 7.5 sacks is the most for a Cowboys career on ESPN.
Bill Parcells holds the distinction as being the only NFL head coach to have coached on ESPN Sunday Night Football and ESPN Monday Night Football in the same calendar year (1/1/06 and 10/23/06)
In interconference games, the Dallas Cowboys have only played the AFC East on ESPN.
All three of the Dallas Cowboys’ African-American quarterbacks started on ESPN Sunday Night Football.
On ESPN Monday Night Football, the Dallas Cowboys have worn only their white jerseys. However, they had occasions to wear their “cursed blues” on ESPN Sunday Night Football. Here’s their record in their blue and white jerseys:
ESPN only showed Sunday night games during the second half of the season from 1987-97. From 1990-97, TNT carried the first half of the season’s Sunday night contests. The Cowboys actually had a better record of 3-1 on TNT than their 2-12 record on ESPN Sunday Night Football.
The Cowboys have kicked off ESPN’s telecasts for the year only twice: 1989 and 1990. While many remember the Cowboys’ infamous Week 1 loss to the expansion Houston Texans, this was not ESPN’s first telecast of the season. That was three days prior on Sept. 5 when Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, and Paul Maguire called the 49ers-Giants matchup, which became the basis for the NFL’s Kickoff Special.
Dallas has played on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday on ESPN.
For ESPN telecasts since 1987, September is the most-played month for the Cowboys, who hold a 3-3 record. Here is the Cowboys’ record in the other months in which they have played on ESPN:
The Cowboys have been on both sides of one-point contests on ESPN. The first was a 31-32 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on 9/10/00, while their victory was the 25-24 thriller in Buffalo on 10/8/07.
Only three current Cowboys have played on both of ESPN’s telecasts: Jason Witten, L.P. Ladouceur, and Tony Romo (holder).
Andy Reid and Tom Coughlin are the only two coaches to have faced the Dallas Cowboys on both of ESPN’s NFL packages. However, Coughlin is the only coach to have defeated the Cowboys on both packages.
Parcells and Wade Phillips are the only two Cowboys head coaches to have coached against their former teams on ESPN telecasts (Parcells: Patriots in ’03 and Giants in ’06; Phillips: Bills in ’07). Only Phillips defeated his former team.
Since ESPN’s NFL coverage moved to Monday nights, the only venue outside of Texas in which the Cowboys have played is Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, the site of rookie Nick Folk’s game-winning field goal on 10/8/07.
Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, and Lisa Salters are the current talent for ESPN Monday Night Football. Here is the Cowboys’ record for all talent that participated in ESPN’s coverage of Dallas Cowboys football since 1987:
Mike Patrick: 2-12
Roy Firestone: 0-1
Joe Theismann: 2-12
Paul Maguire: 1-9
Solomon Wilcots: 1-4
Suzy Kolber: 4-8
Mike Tirico: 4-5
Tony Kornheiser: 2-1
Michele Tafoya: 3-2
Jon Gruden: 2-4
Ron Jaworski: 4-1
Ed Werder (2011, Cowboys sideline): 1-0
Lisa Salters: 0-3
Out of past and present ESPN talent, only two have connections to Dallas. Ed Werder currently resides in the Metroplex to cover the Cowboys, while Lisa Salters is Tony Dorsett’s cousin.
This is only the third time in Monday Night Football’s history that there has been a two-man team covering the game. In 1986, ABC experimented with Al Michaels and Frank Gifford calling the action before adding Dan Dierdorf in 1987. ABC went back to the two-man team in 2002 by adding only John Madden.
Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will be calling the action for ESPN. Here’s the breakdown of Cowboys games:
Mike Tirico – 4-5
Jon Gruden – 2-4
Another quoted statistic going into this game is how the Cowboys have the second-most Monday Night Football appearances with 76. The Dolphins have 81. The reality behind that statistic is in 2006 the NFL moved its marquee game from Monday Night Football to Sunday Night Football. The truth is the Dolphins have had 12 MNF appearances since 2006 versus the Cowboys’ 9. However, since 2006, the Cowboys have had 34 SNF appearances versus the Dolphins’ 2. So, actually, the correct way to look at this statistic is the Cowboys lead the league with 103 marquee game appearances versus the Dolphins’ 86.
WALT ANDERSON FACTS
This week’s referee is Walt Anderson, a native of Sugar Land, Texas. Anderson has refereed 14 Cowboys games in his career. Dallas is 6-8 with a 2-2 record against the Washington. Here are the results:
2005 – @NYG, 10-17 – L
2006 – TB, 38-10 – W
2006 – @SEA, 20-21 – L
2007 – Rams, 35-7 – W
2007 – WAS, 28-23 – W
2008 – WAS, 24-26 – L
2008 – NYG, 20-8 – W
2009 – @DEN, 10-17 – L
2009 – @MIN, 3-34 – L
2011 – @NYG, 31-14 – L
2012 – CHI, 34-18 – L
2012 – @WAS, 18-28 – L
2013 – WAS, 31-16 – W
2013 – @NYG, 24-21 – W
The Dallas Cowboys have won the penalty battle 7/13 times with Walt Anderson:
2005 – NYG: 6/44; DAL: 7/46
2006 – TB: 5/55; DAL: 2/19
2006 – SEA: 3/15; DAL: 8/74
2007 – Rams: 7/50; DAL: 2/10
2007 – WAS: 3/71; DAL: 7/58
2008 – WAS: 5/30; DAL: 3/15
2008 – NYG: 7/40; DAL: 11/108
2009 – DEN: 7/70; DAL: 10/81
2009 – MIN: 8/50; DAL: 2/10
2011 – NYG: 3/28; DAL: 7/43
2012 – CHI: 4/25; DAL: 2/10
2012 – WAS: 2/20; DAL: 1/6
2013 – WAS: 12/104; DAL: 7/80
2013 – NYG: 11/81; DAL: 11/85
Anderson has the third-lowest home team winning percentage in the NFL this season:
Bill Vinovich: 1.000
John Parry: .909
Walt Coleman: .636
Ed Hochuli: .636
Terry McAulay: .636
Ron Torbert: .600
Gene Steratore: .600
Carl Cheffers: .600
Jerome Boger: .546
Craig Wrolstad: .500
Tony Corrente: .500
Jeff Triplette: .456
Clete Blakeman: .456
Pete Morelli: .400
Walt Anderson: .333
John Hussey: .300
Brad Allen: .300
Anderson has the fifth-highest percentage of the home team winning the penalty battle:
Brad Allen: .800
Terry McAulay: .727
Craig Wrolstad: .700
Jeff Triplette: .636
Walt Anderson: .556
Jerome Boger: .546
John Parry: .546
Bill Vinovich: .500
Pete Morelli: .500
Ron Torbert: .500
Clete Blakeman: .456
Ed Hochuli: .456
Carl Cheffers: .450
John Hussey: .300
Gene Steratore: .300
Tony Corrente: .300
Walt Coleman: .273
Anderson leads the league with the amount of sacks per game:
Walt Anderson: 5.3
Jeff Triplette: 5.2
Walt Coleman: 5.2
Terry McAulay: 4.9
Ron Torbert: 4.8
Clete Blakeman: 4.7
John Parry: 4.6
Ed Hochuli: 4.6
Carl Cheffers: 4.6
Tony Corrente: 4.5
Gene Steratore: 4.4
Pete Morelli: 4.4
John Hussey: 4.4
Craig Wrolstad: 4.1
Jerome Boger: 4.1
Bill Vinovich: 3.3
Brad Allen: 3.2
Anderson calls the sixth-fewest offensive holding calls per game:
Jeff Triplette: 4.9
Jerome Boger: 4.3
Carl Cheffers: 4
Terry McAulay: 4
John Parry: 3.9
Craig Wrolstad: 3.8
Ron Torbert: 3.7
Tony Corrente: 3.6
John Hussey: 3.5
Ed Hochuli: 3.3
Walt Coleman: 3.1
Walt Anderson: 3
Brad Allen: 2.9
Clete Blakeman: 2.7
Pete Morelli: 2.7
Bill Vinovich: 2.6
Gene Steratore: 2.2
Washington is 5-7 when Anderson referees their games. Here are the results:
2003 – @BUF, 7-24 – L
2004 – @PHI, 6-28 – L
2005 – SD, 23-17 – L-OT
2006 – NYG, 28-34 – L
2007 – @DAL, 23-28 – L
2008 – @DAL, 26-24 – W
2009 – @Raiders, 34-13 – W
2010 – @CHI, 17-14 – W
2012 – DAL, 28-18 – W
2013 – @DAL, 16-31 – L
2014 – Titans, 19-17 – W
2014 – @SF, 13-17 – L
Washington has had fewer penalties than the opposition 4/12 times with Anderson:
2003 – BUF: 9/95; WAS: 9/77
2004 – PHI: 9/69; WAS: 12/115
2005 – SD: 6/40; WAS: 7/60
2006 – NYG: 5/41; WAS: 10/100
2007 – DAL: 7/58; WAS: 3/71
2008 – DAL: 3/15; WAS: 5/30
2009 – Raiders: 14/118; WAS: 7/45
2010 – CHI: 6/51; WAS: 7/48
2012 – DAL: 1/6; WAS: 2/20
2013 – DAL: 7/80; WAS: 12/104
2014 – Titans: 11/96; WAS: 7/50
2014 – SF: 5/47; WAS: 7/53
Walt Anderson is one of three NFL referees to have a doctorate degree. Clete Blakeman and Ed Hochuli both have Juris Doctor degrees while Anderson has a Doctorate of Dentistry.
In addition to refereeing NFL games, Anderson is also the Coordinator of Officials for the Big XII.
Walt Anderson was also witness to history as a line judge on 10/27/02 as Emmitt Smith surpassed Walter Payton as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.
Since becoming an NFL referee in 2003, Walt Anderson has officiated 54 divisional games. Here’s the breakdown by division:
AFC East: 11
NFC South: 10
AFC North: 9
NFC East: 9
NFC North: 8
AFC West: 7
AFC South: 6
NFC West: 6
In NFC East games, the home team is 6-3 when Walt Anderson referees.
The Cowboys are 4/4 on challenges under Anderson while opponents are 1/4. Replay Assistant is 3/5 with none of those decisions having favored the Cowboys.
Much is made of Bill Callahan’s departure as the Dallas offensive line coach to Washington to serve in the same capacity and how the Cowboys offensive line is suffering. Through 11 games, Washington averages 3.8 yards per carry. Dallas is currently averaging 4.2 yards per carry through 11 games, which is the second-best yards per carry since 2012. Callahan’s 3.8 yards per carry in Washington is his second-worst such output since 2012.
15.7 percent of Washington’s offensive drives end in turnovers, the third-highest in the league.
Washington hasn’t put together consecutive games without a turnover since Weeks 8-9 of 2012.
Washington has committed just 21 pre-snap penalties, the fifth-lowest in the NFL.
Dallas historically is 2-3 when coming off of 11-day rest.
The last time a Cowboys quarterback other than Romo led Dallas on a five-game winning streak was in 2003 when Quincy Carter won five games for the Cowboys from Weeks 2-7 of 2003.
This is the first time since Oct. 15, 2001 that Washington and Dallas are facing each other on Monday Night Football with losing records and just the second time in the history of the series.
Since 2006, the Cowboys are 20-8 in December and January when a running back scored a rushing touchdown compared to 1-13 when they did not.
Dallas is 3-5 on 12/7. Here are the results:
1963 – PIT, 19-24 – L
1969 – @PIT, 10-7 – W
1974 – CLE, 41-17 – W
1975 – @Cardinals, 17-31 – L
1980 – @Raiders, 19-13 – W
1986 – @Rams, 10-29 – L
2003 – @PHI, 10-36 – L
2008 – @PIT, 13-20 – L
The Cowboys have four birthdays to celebrate on Dec. 7:
Tom Myslinski, OG, 1999 – 12/7/1968
Clay Shiver, C, 1996-98 – 12/7/1972
Terrell Owens, WR, 2006-08 – 12/7/1973
Terry Johnson, DT, 2007-08 – 12/7/1981