Running Game Must Improve

The main area the Cowboys continue to struggle with is rushing offense. The team mangaged just 50 yards rushing for the entire game Monday night against Washington.

RUN OFFENSE: F- -- The running game remains stagnant if not non existent. Is that why coach Bill Parcells snapped Eddie George's 130-game starting streak by opening the game with the nickel offense? The Cowboys gained 50 yards on 21 carries in the game, including 19 on 11 carries for George.

PASS OFFENSE: B -- What is certain is the Cowboys can only consistently move the ball through air. And that's with quarterback Vinny Testaverde or running back Richie Anderson, who threw a touchdown pass to Terry Glenn. Testaverde didn't pass for 300 yards for the third straight game but he was good enough, completing 14 of 29 passes for 214 yards with a touchdown.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- Rookie cornerback Jacques Reeves, who was forced into action after an injury to starter Pete Hunter, was tested often by the Redskins. He proved up to the challenge. The maligned secondary played its best game of the season and the pass rush recorded five sacks, including two by defensive end Greg Ellis and two by safety Tony Dixon.

RUN DEFENSE: B -- The run defense set the tone, containing running back Clinton Portis and forcing the Redskins into long passing situations. Portis rushed 23 times for 94 yards but never got untracked for the big game.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Dedric Ward muffed a punt but hustled to recover it. Punter Matt McBriar was solid, helping the Cowboys control the field position. The coverage teams were more than up to the task against dangerous returner Chad Morton.

OVERALL: A -- In the end Joe Gibbs' return to Washington didn't matter. The Cowboys still own the Redskins, with their 13th win the last 14 meetings. And Bill Parcells still owns Gibbs, upping his mark to 12-6 in head to head meetings. What matters most of the Cowboys moved to 2-1 heading into this week's bye, giving them two weeks to heal up and prepare for the Oct. 9 matchup against the Giants.

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