Of course, NFL rules prevent teams from lining up a dozen people on defense. Those 12 Angry Men – with safety Pat Watkins mindlessly making himself available when his presence was not warranted – provided Washington with the opportunity to eat more late clock, to kick a chip-shot field goal and to drop the Cowboys to 3-1.
"I thought they outplayed us,'' said Dallas coach Wade Phillips. "I thought they outplayed our offense. I thought they outplayed our defense. They outplayed our special teams and our coaching. All of it. So take your pick.''
OK. I pick defense.
Yes, Tony Romo tossed yet another ill-advised interception. Yes, the gameplan and the circumstances combined to limit Marion Barber to just eight carries (and just 26 yards). And his backup, explosive rookie Felix Jones, didn't touch the ball at all. Oh, and yes, Terrell Owens griped following the game because he didn't get enough touches, either. … though he was allowed seven catches, a touchdown, and even a couple of carries.
But no, I pick defense – and I do it despite the fact that when coaches study film, they are likely to provide good grades to Zach Thomas, Jay Ratliff, Bradie James, DeMarcus Ware and a few others.
As a unit, the Cowboys' run defense was putrid, allowing Clinton Portis to pick up 121 yards on 21 carries. It simply didn't look like the same bunch that had manhandled Cleveland, Philadelphia and Green Bay. Pass coverage was just as lame. Kid QB Jason Campbell was allowed to look completely in control, pulling off big play after big play to his army of undersized receivers.Ball control? Dallas permitted Washington to own the ball for 38 minutes. Big plays? Santana Moss pretty much owns the Cowboys at this point. Turnovers? We're four games in now, and Dallas' star-studded secondary has yet to record an interception.
Terence Newman deserves special attention here.
He was completely outclassed by every receiver Washington lined up opposite him. James Thrash beat him for a short TD catch. Antwaan Randle El beat him for another. Moss used a double-move to embarrass T-New for a 53-yard gain.
And that was all just in the first half.
"The first half was basically a terrible half for me," Newman said.
Being behind 17-7 at one point in that half … while at home. … against a Redskins team that probably came in lacking the confidence to believe it could pull this off. … qualifies as a terrible half for all involved.
"The little things can get you beat,'' Thomas said. "That's what happened today. We've just got to learn it's not going to be easy.''
Well, it could've been easier. Watkins' error was committed following a timeout, meaning the Cowboys, their players and their staff had ample time to get its stuff together, to get everything exactly right. But third-and-long turned into a gimme first down. That first down allowed Washington to milk another three minutes off the clock. Shaun Suisham made a 29-yard field goal instead of having to try one that would've been 20 yards longer. And the Cowboys spent the final 3:22 in desperation mode, in the end failing to execute an onside kick.
"It's my fault,'' Watkins said. "I take the blame for it.''Naw, Wade is right. It's a lot of guys' fault. Take your pick.
12 Angry Men
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