Reality Bites: Why Redskins Lost 27-23 to Cowboys

Kirk Cousins struggled and Alfred Morris returned to FedEx Field a hero as the Redskins fell to the Cowboys -- and to 0-2.

LANDOVER -- The nightmare scenario went something like this: Alfred Morris scores the game-winning touchdown moments after Kirk Cousins continues his inconsistent start with a crippling interception, and the Washington Redskins fall to 0-2 by losing to the Dallas Cowboys while still sorting out the best ways to use their best cornerback.

Here's the thing: Your eyes are open. The nightmare is real. So is the massive uphill climb for the Burgundy and Gold after losing 27-23 Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field.

* Oh, no -- With a chance to put the Redskins up by two scores, Cousins threw a costly interception in the end zone with 10-plus minutes remaining. With rookie Dak Prescott at quarterback, Dallas marched 80 yards on 11 plays, capping the game-winning drive with Morris' four-yard run with 4:45 to play. Washington had two remaining possessions. One ended on four downs, the other on a final Hail Mary attempt that came immediately after a penalty which automatically forced a 10-second runoff.

* The Kirk Cousins ride -- Maybe Stella got her groove back, but not the Redskins' starting quarterback. Cousins made some strong throws, particularly over the middle of the field to his tight ends, but he missed some potential scoring chances downfield, especially in the first half. The QB did what nobody thought possible: Overthrow DeSean Jackson. All of that prompted head coach Jay Gruden to tell FOX's sideline reporter at the break, "You know who needs to step up? Our quarterback." And yet ... Cousins ripped a strike to Jamison Crowder for an 11-yard TD in the third quarter. He hit Josh Doctson for a 57-yard gain in the fourth quarter, setting up a red zone opportunity. And yet ... after two corner fade passes that fell flat, Cousins threw an interception in the end zone while targeting a heavily covered Pierre Garcon. Cousins finished 28 of 46 for 364 yards, his second 300-yard performance in as many games. Don't be fooled by math.

Tracker -- The Redskins stuck with cornerback Josh Norman on one side of the field, a plan that makes technical sense -- and made the fan base unhappy after Antonio Brown led Pittsburgh to a Week 1 win. Norman, who forced a fumble in run defense, matched up with Dez Bryant at times, but the Cowboys star receiver went for 102 yards on seven receptions. Most of that damage came against others. Regardless of that matchup, Dallas truly burned Washington with one play-action pass after another as Prescott showed veteran flair with his execution. That kept the Redskins' defense off-balance throughout as it allowed touchdown drives of 90, 75 and 80 yards.

* Reality Bites -- History says the Redskins are in super duper trouble. Only 12 percent of teams have ever made the playoffs after losing their first two games. That Washington dropped them both at home only makes the doom scenario scarier. There are 14 games left. That's plenty of time. It's just that the margin of error is gone for now and a matchup in New York against the Giants is next. 

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+.

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