Eight is Enough

The number doesn't need to be repeated. Anyone associated with the Redskins is tired of hearing it. Especially the players. But here it is: eight. That's how many times in a row Dallas has beaten Washington. Here's another number: five. That's how many Redskins were on the roster the last time Washington beat Dallas.

"I don't believe in the Dallas jinx," Redskins quarterback Tony Banks said.

How could he? Banks only has been part of this rivalry for one game, and, of course, he lost, 9-7. The same goes for Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer.

"It's irrelevant," Schottenheimer said of Dallas' winning streak. "It doesn't make any difference. It doesn't contribute any more than if we had beaten them eight times in a row. It's all about the present."

This should be the game that ends the streak. Shouldn't it? After all Dallas is 2-8 while the Redskins are 5-5 with a five-game winning streak. The Cowboys are starting a rookie quarterback who hasn't played in nearly two months.

And he'll be facing a defense playing as well as it has all season. Plus it's in Washington. What better time to end it? Of course, everyone remembers Washington sweeping Dallas during a season in which it failed to make the playoffs while the Cowboys won the Super Bowl. And Dallas swept Washington two years ago when the Redskins won the NFC East.

Still, the players are confident. They have more confidence, a quarterback comfortable with the offense and a running game second to none.

"I think you'll see us running the ball more effectively than we did the first time," Redskins guard Ben Coleman said. "We've got the unit on a roll. It's more important that we're going to continue to feed Stephen [Davis]. We didn't finish quite the way we wanted to. That's the big difference. We'll make sure we finish this game a lot different than we did there."

For the record, Washington last beat Dallas on Oct. 13, 1997--21-16. The players on that roster: Darrell Green, Kenard Lang, Michael Westbrook, Cory Raymer and Stephen Davis.

They're ready for this losing streak to end. They also know losing to Dallas now would severly hurt their playoff chances. So they're willing to tweak their thinking.

"I say it will end every week so this week I'm going to say, "No, it's going to keep on going, " Lang said. "We're confident, but we're not conceited. We'll just trying to keep playing together."

John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly. He's also written two books on the Redskins.


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