For the Redskins, it couldn't have come at a better place. At Dallas. Where they've lost in so many heartbreaking ways, from Clint Longley to 1979 the funeral wreath game to the shocker last season.
There's more. But the point is this: it exorcises a demon. And if you had to pick a way to beat Dallas, wouldn't this have been it' With the Cowboys and their fans feeling secure in their 13-0 lead' And then to stun them'
The Redskins were like a puncher up against the ropes all night who happens to land two punches in the final round, and wins by knockout.
Just think what those two passes did for Washington. It prevented Joe Gibbs' offense from being roasted this week. As it stands, they deserve criticism. This offense has not looked good for most of the first two games. But the big plays show what can happen and that they're never out of a game, especially if the other team's safeties get too cozy deep.
Had the Redskins lost, would anyone -- aside from the blindly loyal fanatics (whom we love) -- have looked optimistically upon the final 14 games. Sure, a lot can happen, but this was certainly looking a lot like last season.
That's not the case anymore. What this foreshadows for the reason of the season, who knows. They might still finish 7-9. They might not. They still have problems, though one of them is not related to their hearts.
But you have to feel much, much better this morning than you did around midnight last night, just before the fun started.
Those final four minutes might be the most meaningful ones they play all season.
Offensive star: Receiver Santana Moss. He was open on several occasions -- though he did drop at least one pass. Finally, Mark Brunell found him for two huge touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Redskins acquired Moss for his speed and you saw why they wanted it Tuesday morning. Moss and David Patten had beaten Anthony Henry once each only to have Brunell badly underthrow them.
Defensive star: Marcus Washington was all over the place and is clearly playing his way back to Hawaii. I thought he'd be good this year, but he's better than anticipated. Why' Because nobody works harder.
Great night: for Mark Brunell. At least according to the stats (20-34, 292, two touchdowns, one interception). But the stats stretched the truth. When you can't score, and don't penetrate the other team's 20 until less than four minutes remain, it's a tough night. But a great, great finish.
Big play: For all the talk about Brunell's passes to Santana Moss -- and those were huge -- just as important was his 25-yard run on third and 27 late in the game, setting up a 20-yard pass on fourth-and-2. Had Brunell not made so many yards, after a sack, the Redskins would have been coming home 1-1.
Big hit: Safety Sean Taylor jarring the ball free on receiver Patrick Crayton on Dallas' last possession. It's a much better ending for Taylor than his last trip here. And it helped erase his biting on a flea flicker.
Not alone: Taylor wasn't the only aggressive safety on the field. So, too, is Dallas' Roy Williams and he bit hard on Moss' double move resulting in the 39-yard touchdown pass. Williams is a great run stopper, but only an adequate coverman. But Dallas' secondary got too lax late in the game while playing quarters coverage.
Coverage slip: The Redskins covered kicks well most of the night, but had yet another untimely breakdown that could have cost them the game. After taking a 14-13 lead, Danny Smith's unit allowed a 49-yard kickoff return to the Redskins' 48. And the rally of a century was on the verge of being wiped out. But the defense bailed Smith out with stellar play, saving the game.
Missing in action: Linebacker LaVar Arrington played sparingly, a shocking occurrence given the lack of turnovers this defense causes. We're not quite sure why Arrington is playing so little, but we have to believe offenses prefer seeing Chris Clemons in the game rather than Arrington. But Arrington actually opened the game as a starter as Washington used a 3-4 front most of the time on Dallas' first possession.
Hickory Dickory Dock: Derrick Dockery is still way too inconsistent, giving up a sack -- when he failed to get a good thrust into the lineman (regular readers to this site will remember that he struggled with this tactic during training camp, too). And he committed his share of penalties again. He's big and massive and that's worth a few good plays each game. But the mistakes continue, just as they did for Patrick Ramsey.