Redskins fall to Cowboys

The owner sat in the locker room, his arms folded and his eyes staring blankly ahead, not saying a word to those around him. It's a common scene after this game. These are common scenes, too: Washington making the wrong play at the wrong time; Emmitt Smith finding his youth against the Redskins; a Cowboy receiver breaking free at the key time.

All of which is why it's 10 straight and counting.

Dallas did it again, extending its winning streak over Washington with a 27-20 win on Thanksgiving Day. The Redskins had little to be thankful for after the game. They might have lost linebacker Jeremiah Trotter (knee) for the season and defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson (calf) also might miss time.

Not to mention any playoff hopes wilted after this loss. The Redskins (5-7) have given no indication that they can play more than one good game in a row, let alone four.

And they headed home to Washington with many bruised egos. The Redskins insisted it was time to beat the Cowboys. They failed.

''This is amazing, absolutely amazing,'' Redskins defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson said. ''It's sickening. Our fans deserve more.''

Much more. They'll just have to do what they've done since 1991: wait until next year, barring a miraculous turnaround. Even four straight wins might not be enough.

''We'd be foolish to talk playoffs now,'' Redskins coach Steve Spurrier said.

Then he added another truth: ''They kicked our butts in the second half.''

Just like Dallas has done for 10 straight games. It's getting old. The Redskins even had control of this game, taking a 20-10 lead in the third quarter.

But the Redskins found a new way to lose. And it started when running back Kenny Watson bobbled a pass at his own 3-yard line that was plucked out of the air and returned for a touchdown by Roy Williams midway through the third quarter, cutting the score to 20-17.

''It was just a bad play on my part,'' Watson said. ''Deep in our own territory, you can't make mistakes like that. It swung the momentum the other way.''

''That's a gift to them,'' Wilkinson said. ''That's tough.''

Dallas controlled both lines, allowing Smith to rush for 144 yards--his 12th game over 100 yards against the Redskins and fourth in a row.

Meanwhile, Redskins running back Stephen Davis was held to 51 yards on 20 carries. He was stuffed on a fourth and one at the Dallas 34-yard line with 3:11 left in the game.

Earlier in the quarter, Washington tried a play-action fake reverse on third and one--and got sacked.

''We lost the game up front,'' Redskins guard Tre Johnson said. ''They played the game we wanted to play.''

Davis was upset about how the Redskins tried to attack the Cowboys.

''You have to run right at them,'' Davis said. ''We were trying to run wide. And when we ran at them, they knew what was coming.''

''We tried to run the ball, but it didn't work today,'' Spurrier said. ''We're supposed to run the ball, but we didn't run it very far, especially in short yardage.''

Thing is, the Redskins blew many chances to win or score more points. They had a field goal blocked, threw two interceptions in Dallas territory and missed an extra point.

The Redskins insist there was no hangover from the previous nine losses--most of the players weren't around for more than two of those games. Still, when the momentum shifted, Washington was finished.

''When the momentum swung back to our side, you could look in their eyes and see it,'' Dallas defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. ''We deflated their confidence.''

It's easy to see why.

''It seems like every time we play those guys, they always make the big plays,'' Redskins corner Champ Bailey said. ''We killed ourselves. They did make some plays, but we can't play like that and expect to win. It hurts because we took a step back.''

The winning touchdown came with 10:16 left in the game when rookie quarterback Chad Hutchinson connected with receiver Joey Galloway for a 41-yard touchdown pass. The odd thing was this: the Redskins tried to cover him with safety Andre Lott, who had entered the game two plays earlier for injured starter David Terrell.

The Cowboys later added a 42-yard Billy Cundiff field goal.

Washington appeared to have control for two and a half quarters, taking 10-point lead when Wuerffel hit receiver Derrius Thompson for an 11-yard touchdown. But James Tuthill missed the extra point, partly because holder Shane Matthews--subbing for injured holder Bryan Barker--couldn't get the laces turned the correct way.

The Redskins took a 14-10 halftime lead when Wuerffel threw 16 yards to tight end Zeron Flemister with 1:55 left in the first half, capping a 67-yard drive. Wuerffel had thrown a 40-yard touchdown pass to receiver Rod Gardner earlier in the quarter, matching Hutchinson's 29-yard toss to receiver Antonio Bryant earlier in the quarter.

Washington hurt itself in the first quarter when Wuerffel threw interceptions from the Dallas 31 and later the Cowboys' 48. Tuthill also had a 36-yard field goal blocked on the first play of the second quarter, a possession that started when linebacker Kevin Mitchell blocked a Cowboys punt.

''There's no doubt we had control of that game,'' Redskins end Renaldo Wynn said. ''It's just. . . I can't explain it.''
 

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