It looked for the first two and a half quarters that the Redskins were completely over matched against the Cowboys. The Cowboys took a 27-7 lead and I think everyone expected the Redskins to roll over and give up. But they obviously did not. The Cowboys defense went soft and allowed the Redskins to slowly work their way back into the game and tie it up at 30-30 with about 6 minutes to play. Fortunately the Cowboys pulled out the victory on the second game winner in the last two weeks for David Buehler.
The game had a lot of ups and downs for the Cowboys. On the one hand the running game was actually pretty good. I say that but then in the next breath I have to mention that the running game was stuffed repeatedly on the goal line in yet another game. The passing game was good (Kitna threw for over 300 yards) but the offense disappeared for about a quarter while the Redskins played their way back into the game. Jason Witten was a beast once again and proved why he is the best tight end in the game right now.
The defense came up with two turnovers and kept the Redskins in check for the first two and a half quarters. But then they reverted to their typical form and allowed the Redskins to go up and down the field at will...with Rex Grossman at quarterback! Then, when all seemed lost, they came up with back to back sacks to give the ball back to the offense with the game tied at 30-30. Like I said, it was an up and down day.
The special teams did a very good job for the most part. David Beuhler was 4 for 5 on field goals and hit the game winner with 50 seconds on the clock from 39 yards out. And his kickoffs were pretty good for the most part. But he shanked a field goal at the end of the half that would have given the Cowboys a 23-7 halftime lead. Again, and up and down kind of day.
The good news is that the Cowboys managed to finish on an up in all three phases of the game. The defense stepped up and made plays when it was needed the most. Matt McBriar pinned the Redskins near their own goal line with the game tied. The offense put the ball in position for Beuhler to hit the game winner. And Buehler came through on the field goal with the game on the line. Terence Newman even made a nice play to end the game with an interception.
Let's not fool ourselves here. It was nice that the Cowboys came away with the win. I can guarantee that the Cowboys would have lost that game early in the season. But there are major problems with the offensive line and the secondary. Losing a 20 point lead is nothing to be proud of. But at least the players were resilient enough to overcome the momentum of a 20 point comeback by the Redskins.
A reporter asked Jason Garrett if his head coaching future with the Dallas Cowboys flashed before his eyes as the Redskins erased the 20 point deficit. He hesitated, smiled, and said he lives in the present. But you have to believe that he could have easily lost his shot at the head coaching job if the team had collapsed and lost that game.
On the positive side the Cowboys overcame a lot in this game. They won with their backup quarterback. They were missing two of their top three receivers. They lost their starting strong safety during the game. Sean Lee was out for most of the game with a concussion. And the list goes on and on. But they still prevailed. It is important to remember how important it is that the Cowboys start finding a way to win close games. No one wants to hear about their excuses. We all just want to see a win at the end of the day. And that happened so you have to be happy on some level with the outcome.
Jason Garrett has a lot of work to do after this game. Penalties were a problem. The defense was horrible for a quarter and a half. Some of the offensive play calling was questionable at best. Their were several coverage breakdowns in the secondary. And the run defense was soft up the middle again.
But I liked his Garrett's response to adversity. I have to believe he had a few choice words for his team at half time due to the sloppy play of the Cowboys. And I liked how he showed some emotion when Beuhler hit the game winner and tried to fire up Demarcus Ware to shut down the Redskins on their last ditch drive. At the end of the day he is 4-2 as a head coach of a team playing with its backup quarterback. The head coaching job is Garrett's to lose now.