With Donovan McNabb watching from the sidelines as Rex Grossman assumed the starting quarterback duties, the Washington Redskins flopped once again against a divisional rival in grand fashion.
The Redskins dropped their fourth consecutive game and third straight NFC East contest as the Cowboys backup quarterback, Jon Kitna, carved up a leaky defense en route to a 33-30 Dallas victory. Grossman, making his first start since 2008, was brilliant in the second half, but the early deficit proved too much to overcome.
McNabb went out as a captain for the pregame coin toss, but that was the only time he set foot on the field as Grossman struggled his way through a tough first half. However, after falling behind 27-7, he woke up and led a valiant comeback effort. Grossman tossed a pair of touchdowns to Santana Moss and Chris Cooley added a two-point conversion on the second score. All of a sudden, the Redskins found themselves trailing 30-22 with the ball and 11:40 to play.
Then the theatrics really got started. Ryan Torain touched the ball on four straight plays to put the Redskins in the red zone where the team had scored touchdowns on all three of their previous possessions. Grossman didn’t disappoint as he hit Cooley on a five-yard touchdown strike. Mike Sellers pulled in the team’s second two-point conversion, tying the game at 30 apiece.
But after a Cowboys punt, the offense was unable to get the go-ahead score. Grossman was sacked twice and a wide open Santana Moss dropped a pass down the left sideline. The Cowboys got the ball back and Kitna set up David Buehler for the game-winning 39-yard field goal.
Grossman went 25-43 for 322 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in a performance which will likely lead to speculation that he could be the starting quarterback in 2011. His impressive second half nearly gave the Redskins a much-needed victory that would have swept the season series against the Cowboys. However, the late-game magic wasn’t enough as Terrence Newman intercepted Grossman on the game’s final play to seal a Dallas win.
A stronger effort in the first half might have given the Redskins a win, but the offense failed to establish the run and subsequently the Cowboys controlled the clock for over 20 minutes in the first half and led 20-7 at the break.
The loss sums up the Redskins’ season in that they were once again in a position to win, but fell short. They failed to play the full 60 minutes, lost the turnover battle, and gave up over 400 yards of offense, but still could have won the game if a couple plays had simply swung their way. Yet the numbers were stacked against them and in the end, their initial inability to compete put them in a hole too deep to dig out of.