Let's all take a deep breath, and - for just a moment - forget that Monday night ever happened. Yes, it was a tough loss. But this is Dallas week.
And for Redskins fans, the prospect of a Dallas game has not felt this good in a decade.
Nothing can match the satisfaction that Skins fans experienced while watching Monday Night Football in Week 2 of last year. The Cowboys, expecting the Skins to perform as if Spurrier were still their coach, treated Washington like a homecoming game, and used the Monday Night platform to honor three of their greatest players in the “Ring of Fame.”
Indeed, the first 56 minutes of the game were all Dallas: It was Texas Stadium on a Monday Night; Aikman, Smith, and Irvin were all honored; Emmitt Smith guest-commentated in the booth; the Cowboys took a 13-0 lead in the 4th quarter, and ABC was quick to point out that Coach Bill Parcells was 77-0 when leading by 13 or more points in the fourth quarter. It was all Dallas, all night.
All Dallas, that is, until the last 3:56. Then it was all Redskins, with Mark Brunell and Santana Moss creating two touchdowns seemingly ex nihilo and giving Washington its most exciting finish of the season. What made it even better was that the Brunell-to-Moss bombs were virtually identical to each other. The scene has been forever sketched in our minds: Moss runs a fly route and whizzes by Aaron Glenn and Roy Williams, Aaron Glenn waves his arms in a futile gesture as Moss brings in the pass from Brunell, and Roy Williams trips over himself as he can only watch Moss from behind—too far away for any chance at a horse collar tackle.
Rinse, let the D do its thing, and repeat. It was magic.
Yes, nothing could match this euphoria for Skins fans—that is, until Week 15 brought the Cowboys into a loud and proud FedEx field. Washington simply walked all over Dallas the entire night. Brunell was in solid form, throwing for 163 yards and 4 touchdowns. Portis carried the ball for 112 yards and had a 5 yard-per-carry average, while Sellers caught another one of his patented 2-yard, goal-line touchdowns. Chris Cooley had a career night on Dallas’ linebackers and secondary, catching 6 passes for 71 yards and 3 touchdowns.
On defense, the Skins made Dallas look like a practice squad, forcing Bledsoe to throw 3 INTs. Marcus Washington sacked Bledsoe twice, and Philip Daniels dropped Bledsoe 4 times. 11 out of Dallas’ 13 drives ended in a punt, a missed field goal, or a turnover. By the time Dallas managed to put a single point on the board, it was the 4th quarter and the score was 35-0.
Troy Aikman, the color commentator for the game, put it this way: "The Redskins have just manhandled the Cowboys and shown they are better prepared and wanted it more. This is about as bad as you can beat a team on both sides of the ball."
As a Redskins fan it is tough to pick a favorite win from last year. Is it Monday Night’s 14-13 thriller, stealing one from the Cowboys on their special homecoming night? Or is it the 35-7 slaughter-fest with playoff implications? Decisions, decisions.
And what about the future? Is it possible that we’ll taste a victory as sweet this season? With the rivalry "renewed," can we expect another nail-biter that will ultimately brings tears of joy to one team and tears of heartbreak to the other? The Skins-Dallas history is rich with tales of close games and heroics, with clutch last-minute performances and heart-wrenching flops. For Redskins fans, Dallas week contains all of the passion, excitement, nostalgia that football drama can offer.
The truth is that anything is possible when Dallas week rolls around. The Cowboys seemed to own us for 8 seasons, but last year could not have been better for Skins fans, nor worse for Cowboys fans.
This is a rivalry that will never die. There may come a decade every now and again where the rest of the nation doesn’t recognize it, but to Washington and Dallas fans, these are the 2 most important weeks of the year.
It’s Dallas week, baby. Come check out the view with us from The Cheap Seats.