The Fifth Quarter - Dallas Cowboys
After three quarters of futility, the groundwork was being laid for the opening to the fifth quarter. The Redskins were on their way to yet another collapse in Texas Stadium. Parcells was looking smug on the sidelines (and why not, he was 77-0 when leading at any point of the fourth quarter). Then something strange happened. The Washington Redskins -- Mark Brunell and Santana Moss specifically -- miraculously scored 14 unanswered fourth-quarter points en route to a 14-13 victory.
This was a game of two halves. In the first half, Brunell went 9-of-12 for 56 yards and an interception. In the second half, and more accurately the fourth quarter, Brunell blew up completing 11 of 22 passes for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Santana Moss had a breakout game, beating Roy Williams for 2 touchdowns in the fourth quarter. After going 7 quarters without breaking the plane of the goal line, the Redskins scored twice in 1:11. Moss looked great, however the rest of the receivers were for the most part, non-existent.
Other than Brunell's 25-yard scamper to keep the first scoring drive alive, the running game, and by proxy the offense, sputtered throughout the game. Portis had a paltry 52 yards on 17 carries for a miserable 3.1 yards per carry. Betts had four carries, but fumbled in the waning moments of the first half to squelch the Redskins first decent drive of the game. The Redskins MUST improve these numbers if they are to continue their current winning streak.
The strength of the Washington Redskins is definitely their defense, and it showed Monday night against the Cowboys. The defense blitzed aggressively early, and when Dallas was able to pick up the blitz, they easily transitioned into a coverage team. The pass rush was visibly absent, however the defense was still able to stymie Bledsoe and Company with the exception of one long pass on the Cowboy's first possession of the second half.
Marcus Washington further solidified himself as the leader of the defense, posting a game-high 11 tackles, and Sean Taylor made up for getting beat on the Cowboy's only touchdown by demolishing Patrick Crayton to effectively end the game.
Nick Novak may have had the play of the game. After scoring the second touchdown, Novak sent the kick-off 62 yards towards rookie Tyson Thompson, who promptly broke through the coverage sending memories of past last minute collapses through the collective consciousness of 'Skins fans everywhere. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the rookie Novak made an excellent play to push Thompson out of bounds on the 49, saving the Redskins from another disheartening defeat against Dallas.
Punter Andy Groom and Long Snapper Ethan Albright both had solid outings, and the Redskin coverage units played well, with the exception of the aforementioned break through. The punt unit seemed to just miss blocking punts all night long.
It was an ugly game, but it was a win.
This article was released on 2005-09-19.
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