Fifth Quarter: Cowboys
In what was perhaps the best game the Washington Redskins have played since Joe Gibbs first tenure, they demolished the Cowboys 35-7 to move to 8-6 and keep their playoff hopes alive. It marks the first time that the Skins have swept the season series with Dallas in ten years.
Mark Brunell only completed 12 passes on 20 attempts for 163 yards but four of those passes were for touchdowns. That tied a career mark for Brunell, as he captained the offense well and looked rock solid all game long.
Three of Brunell's touchdown passes went to Chris Cooley and were all before half time. The young H-back continues to make a name for himself league-wide and he continues to endear himself to the Redskin faithful more and more each week. Cooley's six receptions led all Redskin receivers and his three touchdowns were equal to his season total before Sunday.
Santana Moss wasn't a huge factor with only two catches... but they were for 73 yards. Moss may have caught fewer balls over the last few weeks but he continues to be a huge impact player for the Skins. He was brought in to stretch the defense and he has done just that with his incredible long-ball ability. He's just going after the ball and getting it done whenever he's given the opportunity.
Clinton Portis might finally start getting some of the respect that he's earned in 2005. Sunday was his third straight 100-yard rushing game and the running game really seems to have found some identity. Portis ran tough and carried the ball 23 times despite being banged up a few different times. He helped the Redskins offense dominate a Dallas defense that has been solid this year. Washington ran at will, and Portis
It's ironic that Randy Thomas went down late in the fourth quarter with a season-ending broken fibula. Ironic because it destroyed what was the best performance by a Redskin lineman since Joe Jacoby was playing tackle here. The entire offensive line was dominant, but Thomas specifically was devastating all day long with some text book pulls. He will be sorely missed and what a shame for the line to suffer such a huge loss when they are really, really starting to gel.
Ladell Betts also was strong spelling Portis with 44 yards on 12 carries and he also logged the Redskins only touchdown on the ground.
Gregg Williams had a game plan. The Redskin defense executed it to perfection. The defensive mastermind had Dallas reeling from the opening whistle and he never let up. This was a dominant performance from start to finish with several noteworthy performances.
Phillip Daniels broke out on Sunday with 4 sacks and 5 tackles. He also set the tone early by batting a Drew Bledsoe pass into the air that Cornelius Griffin intercepted, and ultimately led to the Redskins' first touchdown. Daniels owned Cowboys tackle Torrin Tucker and was in Bledsoe's face all day.
Surprise, surprise... Marcus Washington stepped it up when the defense needed him. He also sacked Bledsoe twice and intercepted him once. Marcus has become the heart and soul of this defense and is fast becoming one of the most complete linebackers in the league.
Griffin also dominated inside and provided pressure from the middle. Together with Joe Salave'a, Corny stuffed run blocks and penetrated into the backfield consistently. It was the healthiest the Skins front four has been for a while and it showed. The Redskins were able to get a good pass rush from them alone and consequently Bledsoe was running for his life and sacked seven times.
Derrick Frost punted. John Hall kicked. Antonio Brown returned.
There weren't any critical mistakes, but there wasn't anything wonderful either.
It was a wonderful weekend for Redskin fans. Not only did the Redskins beat the Cowboys for the sweep, but the Vikings and Falcons also both lost putting Washington in the sixth and final NFC playoff spot. With two games to go, two victories would mean a Redskin playoff berth.
This article was released on 2005-12-19.
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