Quick Links

Redskins Cowboys Live Game Blog

Redskins Cowboys Live Game Blog

Pregame

--The Cowboys were booed lustily when they took the field, just as they have been for the past 40+ years. Good to see that some things never change.

--The Cowboy contingent here is quite sizeable, although I've seen much, much worse. The Skins have a solid home field advantage despite some pockets of blue.

--I have a pretty good feeling about this one. The only hesitation I have is the thought of the Green Bay-Chicago game last week. Even that one was different in that the Bears were going with a full game plan and weren't holding out anyone. However, it does go to show you that it doesn't always matter when one team has something to "play for" and the other one doesn't.

First Quarter

13:55—A good scoop by Moss picks up 19 on third and eight. Collins had a good four or five seconds to throw and found Moss cutting over the middle.

10:47—Collins continues to throw low as Caldwell can't quite scoop one off of the turf on a third and 12. Frost punts into the end zone and Dallas takes over at the 20 with Romo at quarterback.

10:27—Third and nine. This is where Romo pulls something out of his ass with annoying regularity.

9:30—Not this time. An eight-yard completion to Whitten on third and nine has them punting.

8:56—McBriar is a great punter. The Skins put together a decent drive before punting, Dallas goes three and out and the Skins are all the way back at their 25 to start the drive.

7:18—Collins is like a pitcher that you'd call sneaky fast. He just threw one to Cooley that didn't look like he threw very hard, but it sure got there in a hurry.

6:35—Interference negates a Dallas interception—actually the interference caused the pick. First down at the 23.

Portis 23 run (Suisham kick)
Redskins 7, Cowboys 0

Portis does a Sean Taylor-like flip into the end zone to punctuate the score. That was a pretty impressive 75-yard drive there. Collins lined up in shotgun on first down a time or two and he is throwing with velocity and accuracy. Portis, was running OK before the TD run. At 23 yards, I think that's his longest of the year.

6:22—Springs gets his fourth pick in four games. He just jumped in front of the receiver and took away the pass.

4:56—They're measuring after a pass to Cooley on third and four. They got it by the hair of the nose of the ball.

4:41—The Skins give it right back on a fumble by Portis. It looked like a simple short off tackle play, but the ball came flying out. A big momentum change in favor of Dallas there after the Skins' score and INT.

4:30—A false start and then a tackle of Barber for a loss of five gets things going back the Skins' way for the moment.

2:17—Dallas goes three and out, but the Redskins still lose over 50 yards of field position after the punt and a penalty on the return.

2:00—The get the ball right back into Portis' hands, but he loses three on a swing pass. He's out, Betts is in.

1:20—A good picked by Betts on the draw has it third and short.

0:30—The Skins get a good spot on a pass to Moss to pick up the first.

End of first quarter
Redskins 7, Cowboys 0

Second Quarter

14:20—Wow, what a grab by Moss. He flat laid out for 35 yards. Dallas will challenge and, from one angle, it looks like they might have a shot at winning it.

14:26—Overturned. Again, can't complain about it.

14:00—Moss gets a lot of it back, going low to scoop up a Collins pas for 21 on third and 10.

12:47—So far, the Redskins are winning the battle at the line. They're pushing the Dallas defense back big time and Collins has all kinds of time to throw. Of course, as I type that Betts loses one and it's third and seven.

11:20—Intentional grounding forces a field goal attempt.

FG Suisham 46
Redskins 10, Cowboys 0

No doubt about that one. Suisham's back to being a keeper.

11:12—Romo is not sharp at all. He's probably still in the game to try to get something positive going. He's been wild high and low.

10:23—The two first downs on this Dallas drive have been via pass interference and illegal contact. Romo has completed three passes all day.

9:26—It looks like Dallas is going to win another challenge. A circus catch by Hurd looked good from here, but the ref on the spot called it incomplete. Unless the replay reveals some juggling that I didn't see, Dallas will have the ball around the Washington 25.

9:26—Yes, Dallas wins the challenge.

8:20—I'm not sure how long Barber is going to last with his running style, but he's impressive now.

7:49—Third and seven coming up.

7:15—A good play at the last second by Doughty saves the TD and forces a field goal attempt. Folk misses from 23 and a minor melee ensues. It was blocked, I think, by Golston. The Redskins dodge a bullet and take over at the 20.

6:32—Collins loses a fumble, giving the Cowboys another chance. It looks like Gibbs will challenge that his arm was going forward, but there doesn't seem to be a chance that it will be overturned. It will be Dallas ball at the Washington 19.

5:45—Barber isn't going to get anywhere near the 19 he needs to get 1,000 for the year. Looking at him and Portis, you can't tell which is the Pro Bowl back and which one is staying home.

5:00—Fletcher drops a pick six, showing his linebacker hands. Dallas will try a field goal.

FG Folk 37
Redskins 10, Cowboys 3

4:24—The Redskins have outgained Dallas on the ground 80 yards to 2.

2:00—Dallas will start back at the one after a great play by Thrash to tip the ball out of the end zone. He saved Frost's bacon on that one. I think the Redskins will get another score before halftime.

1:09—Not sure why Gibbs didn't call a timeout after the first-down running play.

0:49—First and 10 at the 45. It would be nice to have back that time from the first-down running play.

0:25—A nice grab by Moss for 12 and a first down. The replay booth will challenge. Overturned, third and 10.

0;18—Moss scoops up a low one at the 30—they're in field goal range.

0:09—A great sliding catch by Caldwell has time in TD range now.

0:05—Field goal attempt coming.

FG Suisham 23
Redskins 13, Cowboys 3

A nice drive to finish up the half, although a TD there would have finished off the Cowboys.

End of Second Quarter
Redskins 13, Cowboys 3

Third Quarter

Doug Williams is up in the press box, complete with his Tampa Bay Bucs shirt. I'm not sure what he's doing here except perhaps some advance scouting. I didn't think they did that from the press box. Nothing against Doug by any means, but he does work for another team.

30 minutes to the road to Seattle.

14:27—Romo nailed one to Witten, but the Dallas run game is still going nowhere.

13:44—Austin drops one, perhaps seeing #30 out of the corner of his eye. Dallas punts.

13:33—Randle El gets a nice return by going up the middle. I think he heads for the sideline too quickly sometimes trying for the big play when he can pick up a good chunk of yardage going straight ahead. He got 20 there and the Skins are at their own 36.

12:40—Collins hangs in the pocket despite fury all around him and calmly dumps off to Portis for nine and a first down near midfield.

9:16—The Redskins have a decent drive going as Collins is still passing the ball. Third and four.

8:46—Collins throws a dart to Randle El for a first down at the six. You can't tell who is the Pro Bowl QB here today, either.

7:20—Ports with one and then four to third and goal at the one. Time to finish it off.

Portis 1 run (Suisham kick)
Redskins 20, Cowboys 3

And Portis does, standing up.

6:42—Tony Romo is done for the day as Brad Johnson comes in at QB. He commands a three and out. It's unlikely that the Redskins will honor the white flag being waved by the Cowboys.

3:36—We're debating as to when the last time was that the Redskins clinched a playoff spot with a win at home. It's been at least since 1990. One scribe up here says that the regular season finale against Buffalo was the playoff clincher that year, I'm not so sure.

1:42—Another frozen rope by Collins for a first down to Moss. The Redskins are preserving the lead by throwing the ball. What a novel concept.

I'll check numbers the next time they come out, but I don't see Dallas resting many defensive starters.

End of third quarter
Redskins 20, Cowboys 3

Fourth Quarter

14:49—Khary Campbell makes a one-armed tackle of Crayton on the punt. He's the ace special teams demon.

14:00—Jones going sideways and is hit for a loss of four. A delay of game follows and it's third and very long.

11:58—Collins with a beautiful rope to Moss for the icing on the cake.

Moss 42 pass from Collins
Redskins 27, Cowboys 3

The Cowboys have minus-five yards rushing at this point.

9:30—Dallas putting together an extended garbage time drive. Witten is still in as are Jones and Crayton, but most of the other starters are taking the rest of the day off. It's safe to say, though, that the Redskins held Dallas at "full strength" (minus TO and their center) to three points through two and a half quarters of play.

8:40—A big third-down sack by Chris Wilson forces a field goal attempt.

FG Folk 30
Redskins 27, Cowboys 6

8:00—Portis now at 25 carries for 104 yards after a nice seven-yard pickup.

7:46—Not many people have left despite the rain and the score. It looks like a little celebration is in order. Again, it's been at least 18 years, maybe longer, since the Skins won at home to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

6:30—K. Campbell again with the tackle on the punt, this time catching Crayton from behind as he tried to make a move.

6:13—After creeping up near positive yardage in the running game, Jones is nailed for a loss of one. They're right around zero yards.

4:44—Johnson hangs up a long one to an open Austin, giving Smoot a chance to recover and knock the ball away. Dallas will punt.

3:00—I think that was the Redskins first three and out of the game. With a 21-point lead I don't suppose it will be too damaging.

2:00—The Vikings rallied to tie the Broncos in the very late going, it looks like that one's headed to OT. It's a good thing the Redskins are taking care of business.

2:00—The Skins will be in Seattle on Saturday at 4:30, so my guess a couple of days ago was wrong.

1:58—Johnson just can't throw the ball over 20 yards, and that includes the angle of the pass, so unless it's straight his limit is about 10.

1:22—Dallas turns it over on downs and the Skins will go into the victory formation.

90,910 in attendance on a pretty wet day. Not bad.

Final score
Redskins 27, Cowboys 6

Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 23, four days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 10
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 31
—Training camp starts (7/27) 95
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 140

In search of someone, anyone, to stop the run

One of the areas the Redskins needed to improve last year was their rushing defense on first down. In 2015, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down. That was the worst performance in the league. It’s pretty tough to play defense when a handoff makes it second and five. The Saints, who had a historically bad defense that year, were second, fiving up 4.8 yards a pop.

Well, it was no better for the Redskins defense in 2016. Again, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down, again the worst performance in the league.  Remember, this is on first down, when teams are most likely to run.

The Redskins’ problems on third down were well known. They were dead last in the league allowing first downs on 46.6 percent of third-down attempts. For context, an average performance on third down is allowing about 38 percent and the best teams are around 35 percent.

That doesn’t tell the whole story, however. The Redskins weren’t very good at getting teams to third down. They allowed first downs on 33.8 percent of their opponents’ second-down plays. That put them in the bottom third of the league. Again, you don’t have to look too hard to connect the dots to link that back to the five yards per rushing play on first down. Second and five is a piece of cake most of the time.

You don’t need an advanced degree in statistical analysis to figure out that the Redskins defense isn’t going to get much better if they can’t stop teams from running the ball on first down.

It’s easy to point to the defensive line, which has not been very good, and say that the problem is there. That certainly has something to do with it. But the Redskins didn’t have a very good D-line in 2014 and they allowed 4.1 yards per first-down rushing attempt, a performance that was right at the league average.

The factor that was common in 2015 and 2016 and was different in 2014 was the defensive coordinator. It’s possible that opposing teams found a flaw to exploit in Joe Barry’s scheme that wasn’t there in Jim Haslett’s (which surely had flaws in other places).

But X’s and O’s can only get you so far. The Redskins will be looking to take a defensive lineman early and perhaps use an additional pick or two at the position later in the draft. While getting one who can rush the passer would be a plus, they need a run stuffer who can take snaps on first down and bottle up the ground game.

The focus in the draft will be on the first-round pick but, as has been discussed here many times, that pick is unlikely to be a defensive lineman. There isn’t likely to be one at 17 who would represent good value. That could mean that the Redskins’ second- or third-round pick, perhaps an interior lineman like Caleb Brantley of Florida, Larry Ogunjobi of Charlotte, or Montravius Adams of Auburn, is just as important to the team’s success as the first-round pick.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 22, five days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 20
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 32
—Training camp starts (7/27) 96
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 141

The Redskins week that was

Redskins full 2017 schedule released—Even with the Caps and Wizards in full playoff mode, the DMV stops to take a look and see when the Redskins will be playing. The Thanksgiving game was surprising. It’s another working day but I worked at various places since I was 14 and last year was the first time I’ve had to work on Thanksgiving so I can’t complain too much about working two in a row. It’s a small price to pay for having the best job in the world.

Don't count out any RB for Redskins at 17—Yeah, I know that NFL teams aren’t supposed to take running backs in the first round any more. But that is one of those trends that comes and goes. In 2013 and 2014 there were no RBs taken in the first. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott in the last couple of years began to shift the thinking. If the Redskins think that Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey can help them win games more than any other player on the board they should pull the trigger.

Rise of Patrick Mahomes could bring big payoff for Redskins—It seems likely that quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky will be taken before the Redskins pick at No. 17 goes on the clock. That means that two players in whom the Redskins might be interested will be available, pushed back by the quarter backs. Could Mahomes, out of Texas Tech, push a third player back to Washington. The buzz is that a team might grab him in the first half of the first round.

The Redskins' five best salary cap bargains for 2017—When I started pulling the numbers for this post I thought I’d find more key players with salaries of under $1 million. I only found three and one of them is the kicker. This means that they don’t have very many late-round or undrafted players who are contributing a lot of value. They need more out of players like Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis and Maurice Harris. That is how a team thrives in the salary cap era. A couple of Saturday picks could make or break this draft.

Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often—There are a lot of ways the first 16 picks of this draft can work out. It seems almost certain that everyone’s favorite first-round pick, a stud defensive lineman, won’t be a realistic option on the board. This could send things in an odd direction for the Redskins. It’s fun to do a mock and I’ll do one or two more prior to draft day but there are too many variables to think that it has a high degree of accuracy. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it