Redskins-Cowboys instant analysis

Redskins-Cowboys instant analysis
December 19, 2010, 9:09 pm
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Sunday, December 19, 2010, 4:08 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran
Staff writer
CSNwashington.com

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ARLINGTON, Texas Five observations from the Redskins 33-30 loss to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday.

1. If any there was any doubt the Redskins had checked out for the year, it was erased. Banged up on defense and working with a new starting quarterback (Rex Grossman), the Redskins stuck with it even after they trailed by 13 points at halftime and by 20 points early in the third quarter. Grossman looked more comfortable as the game progressed. The offense hit 30 points for the first time this year and looked functional in the second half. The Redskins play in the second half after trailing by 20 points is an indication theyll be competitive the final two games.

2. The Redskins continue to be doomed by bad stretches or lulls in a game. In Week 10, the Eagles led 28-0 after the first quarter and 45-14 at halftime. Two weeks ago at the Giants, New York led 21-0 at the half. It was more of the same against Dallas. The Cowboys outgained the Redskins 281-116 in the first half, building a 20-7 lead that should have been worse if it wasnt for some poor red zone execution. The Redskins started punt-interception-punt and couldnt anything going in the run game (eight attempts for 20 yards). This offense isnt equipped to have to score touchdowns in bunches so an early deficit is usually costly.

3. Chris Cooley going a half without being targeted much less making catches is inexcusable on many fronts. Last week, he was without a catch until the final drive of the game and Sunday, he wasnt even targeted until four minutes remained in the third quarter. Maybe the Redskins realized the error of their ways. Cooley had a productive second half, including his first touchdown since Week 4 in Philadelphia. Look at what the Cowboys did with Jason Witten. They moved him around the field, creating chances and favorable match-ups for him and he had eight catches for 126 yards through three quarters. Fred Davis has become an after-thought in this offense but Cooley cant afford to be.

4. Grossman gets passing marks for his Redskins starting debut but then again, the expectations were pretty low. Once he got his bearings, the passing game just looked smoother. Grossman began the game looking like a guy who hadnt started in two years, which he was. His interception was a bad decision if he was trying to throw it away and he fumbled on the opening drive of the second half while being sacked by DeMarcus Ware. But Grossman made some nice throws and was 8-of-11 for 123 yards in the third quarter and he threw to fourth quarter touchdowns. The sacks in general werent his fault Dallas had unblocked blitzers on at least two of the sacks.

5. Shanahan said he wasnt going to hand out playing time for evaluation purposes only but the Redskins had no choice. Already without Kedric Golston and LaRon Landry, young defensive players Jeremy Jarmon, Kevin Barnes and Perry Riley got major playing time in a game. Barnes played out of position at strong safety when Reed Doughty was injured. The next step is getting players like Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks involved although Banks may be limited because of injury.

Contact Ryan at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com