Last night the Redskins lost their first game of the season in a dramatic defensive battle between two of the biggest rivals in sports. Depending on the narrative a person went into the game with that is likely to be the story they spin out of the game, and while Grossman is not a good quarterback, Tony Romo did just enough to win with a broken rib, and the two defenses battled down to the wire this isn’t a simple game to diagnose.
While Tony Romo is being lavished with praise this week about how he is a wounded warrior with an enlarged heart Rex Grossman is going to be killed on talk radio, but Grossman passed 37 times and completed 22 of those attempts for 250 yards with one TD and one INT while Romo passed 36 times completing 22 for 255 yards and an INT. Grossman did have the fumble at the end of the game, but when Romo has been in that situation in the past he has done the same thing. The two quarterbacks had comparable games, but one team won and the other lost and that makes one a hero and the other the goat.
The real story of this game isn’t how the offenses played it is how the defenses forced them to play. Every time Kyle Shanahan figured out what Rob Ryan was doing to stop him and the Redskins started moving the ball Rob Ryan had a counter. It will be interesting to see how the match-up at FedEx Field works out and which coordinator does a better job of reviewing the tape from this game. The Redskins were never able to have much of a sustained drive, and because of this the defense ended up on the field far too much.
The Redskins defense did a good job of containing Tony Romo and the Cowboys passing attack, but due to being worn down near the end of the third quarter and into the fourth they allowed 115 rushing yards to Felix Jones. The Cowboys ability to establish the running game might have been the difference in this game, but the Redskins defense still deserves credit for not allowing the Cowboys to reach the endzone.
The real question this game brings forth is did the Redskins lose the game or did the Cowboys win it? This is a game that was going to be decided by the defenses and when the Cowboys needed a stop to keep the Redskins from putting anymore points on the board they got it. When the Redskins had the Cowboys backed up on 3rd down on their own 30 yard line with 21 yards needed for a first down they failed. The all out pressure worked and flushed Romo from the pocket, but Dez Bryant was able to get open near the first down marker and this ended up being the deciding play of the game as the Cowboys would go on to score the winning field goal and then force a fumble once the Redskins got the ball back.
The Redskins still have a winning record and can still have a better than expected season. The nature of Washington DC is to overreact. People had the Redskins in the playoffs after they went 2-0 and it is certain that people won’t have them winning another game all season after this loss. The truth is the Redskins and Cowboys are two evenly matched teams. The Redskins went into Dallas and battled but weren’t able to come away with the victory. It is tough to win on the road in the NFL and while the Redskins could have and maybe should have won this game the Cowboys were the better team for this one game. The important thing is how the Redskins respond next week when they travel to St. Louis to take on the 0-3 Rams.