Final Score: Washington 35 - Dallas 7
The Dallas Cowboys (8-6) peaked early in today's game. The absolute zenith of the Cowboy's performance was recorded during the four or five seconds right before QB Drew Bledsoe snapped the ball on the Cowboys first offensive play. After that, the precipitous decline in their play was so steep, the only approximation is when Wile E. Coyote is floating momentarily in the air, legs still churning, after skidding off the edge of a cliff. Seconds later the coyote finds himself plunging toward the earth at a rapid speed with no chance of salvation. This was the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. They spun their legs in the air for a few seconds, trying to delay the inevitable, then ended up battered and bruised at the bottom of a canyon.
Playing the Road Runner to Dallas' Wile E. Coyote were the Washington Redskins (8-6). The Skins so dominated the game that by half-time, most of America was watching Simpson's reruns. The Cowboys first offensive play was emblematic of the whole game. Drew Bledsoe took the snap, turned quickly to fire a short pass, and if Dallas had known how the rest of the game was going to go then, they would've packed their bags and headed home before the ball even made it to the line of scrimmage. Once the ball got there it was tipped, intercepted and Dallas started its free-fall into oblivion.
The Redskins were ready and prepared, their players played like the playoffs were on the line. From the start they won the battle at the line of scrimmage and repeatedly hammered RB Clinton Portis into a soft Dallas defense that seemed to be contemplating its Christmas shopping instead of playing a division rival. The numbers are irrelevant, but for the record TE Chris Cooley caught 3 TD passes, FB Mike Sellers caught another one, and RB Ladell Betts added a TD on the ground. Portis eclipsed 100 yards rushing and kept the Redskins moving forward all day. TE Jason Witten scored a meaningless 4th quarter TD in an attempt to save a little dignity on the day. Mission not accomplished, the humiliation was complete by that time.
On defense, the Redskins so thoroughly whipped the Cowboys offense, that no one would've batted an eye if Bill Parcells had brought in QB Tony Romo early in the 3rd quarter. LT Torrin Tucker was wasting oxygen by being on the field and risking the long-term health of Bledsoe, and the rest of the line just followed his lead. Sacks, penalties, uninspired play, an embarrassment of a performance that very well could've torpedoed a season.
Suffice it to say that Dallas showed up for the game in body, but in no way showed up mentally to play the game. Blame is so evenly distributed that to pin down any one player or group would be useless. This was a collapse of monumental proportions by a team with everything to play for, a game that will be remembered by Cowboys fans for its staggering ineptitude.
After witnessing this cartoon performance by the Cowboys, what they need is a cartoon-like resurrection. Wile E. Coyote falls off the mountain at least once an episode, but it never kills him, he's always back next week. I don't think the Dallas Cowboys will be so lucky, their season likely died today.