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Skins media blasts team, but not much credit for Cowboys

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How was the Cowboys victory perceived by the Washington media? Mostly with questions about having the right players to run the Al Saunders offense, questions about Mark Brunell and disdain for a defense that can't get the opposing offenses off the field. Almost every article focused in on one sequence that encapsulated the problems in Washington.

The Washington Redskins faced third and nine at the Dallas Cowboys 21-yard line late in the third quarter, when quarterback Mark Brunell lofted a wobbly pass toward tight end Chris Cooley in double coverage near the end zone. Trailing 17-10, this was their best chance to salvage something out of their first two weeks of the season -- yet another crucial third-down sequence -- and they failed again.

The pass was easily intercepted by safety Roy Williams at the 1. The Cowboys then drove 99 yards for a touchdown on their way to a 27-10 win, leaving the Redskins (0-2) in an early hole in the NFC East. On their drive, the Cowboys also faced a key third-down play. But they converted on third and 10 from their 34, picking up 26 yards on a screen pass. On the next play, quarterback Drew Bledsoe hit Terry Glenn for a 40-yard touchdown. That sequence typified Washington's winless season.


Of course, viewing it from our side, the Redskins should've never even been in the position to make it close before that sequence. The Dallas offense was dominating play except for two crucial problems. Penalties and dropped passes. The latter problem is hopefully a blip on the radar. The former problem is something that is a troubling trend through the first two fames. The Cowboys have to get a handle on the penalty problem.

I usually like Mike Wilbon on PTI, not because I usually agree with him; I don't. But his personality meshed with Kornheiser's personality makes for an interesting show. When I read his columns, though, his personality and banter with Kornheiser aren't on display, so the substance must stand on its own. His column today makes me wonder if he watched the same game as I did. Certainly most observers would recognize that Dallas dominated the game and was only held back by its own mistakes, yet somehow the Wilbon column had the feel of dismissing the Cowboys as just another team, with little redeeming value for the rest of the year. Maybe it's just a case of me being over-sensitive to slights about my team, but paragraphs like this make you wonder.

But I don't know any Vikings or Cowboys defenders (okay, maybe Roy Williams) who'll be punching a ticket to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Vikings and Cowboys, defensively, are okay.

Perhaps Wilbon is just a non-believer in the Dallas defense at this point. Which isn't that big of a sin considering week one in Jacksonville. But if he can't recognize the talents of players like Terence Newman, DeMarcus Ware, Bradie James and Greg Ellis, among others, that's short-sighted. More Wilbon:
Two weeks in, it's just a bunch of dump-offs to the backs and quick screens. Brunell hasn't thrown one of those rainbow deep balls in two weeks. You know how the Raiders (well, at least the old Raiders) like to play vertical football? The Redskins and Cowboys are both playing horizontal football.

Excuse me, the Cowboys are playing horizontal football? I guess a 40-yard TD by Terry Glenn isn't considered vertical, or a 34-yard catch by Glenn to set up another TD isn't vertical. Another 40-yard pass to Terry Glenn that was incomplete because of a pass interference penalty on Washington that set up another TD isn't vertical? Sheesh.