Washington’s NFL team owned first place in the NFC East heading into Week 13. A primetime win against the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field on Dec. 7 would solidify their stance atop the division.
Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) fumbles the ball on a kickoff return setting up a Dallas Cowboys touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. The Cowboys defeated the Redskins 19-16. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The game started slow, but a series of mind-boggling plays in the final minutes left Washington fans stunned and the Cowboys with a 19-16 victory.
Washington’s first drive was awful; Kirk Cousins was sacked twice by Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence in the first three plays. Lawrence forced a fumble on the second sack, but luckily, Cousins was able to recover the ball rather than Dallas gaining possession in scoring position.
There were a total of seven punts in the first quarter, as neither team was able to establish anything offensively.
Midway through the second quarter, a 37-yard reception by Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams led to a 38-yard field goal by kicker Dan Bailey that finally broke a scoreless tie. Despite a sluggish offense, Washington managed to end the first half with points when kicker Dustin Hopkins made a 45-yard field goal as time expired.
Hopkins and Bailey continued to trade field goals in the second half. With just under seven minutes to play, Washington led Dallas, 9-6.
Wide receiver Dez Bryant caught a diving 42-yard reception—his first catch of the game—to move the Cowboys deep into the red zone. With under six minutes left to play, and the Cowboys just one yard away from the end zone, it looked like the game’s first touchdown would be scored. However, led by defensive end Chris Baker, Washington’s defensive line was able to hold Dallas to another field goal.
With less than two minutes in the game, Dallas punted the ball to wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson ran to the 24-yard-line, but made a critical mistake when he reversed in an attempt to make something out of nothing. Jackson was tackled inside the 10-yard-line, fumbled the ball and Dallas recovered at the 15-yard-line.
Two plays later, McFadden rushed for a six-yard touchdown.
However, Jackson was determined to redeem himself. On Washington’s next drive, with 44 seconds left to play, Cousins threw a perfect pass to Jackson for a 28-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 16.
It still wasn’t over. Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead returned the ensuing kick 46 yards to give his team good field position and a chance to win the game. In five plays, Cassel drove his offense just barely into field goal range, and Bailey nailed a 54-yard field goal with nine seconds left for the win.
The Philadelphia Eagles, NY Giants and Washington’s NFL team are now in a three-way tie at 5-7 for first place in the NFC East. Washington currently sits atop the NFC East as it holds the tiebreaker over New York and Philadelphia due to conference record. The Dallas Cowboys are just one game behind at 4-8.
Up next, Washington faces the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Dec. 13.