There was a buzz in the air at FedEx Field that hadn’t been felt all season. Maybe it was an effort that fans hadn’t seen in weeks, or maybe it was just a game against the Dallas Cowboys that brought out the fire in both the Washington Redskins and their diehard fans.

Whatever it was, for 60 minutes on Nov. 20, the Redskins (3-7) put a failing season aside to produce their most competitive game of the season. But in the end it wasn’t enough as a 27-24 defeat zapped the life out of the 80,122 in attendance.

The Cowboys jumped out to a 10-0 lead but, behind a surprisingly effective Rex Grossman, the Redskins battled back, taking a 14-10 lead into halftime. After being reinserted as the starter last week, Grossman was in top form, firing strikes downfield and moving the Washington offense efficiently for most of the game.

Trailing by a touchdown to start the fourth quarter, Grossman threw an interception right into the hands of a Cowboys defender, the type of miscues that have defined Grossman’s season this year. But instead of folding, Washington fought back, marching 94 yards in 12 plays on their next possession to even the game at 24-24 after a short touchdown toss from Grossman to Donte Stallworth which sent FedEx Field’s crowd into frenzy.

The extra point was successful to send the game into overtime. But kicker Graham Gano missed a 52-yard field goal to set Dallas up for a 42-yard march that would end in a 39-yard field goal from Dan Bailey that granted the Cowboys (6-4) a sweep over their longtime divisional rivals.

“You play for those moments,” a somber Grossman told reporters afterward. “I’m disappointed we didn’t get a victory. I enjoyed myself being in that Redskins-Cowboys rivalry game, fighting with my teammates, the support from the fans. It’s extremely disappointing. We’ve gone on a losing streak (six consecutive defeats), but at the same time I enjoyed myself. It was a very interesting time. Playing in this rivalry, it is the best in the NFL. extremely, extremely disappointed we didn’t win, but we fought our off.”

Washington will head west next to battle the Seattle Seahawks (4-6) at CenturyLink Field on Nov. 27.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO