COMMENTARY | With no Washington Redskins game to watch last Sunday, many fans instead watched the Dallas Cowboys host the undefeated Denver Broncos, hoping to see a blowout. Redskins fans did not get their wish.
Quarterback Tony Romo threw for 506 yards and 5 touchdowns in a thrilling 51-48 loss. While the Cowboys may have lost, it shows what the team is capable of. A similar effort against the Redskins could get ugly for Mike Shanahan's squad.
Don't despair though, Redskins fans. Despite looking like one of the best teams in the NFL last week, the Cowboys can still be beaten. Here are the reasons why the Redskins can get the win In Dallas.
Cowboys are still a losing team
Seeing how well Dallas played Sunday you would think they were a 4-1 team, but they're not. In fact, at 2-3, they have a losing record. Their only two wins this season came against winless New York and the hapless St. Louis Rams. They have played undefeated teams like Kansas City and Denver tough, but they also lost to an up and down San Diego team.
Excluding Dallas' 31-7 win over the Rams, every game the Cowboys have played has been close. Dallas clearly plays up (or down) to their competition. Dallas did not establish themselves as contenders last week, they merely stayed true to form by playing up to the Broncos. You will not see this type of game out of the Cowboys every week.
Giving their best shot
Denver became the team to beat this season right from the opening kickoff with a 49-27 win over the defending champion Baltimore Ravens. The Broncos have won every week with relative ease until last week's dogfight in Dallas.
When a team is established as one of the league's best, every opponent wants to give them their best shot. Good teams want to show they are genuine contenders and bad teams want to prove themselves and add legitimacy to their season. Because of that, opponents raise their level of play in a performance not necessarily indicative of how good they may actually be.
Remember when the undefeated New Orleans Saints came to FedEx Field in 2009 to play the 3-8 Redskins? The Redskins dominated most of the game, losing 33-30 in overtime only after a series of bizarre misfortunes swung the tide in favor of the Saints.
What did this game prove about either team? Nothing. The Saints finished the season 13-3 and won the Super Bowl, the Redskins went 4-12.
So can we assume the Cowboys will sleepwalk through a big prime-time rivalry after giving their best effort last week? No, but you cannot assume Dallas will throw for over 500 yards or put up 48 points again either.
Romo being Romo
Romo had a fantastic game last week and in many ways outplayed Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. He had 506 passing yards to Manning's 414 , he threw five touchdowns to Manning's four, and both quarterbacks threw one interception. Everyone, however, is harping on Romo's interception as the reason why the Cowboys lost.
For most quarterbacks, that last interception would be dismissed as an unfortunate end to an otherwise great game.
But not for Romo.
Romo has earned a reputation for making mistake in the most inopportune moments . Now instead of celebrating the incredible game he played, people are blaming Romo for blowing a game on an interception that wasn't even entirely his fault.
A great quarterback would take that scrutiny and use it to motivate himself for an even better week.
But not Romo.
While a lot of the criticism surrounding Romo is unfair, until he proves he can win when it matters most, his reputation will always follow him. When it comes time to prove the doubters wrong, he chokes. When the Cowboys traveled to FedEx last season with the division title on the line, Romo threw three interceptions. It would not be surprising to see him have a similar performance to last week, or blow it yet again.
While everyone is blaming Romo, no one seems to be paying attention to the fact that the defense gave up 51 points and 517 yards. The Cowboys defense is currently ranked 28 th in the NFL and are 31 st against the pass.
On Thanksgiving Day last season, Griffin went into 'Jerry World' and destroyed the Cowboys with 311 passing yards and four touchdowns . He may still be trying to return to last season's form, but this is a great matchup for Griffin and the Redskins' pass attack.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had an interesting take on last week's loss to Denver, calling it a "moral victory" for Romo and the team. That's not something you typically hear at the pro level. A loss is a loss. If you failed to win, you should be working to get better, not happily accepting it because you played well.
If Jones' comments are in any way reflective of the sentiment in the locker room, then Dallas will not be ready for this game. That mentality just does not work in the NFL. Any time a player or coach feels satisfied, they take their foot off the gas and the level of preparation drops off.
Can you ever imagine Bill Belichick calling a loss a moral victory? What about Tom Brady? Or, to keep it relevant to Dallas, what about Tom Landry? A team that is satisfied with a loss will keep losing.
To be fair, Jones has backed away from his original comments, but it would not be a stretch to think he was echoing how the team felt. Until the Cowboys actually win something, however, last week proves nothing.
JJ Regan is earning his master's degree in journalism at American University and is a current freelancer for Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Follow him on Twitter @TheDC_Sportsguy
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