When the Redskins traded for speedy wide receiver Santana Moss in the offseason, the team expected the offense to develop a big-play mentality. On Monday night, in front of a national television audience, Moss and the Redskins' offense did just that in coming from behind to defeat the Dallas Cowboys 14-13.
Moss caught two touchdowns in the final four minutes, one on a 39-yard pass and the other a 70-yard bomb from Mark Brunell that proved to be the winning score.
The offense struggled most of the game on Monday, but Moss said the unit clicked when it mattered most: with the game on the line.
"We have a lot of guys who can do a lot, and we just go out and say, 'What are we here for? We're not here to hold all of our talent in,'" Moss said. "Coaches are here to give us a chance to make plays. If you give players a chance, all they can do is come out big."
Moss admitted that frustration set in midway through the game. But players kept encouraging each other and the team fought through the adversity.
"When things weren't going our way, we got a little frustrated at times," he said. "But that's just the competitor in all of us. I hate being out there and going through the motions and not accomplishing what I need to accomplish. I got my composure. We just stayed with it and we never stopped believing."
For the season, Moss leads the Redskins with nine catches for 255 yards, a remarkable 28.3 yards per catch, and the two touchdowns.
Proving his value even more, Moss has also offered to return punts if needed. He was an accomplished kick returner in college and with the New York Jets from 2001-04.
"I told them I would be comfortable with returning punts if I was needed," Moss said. "If my role is using me as both a wide receiver and punt returner, I've done it before. I just always have it in the back of my mind that I always have to go out there and be ready."
Safety Pierson Prioleau suffered a pulled hamstring in the first quarter and did not return to the game. The injury occurred on a third-down play in which Prioleau penetrated into the backfield on a run play. He nearly chased down Julius Jones, but his hamstring suddenly tightened up.
Prioleau fell to the ground as Jones rushed for a first down. In frustration, Prioleau tossed his helmet about 10 yards. He was helped from the field by trainers.
With Ryan Clark inactive due to a knee injury, safety Matt Bowen replaced Prioleau at strong safety,
Prioleau's status will be updated by the team on Tuesday.
Kicker John Hall was declared inactive for Monday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys and rookie Nick Novak made his NFL debut. Hall missed the game due to a quad injury suffered in last week's season opener against the Chicago Bears.
Novak nailed both of his extra points in the game. He also had a game-saving tackle on a kickoff return late in the game.
Also declared inactive for the Redskins were safety Ryan Clark, running back Nehemiah Broughton, linebacker Zak Keasey, offensive lineman Jim Molinaro and defensive linemen Brandon Noble and Nic Clemons.
Clark and Noble both are recovering from knee injuries. Noble, who made the trip to Dallas, had surgery last week on his knee and is expected to be sidelined 4-6 weeks.
The third quarterback for the Redskins wa Jason Campbell.
The Cowboys listed running back Marion Barber, fullback Lousaka Polite, linebacker Kevin Burnett, guard Ben Noll, defensive end Jay Ratliff, guard Stephen Peterman and defensive tackle Thomas Johnson.
The third quarterback for the Cowboys was Drew Henson.
For LaVar Arrington, 2004 was a lost season. With a nationally televised matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, the Redskins' Pro Bowl linebacker hoped to re-emerge as one of the league's top defensive players.
Arrington started Monday night's game at outside linebacker and made an impact on the game's first play. He ran across field after the snap and chased down running back Julius Jones for a tackle.
It turned out to be Arrington's only tackle of the game.
In the week leading up to the game, Arrington avoided talk of the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry. That's because his comeback from arthroscopic knee surgery and his desire to be part of a winning team have taken precedent.
"My rivalry is a winning season," he said. "That's what I want--try to get a winning season. Every game is equally important, so I'm not going to get caught up in the rivalry. There's no added incentive other than to win. I'm just going to focus on what I have to do to win."