Mark Brunell dropped back to pass and scanned the Texas Stadium end zone--the same end zone where, one year ago, he had tossed two dramatic touchdown passes to Santana Moss to steal a memorable win over the Dallas Cowboys.
This time, the Cowboys' 27-10 lead on Sunday Night Football was too much for the Redskins to overcome.
And in the game's waning moments, Brunell hoped to give the offense some positive momentum. His efforts proved fruitless, as the Cowboys sacked him for the sixth time on the game's final play.
The Redskins dropped to 0-2 on the season and last place in the NFC East. The team finds itself in an early-season hole.
"We're going through an extremely tough time right now," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "We have to find a way to win a game. That's our whole focus. We have to find a way out of this."
The Redskins' offense struggled against the Cowboys, producing just 245 total yards, 152 passing yards and three points. Mark Brunell was 18-of-33 for 197 yards with one costly interception.
Washington's only touchdown came on a 100-yard touchdown return by Rock Cartwright in the second quarter.
Perhaps the most frustrating statistic of all: The Redskins' offense was just 2-of-14 on third-down conversions.
Defensively, the Redskins could not generate consistent pressure on Dallas quarterback Drew Bledsoe, sacking him only once. He was 19-of-38 for 237 yards and two touchdowns.
Dallas rushed for 138 yards, with Julius Jones leading the way with 94 yards on 20 carries.
Bledsoe, Jones and the Cowboys' offense put pressure on the Redskins' defense in the early going, and Bledsoe looked comfortable in the pocket in directing the Dallas offense. He guided the Cowboys downfield on a 14-play, 59-yard drive that included a defensive holding call on Mike Rumph and an unnecessary roughness penalty on Cornelius Griffin.
But with the Cowboys facing a 3rd-and-goal at the Washington 8-yard line, Rumph made up for his penalty by knocking a potential touchdown pass out of Terrell Owens's hands. The Cowboys had to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Mike Vanderjagt.
Later in the first quarter, Dallas scored on its second offensive drive of the game. Bledsoe found Terry Glenn for a 34-yard pickup to the Redskins' 4-yard line and, Ooe play later, he threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton. It appeared Crayton ran straight into Taylor, then pushed off to get open for Bledsoe, but no penalty was called.
After two 3-and-outs to open the game, the Redskins' offense began to find some success late in the first quarter. Brunell connected on a 15-yard pass to Mike Sellers and a 7-yard pass to Santana Moss on the first two plays of the drive.
Two unnecessary roughness penalties on the Cowboys--on consecutive plays-advanced the Redskins downfield. Brunell was then sacked by Marcus Spears, forcing a 3rd-and-18 at the Dallas 35-yard line. Brunell threw a short pass in the flat to Ladell Betts for a 14-yard pickup, so the Redskins settled for a 39-yard field goal by John Hall.
Midway through the second quarter, the Cowboys took advantage of a pass interference penalty on Kenny Wright to get in scoring position again. Glenn ran a deep route and had to hold up to catch Bledsoe' pass, and Wright ran into him. The referee threw the flag and the penalty gave Dallas a 1st-and-goal at the Redskins' 4-yard line.
The Redskins' defense stiffened, stopping three runs up the middle by Marion Barber. Dallas opted to go for it on fourth-down, and this time Barber found his way into the end zone, giving the Cowboys a 17-3 lead.
It didn't take long for the Redskins to respond. Cartwright took the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, cutting Dallas's lead to 17-10. Cartwright found ample running room to the right, then followed a key block by Mike Pucillo and Demetric Evans into open field.
Cartwright broke a tackle at midfield by kicker Shaun Suisham and defender Jacques Reeves and showed impressive speed in outracing the Cowboys to the end zone. One of the first players to greet Cartwright? Clinton Portis, who sat out the game to rest a shoulder injury.
The kickoff return appeared to give the Redskins some momentum. The defense shut down the Cowboys' offense on the subsequent drive, with Sean Taylor leveling a punishing hit on Owens to force fourth down and a punt.
On the Redskins' next drive, Brunell handed off to Moss on a running play, and Moss raced past a Chris Samuels block into the Cowboys secondary for a 19-yard gain. Safety Pat Watkins dragged down Moss to prevent a touchdown. But on the next play, Brunell was sacked by DeMarcus Ware for an 11-yard loss and the Redskins' drive came to a halt.
Defenses started to take control of the game.
In the second half, neither offense could generate much yardage. The Redskins could not get a first down on their first two possessions. Meantime, Lemar Marshall finally got hold of Bledsoe for a sack.
Late in the third quarter, the Redskins forced the first turnover of the game when Taylor stripped Julius Jones of the football. Marcus Washington was there to scoop up the fumble at the Cowboys' 39-yard line.
After Betts picked up 17 yards on a run, Brunell tried to hrew a pass into the end zone to Chris Cooley, but Roy Williams made a leaping interception, ending the Redskins' scoring opportunity.
Dallas took over at theor own 1-yard line and put together an impressive drive that effectively put the game away. The drive ended with a 40-yard touchdown strike to Glenn, who found himself wide open in the end zone for the score.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cowboys used some hard running by Jones and Barber to build on their lead. The 8-play, 34-yard drive was capped by a 50-yard field goal by Vanderjagt, giving Dallas a 27-10 advantage.
#### -- PRE-GAME COVERAGE
The Redskins take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, Sept. 17, in a key NFC East matchup at Texas Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET.
NBC's Sunday Night Football will televise the game to a national audience. Al Michaels will provide the play-by-play and John Madden will provide analysis and color commentary. Andrea Kremer will serve as the sideline reporter.
Locally, the game will be broadast on WRC-4, the NBC affiliate. On radio, the game will be broadcast on **Triple X ESPN Radio** (94.3, 92.7 FM and 730 AM).
The Redskins are coming off a [19-16 loss to the
](/news/article-1/redskins-late-rally-falls-short-19-16-loss/052ACF6C-674B-4C45-8F5B-E83A41634ECB) on Sept. 11 on Monday Night Football.
Dallas lost their season opener to the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-17 at Alltel Stadium. The Cowboys took an early 10-0 lead, but the Jaguars tied the game by halftime and scored two touchdowns in the second half. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe threw three interceptions in the game.
#### -- PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
-- FAMILIAR FACES ON THE COWBOYS
- Assistant head coach-offensive line coach Tony Sparano served as tight ends coach for the Redskins in 2001.
- Secondary coach Todd Bowles played eight years as a defensive back with the Redskins from 1986-90 and 1992-93.
#### -- SERIES HISTORY
Sunday night's Redskins-Cowboys matchup marks the 93rd time the two clubs have played since their storied rivalry began in 1960. The two teams have played at least twice a year each regular season since 1961, with the exception of the strike-shortened 1982 season.
Dallas leads the all-time series 53-34-2, with victories in nine of the last 12 contests played.
The Redskins won both games in the 2005 season. In Week 2 of 2005, the Redskins orchestrated a memorable come-from-behind victory, as Mark Brunell found Santana Moss for two touchdown passes late in the fourth quarter and the Redskins won 14-13. It was the Redskins' first victory at Texas Stadium since 1995.
In Week 15 last year, the Redskins built a 28-0 halftime lead and defeated the Cowboys 35-7 at FedExField. It was the Redskins' first series sweep since 1995.
The Redskins and Cowboys have clashed twice in the postseason, with Washington winning both meetings: 26-3 in the 1972 NFC Championship Game and 31-17 in the 1982 NFC Championship Game.
#### -- TALE OF THE TAPE: REDSKINS-COWBOYS
|REDSKINS 2006 STATISTICAL RANKINGS|
|COWBOYS 2006 STATISTICAL RANKINGS|
-- NEWS & NOTES
A Redskins' win over the Cowboys would:
- Give the Redskins three consecutive wins over the Cowboys.
- Give the Redskins two consecutive wins at Texas Stadium.
- Give head coach Joe Gibbs an all-time record of 15-14 vs. the Cowboys
- Give head coach Joe Gibbs his 141st all-time win.
- Give head coach Joe Gibbs a 9-13 record against Bill Parcells-coached teams
Clinton Portis, who rushed for 39 yards in the Redskins' season opener, needs 31 yards to reach the 6,000 yard plateau in his career. His TD against the Vikings was the 45th of his career.
Santana Moss, who caught three passes for 69 yards against Minnesota, needs just 32 yards to 4,000 receiving yards in his career.