Redskins.com recaps Sunday's dramatic 22-19 win over the Dallas Cowboys:
#### Revealing Moment:
So many big plays in the game's final minutes: James Thrash's 17-yard catch; Nick Novak's missed 49-yarder; Tony Romo's 28-yard pass to Jason Witten; Troy Vincent's blocked field goal; Sean Taylor's 30-yard run, which included a 15-yard face mask penalty. But even as Novak lined up for a 47-yard field goal, there was still some uncertainty. Could Novak make it? When Novak's shaky kick sailed past the right goalpost--barely--only then was it safe to celebrate a stunning, bizarre victory.
Redskins Play of the Game:
Who knows if Nick Novak will have a long NFL career? But he certainly has a knack for game-winners. He now has three game-winning kicks, including last year's 39-yarder to defeat Seattle and a PAT to defeat Dallas. Novak missed a game-winning 49-yard field goal attempt--it sailed wide right--with 31 seconds left in the game. In a stunning reversal of fortune, Novak got a second chance. His second attempt, a 47-yarder, looked shaky at first--it began to sail wide right, too. "I don't know if that right side of the stadium just started blowing right there at the same time, but something pushed it," he said. The ball sailed just inside the right goalpost for the victory.
#### Redskins Player of the Game:
Troy Vincent showed why he is a savvy, 15-year veteran. He drew his first start as a Redskin, playing strong safety, and logged six tackles. But he saved his best for last. The Redskins overloaded the left side of the line on Mike Vanderjagt's 35-yard field goal attempt, and Jason Witten went outside to block Carlos Rogers. That left Vincent, who took an inside route untouched to bat away Vanderjagt's kick. Sean Taylor was able to scoop up the ball and race downfield to set up Nick Novak's game-winner. Taylor and Novak got the glory, but Vincent set up their heroics.
Redskins Unsung Hero:
We have two this week. On the offensive side of the ball, James Thrash caught three passes for 52 yards and converted two third downs. On the defensive side of the ball, Marcus Washington was seemingly all over the field making plays. He led the defense with nine tackles and added a sack of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo.
#### What Went Right
-- Midway though the second quarter, Brandon Lloyd leveled a strong block on cornerback Anthony Henry, freeing up Clinton Portis on an end-around. Portis raced 38 yards for a touchdown to give the Redskins a 12-9 lead.
-- Mark Brunell turned in an efficient performance, completing 14-of-23 passes for 192 yards. The Redskins were 5-of-13 on third-down conversions, including Brunell's 17-yard pass to James Thrash on 3rd-and-7 late in the fourth quarter. That play set up Nick Novak's first attempt at a game-winner, a 49-yard kick.
-- Antwaan Randle El had three kick returns for a 16.7-yard average, including a 25-yard return in the third quarter and a 17-yard return in the fourth quarter.
-- Early in the first quarter, Lemar Marshall blitzed through the line to tackle Julius Jones for a safety. The Redskins had begun the game with strong momentum, but Dallas stopped the offense on four plays inside the 2-yard line. Marshall's safety allowed Washington to re-claim momentum.
-- On successive plays in the fourth quarter, the Redskins' defense put Dallas in a deep hole. Andre Carter tackled wide receiver Terry Glenn on an end-around for an 8-yard loss. Then Marcus Washington sacked quarterback Tony Romo for an 8-yard loss.
What Went Wrong
-- Sure, Novak made the game-winner. But he missed the 49-yard field goal moments earlier and even he admits that his NFL future is shaky. He has made 2-of-5 field goals since his return to Washington three weeks ago.
-- The Redskins' offense had a 1st-and-goal at the 4-yard line early in the first quarter. They had seven chances to punch the ball in the end zone, including three chances from the 1-yard line. Both Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts were stopped short, and the offense turned the ball over on downs. The question has to be asked: Why wasn't 6-0, 254-pounder T.J. Duckett given a chance at the goal line?
-- From late in the first quarter to early in the third, the Dallas offense scored on four consecutive possessions to build a 19-12 lead. Tony Romo was impressive, completing 24-of-36 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. Terrell Owens was his top target, catching seven passes for 76 yards. Romo nearly connected on a deep pass to Owens in the third quarter, but Owens dropped the ball.
-- Despite being at full strength for the first time this season, the Redskins' pass defense yielded two more big plays: a 48-yarder to Patrick Crayton and a 28-yarder to Jason Witten. The latter was a key play: Witten found a seam downfield ahead of Adam Archuleta and he pulled in a pass to set up a potential game-winning kick by Mike Vanderjagt.
#### What's Next:
Even amid the celebration of the Dallas win, some Redskins were already mentioning next week's NFC clash with the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. After starting the season 4-1, the Eagles have lost three straight games, but are coming off a bye. The Redskins enter the game in relatively good health, although Santana Moss's hamstring injury will be closely monitored this week.
The Redskins have had mixed success on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1 offensive plays this year. A review of the regular season play-by-play reveals that the offense has had 15 3rd-and-1 or 4th-and-1 plays, and converted nine of them. Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts have had their share of opportunities, with some success. Mike Sellers converted a 3rd-and-1 in his only chance. Mark Brunell has two conversions on quarterback sneaks.
"You gotta believe!" -- defensive end Renaldo Wynn, celebrating on the field in the moments after Nick Novak's game-winning field goal
The Redskins are 3-5 now, and have renewed optimism heading into next Sunday's game against the Eagles. Players are in "one game at a time" mode, and they are convinced a winning streak and playoff run is possible. Is it realistic? It's too soon to tell. For now, the only lineup change appears to be Troy Vincent has moved in as a starter ahead of Adam Archuleta. Inserting young players into the lineup will have to wait. This team believes they have a lot to play for. After Sunday's stunning win over the Cowboys, anything can happen in the NFL.