Check out the top photos from the Washington Redskins' Week 8 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys Monday, Oct. 27, 2014 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Very few outside of Redskins Nation believed Washington could travel to Arlington, Texas, and play with one of the hottest teams in the NFL -- let alone have a chance to take them down.
The Dallas Cowboys came into tonight's nationally-televised matchup on Monday Night Football with a 6-1 record, the winners of six straight. The Washington Redskins, meanwhile, came in a hungry team looking to turn some heads after earning win No. 2 a week ago in the final seconds against the Tennessee Titans.
Here's an exclusive look from the Washington Redskins' sideline during their Week 8 game with the Dallas Cowboys.
And in the rivalry matchup, the Redskins certainly came to play, giving the Cowboys everything they could handle and then some in a 20-17 overtime victory in front of 87,055 fans at AT&T Stadium.
Talk about a satisfying win.
The Redskins won the coin toss in overtime and elected to receive, and promptly drove down the field for kicker Kai Forbath, who converted a 40-yard field goal to give his team a 20-17 lead.
The Washington defense then responded on what would be the Cowboys' only overtime drive.
On 4th and 3, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo's pass was knocked down by rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland, officially giving the Redskins (3-5) the victory and their first at Dallas (6-2) on Monday Night Football since the "Monday Night Miracle" on Sept. 19, 2005.
The Redskins wanted to make a statement to open the game, and that's exactly what they got on the Cowboys' opening possession.
After moving the ball to their own 41, Dallas faced a 3rd and 5 with quarterback Tony Romo lined up in the shotgun. When the ball was snapped, he barely had time to think – that's because safety Brandon Meriweather was immediately in his face to earn the sack.
Meriweather – who was unblocked on the play off the edge – also executed a quality form tackle so that Romo couldn't escape like he's done so many times in the past against Washington. In the process, Meriweather also tied a career high with his second sack of the season.
The big play set up a 37-yard punt return from Andre Roberts on the very next play that put the Redskins in prime field position on their first drive, which ended with a 44-yard field goal from Kai Forbath to give Washington an early 3-0 lead with 9:48 left in the first quarter.
The sack on third down – matched with the longest punt return by the Redskins this season – was key for Washington setting the tone in a hostile environment.
PLAY OF THE GAME
One for defense, one for offense.
Defensively, rookie Bashaud Breeland stepped up big time on Pro Bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant – particularly on two straight crucial plays in the third quarter.
On 2nd and Goal from the Washington 3-yard line, backup quarterback Brandon Weeden tried to find Bryant with a lob pass in the end zone, and Breeland did his best Nenê impression to swat it away.
On the very next play, Weeden tried to go back to Bryant – and had the same result. Breeland made sure the play wouldn't happen, and the Cowboys were forced to tie the game at the time with a short field goal.
Way to go, rook.
Offensively, what can you say about the gutsy performance of Colt McCoy? You learned everything you needed to know about the Texas alum on the Redskins' ensuing drive after the Breeland pass breakups.
Facing a 3rd and Goal from the seven-yard line, Jay Gruden called, of all plays, a quarterback draw, and McCoy did everything from there, diving all out to earn the rushing touchdown – his first since Nov. 7, 2010 – to give his team the lead.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Brandon Meriweather was everywhere for the Redskins' defense Monday night.
It started with his third-down sack on the Cowboys' opening possession. It continued not long after with a forced fumble that was recovered by rookie Trent Murphy. Then, in the second quarter, he was Johnny On The Spot when rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland forced a fumble on a huge play for the Cowboys, and Meriweather fell on the football just shy of the sideline.
It was the first time in Meriweather's eight-year career that he collected both a sack and a forced fumble in the same game.
But he brought the same intensity in the fourth quarter as he did in the first two, as he forced a fumble on a sack of Romo -- each his second of the game -- with 59 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Kudos to the veteran for bringing some big plays with him Monday night.
Safety Akeem Davis and linebacker Everette Brown know that their roles on the Redskins are to block on returns and cover on kicks.
They did just that on the Cowboys' first punt of the game.
As Roberts caught the ball deep in Washington territory and advanced to his left, both Davis and Brown – each of whom were signed to the active roster in just the past week – each laid huge blocks almost simultaneously to free the speedy returner. Credit to Dallas punter Chris Jones for making the tackle on Roberts along the sideline, or he was gone.
Then, later that quarter, Davis absolutely brought the wood as he executed a perfectly-timed hit right as Dallas punt returner Dwayne Harris caught the kick from Tress Way. The officials originally flagged Davis for unnecessary roughness, but quickly picked the flag up after determining his hit was delivered to Harris' shoulder, and not near the head.
Because the Redskins struggled on special teams so badly a season ago, they needed to bring in guys like Davis and Brown who buy into their roles and take them seriously – despite the fact they may never see the field during an offensive or defensive play.
Special Teams Coordinator Ben Kotwica did a quality job getting his guys ready to go against the division rival Cowboys.
With today's matchup against the division rival Dallas Cowboys officially a thing of the past, the Washington Redskins turn their attention to an opponent up north.
Washington next travels to Minnesota to take on the Vikings Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.
The Vikings enter the matchup with a 3-5 record, and are coming off a 19-13 overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday at Raymond James Stadium.
Here's some notes of interest about the Redskins-Vikings Week 9 matchup, courtesy of Redskins Public Relations:
- 2014 will mark the fifth consecutive year in which the Redskins have faced the Vikings in the regular season. This is only the third time since divisional realignment in 2002 that the Redskins have faced a non-divisional opponent in five consecutive seasons (Tampa Bay, 2003-07; St. Louis, 2008-12).
- The Redskins are 12-11 all-time against the Vikings, including postseason play. The teams' all-time regular season record is knotted at 9-9.
- The Redskins are looking for their first win against the Vikings in Minnesota since Dec. 23, 2007.
- The game will be the Redskins' first at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. In regular season play, the Redskins were 1-1 against the Vikings at Metropolitan Stadium and 4-2 against the Vikings at the Metrodome.