Cowboys vs. Redskins Review | 5 Things We Learned
On paper, the Dallas Cowboys are far superior to the Washington Redskins. However, as is the case with any divisional rivalry, anything can happen once the teams set foot on the field. Sunday’s Dallas-Washington tilt was no exception.
Here are five things we learned from the Cowboys’ 27-24 overtime victory over the Redskins at FedEx Field:
1. Mike Shanahan Makes No Sense
To be clear, we knew Shanahan made no sense coming into this game. He changed quarterbacks twice through the first nine games, and refuses to stick to the hot-hand when it comes to his running backs.
Rookie back Roy Helu has been (by far) the most successful Redskins runner to this point, especially with Tim Hightower having gone down weeks ago. However, Shanahan simply refuses to give Helu the reps necessary to be a true factor.
Helu did lead Washington with eight carries for 35 yards, but Tashard Choice got six touches (seven yards) and Ryan Torain was somehow even less effective than Choice, rushing for four yards on five carries.
With Santana Moss and Chris Cooley on the shelf, the Redskins are already lacking two big-time weapons on offense, making Shanahan’s aversion to using Helu all the more baffling.
Make up your mind, guy.
2. Laurent Robinson is a Fantasy Factor
With four catches for 34 yards with a touchdown Sunday, Robinson has now scored in three straight games for the Cowboys. His yardage totals won’t jump off the page, but he did lead Dallas with 11 targets, a clear indication that he has the trust of Tony Romo, which is something that can’t necessarily be said of Dez Bryant.
If you’re in the market for a solid WR3, you can do a lot worse than Laurent Robinson, especially with Miles Austin sidelined due to injury.
3. The Cowboys Have Finally Found Their Kicker
With his two field goals Sunday (including a 39-yarder to win the game in OT), rookie kicker Dan Bailey is now 23-24 on the season.
After suffering for years through the likes of the shaky Nick Folk, Shawn Suisham and David Buehler, it appears as though Dallas has finally found a kicker on which they can rely with confidence. For a team with potential Super Bowl aspirations, that’s no small thing.
4. DeMarco Murray is Locked-In as the Starter
Felix Jones returned from injury in this game, but got just five carries as the Cowboys’ offense continued to rely on rookie sensation DeMarco Murray.
Murray wasn’t spectacular by any means (25 carries, 73 yards), but is enough of a big-play threat to keep defenses honest, which wasn’t the case when Jones had the job.
Many had speculated with regards to whether or not Jerry Jones’ blind loyalty to the former Razorback would trump the discrepancy in on-field production, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“Wait. You mean going with the h0t hand and leaving effective players on the field actually works?!” -Mike Shanahan.
5. Tony Romo is Quietly Having a Stellar Season
Romo’s 2011 season has been marred by some late-game failures (against the Jets and Lions, most famously), but he should be given credit where it’s due. With his 292-yard, three-TD, no-INT performance against Washington, Romo is now completing nearly 65 percent of his passes to go with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season.
He hasn’t thrown an interception in any of the last three games, all Cowboys wins. In fact, he’s thrown just one pick total in Dallas’ six victories on the season.
Romo certainly deserves the lion’s share of the blame for those late-game mishaps against New York and Detroit, but his brilliance for the majority of the season should not go unnoticed.
The fact that he’s playing behind an overhauled, young offensive line with a rookie running back makes his performance all the more impressive.