IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys’ season ended Sunday because they didn’t get nearly enough dynamic performances from their best players. Tony Romo threw three interceptions, matching his total from the past eight games, and DeMarcus Ware managed just one tackle in a season-low 33 plays as he played through elbow and shoulder injuries.
Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Miles Austin combined for just one catch of more than 20 yards and one touchdown. Anthony Spencer, as usual, was the only star on this team who delivered a high-level performance against Washington.
Each week, during the season, I rank my top 10 players on the roster based on their performances this season.
1. Anthony Spencer: With the game on the line Sunday, Spencer delivered his seventh fourth-quarter sack of the season, giving Romo and the offense and opportunity to win the game. He also had eight tackles, two tackle and a quarterback hit.
Last Week: 1
2. Dez Bryant: The touchdown streak ended at seven, but he did catch four passes for 71 yards before leaving with back spasms that forced him to spend the night in the hospital.
Last Week: 3
3. Jason Witten: His 9-yard touchdown catch gave the Cowboys an early 7-0 lead, and he finished with a team-high seven catches. Witten finished with 110 catches this season.
Last Week: 5
4. DeMarcus Ware: Limited to a season-low 33 plays because of elbow and shoulder injuries, he struggled all night against the zone read. But his heavy pressure in the fourth quarter helped Anthony Spencer deliver a huge fourth-quarter sack.
Last Week: 4
5. Brandon Carr: The Redskins picked on Morris Claiborne and left Carr alone, which was a smart move. He was at his playmaking best in December and nearly made a sensational interception on a ball Robert Griffin III was trying to throw out of bounds.
Last Week: 6
6. Tony Romo: In the most important game of the season, Romo threw two interceptions in his first five passes -- he had thrown one in his last 178 passes entering the game. His fourth-quarter interception pretty much ended the season and made him 0-3 in win-and-get-in games to end the season.
Last Week: 2
7. DeMarco Murray: When the Cowboys fell behind 21-10, it took away their running game on a night they ran it pretty well overall. Murray finished with 76 yards on 17 carries.
Last Week: 7
8. Dan Bailey: He made yet another clutch field goal, a 48-yard attempt in the third quarter, and has made 29 of 31 field goal attempts this season.
Last Week: 9
9. Dwayne Harris: Go ahead and try to find another role player on this team who has impacted as many games as Harris this season. He had punt returns 27 and 38 yards, caught a 25-yard pass and made a sensational catch on a two-point conversation. Harris’ seven punt returns of 20 yards or more is tied for the NFL lead.
Last Week: 10
10. Jason Hatcher: A solid game with seven tackles, but his dumb roughing the passer penalty on third down in the fourth-quarter removed any hope of a miraculous comeback. In today’s NFL, any blow -- intentional or not -- close to the quarterback’s head is going to get penalized.
Last Week: 8