Halftime thoughts: Redskins-Cowboys
September, 26, 2011
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A couple of thoughts on an ugly, field goal-infested first half of "Monday Night Football":
- A good, GOOD night so far for Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams, who has been taking on the Dallas Cowboys' pass-rushing monster, DeMarcus Ware, and winning the battles. Early on, the Redskins were helping Williams out by lining up tight end Logan Paulsen on that side, but Williams had Ware one-on-one for most of the season quarter, and Ware is without a sack or any real impact at all so far. Williams has the talent to handle anyone in the league, but consistency from week-to-week has been an issue during his brief career so far. He was great last week and great so far again Monday night.
- The Cowboys' passing game just isn't there. I don't know if Tony Romo's unable to get enough on his passes because of the rib fracture or what, but for the whole first quarter it looked as though he was just locked in on tight end Jason Witten and the Redskins knew and covered it. Dez Bryant clearly isn't 100 percent healthy, which is why Laurent Robinson got so many targets in the second quarter. But Felix Jones isn't producing anything in the run game, and the Cowboys need to find a way to gain yards downfield against the Redskins' secondary.
- Speaking of that secondary... do you think the Redskins missed LaRon Landry? He's been all over the field so far, delivering big hits and breaking up plays in his first game of the season after missing two with a hamstring injury. This makes an already good-looking Redskins defense that much better.
- And on the Cowboys' side defensively, this looks like a third straight outstanding game for inside linebacker Sean Lee, who has an innate ability to be around the ball. Lee, defensive end Kenyon Coleman and safeties Gerald Sensabaugh and Abram Elam have made big, athletic plays to help hold the Redskins to field goals, and Sensabaugh blocked one.
- You see the good and the bad with Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman, sometimes from play to play. His completion to Santana Moss against Alan Ball just before halftime was a thing of beauty, but then he took a bad sack that nearly knocked the Redskins out of field goal range. Fortunately for him and the Redskins, Graham Gano hit the 50-yarder to tie the game at 9-9.
- The Redskins led the NFL in time of possession through two games, and they held it for 8:36 in the first quarter tonight and 16:09 of the first half. They love to run the ball, and rookie Roy Helu appears to be eating into Tim Hightower's carries.
- The key for the Cowboys in the second half will be to generate some kind of pass rush and force Grossman into a game-altering mistake. The Cowboys need a short field with the way their passing game looks Monday.