ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rob Ryan was asked Wednesday if this was the best coaching job of his career, running the Dallas Cowboys' defense this year despite a number of injuries.
"Hell, it's pretty damn good," Ryan said. "I don't know."
After Thursday's 38-31 loss to the Washington Redskins, Ryan probably wanted a do-over.
The Cowboys were exposed by Robert Griffin III and the Redskins at Cowboys Stadium.
Griffin's first professional game in Texas could not have gone better. He completed 20 of 28 passes for 311 yards and threw four touchdown passes for the second straight game. He also ran six times for 29 yards.
"The kid's a hell of a football player," Ryan said. "I mean, hell, there is a reason you trade half your team to get that kid. I mean, hell, with him and [Indianapolis' Andrew Luck] they're going to be two great quarterbacks for a long time. The kid played really well. We were trying to hit him, but, [expletive], believe me. But, you know, you put that kid in there with Mike Shanahan, that's a pretty good combination. It's going to be pretty good for a long, long time, I have a feeling. But we will be back and we'll get the [expletive] right."
When in doubt, throw in an expletive, if not a blitz.
The second quarter was downright pitiful, and the offense didn't help with two turnovers.
Griffin completed all eight of his passes for 178 yards. That's more yards than Seattle's Russell Wilson (151) and Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman (110) had through the air against the Cowboys in a game this season and just 14 yards more than Eli Manning of the New York Giants had in the second meeting of the year.
The Redskins scored 28 points on three Griffin touchdown passes and an Alfred Morris run. Before Thursday the Cowboys had not allowed an offense to score 28 points against them all season. Heck, the Cowboys' offense scored more than 28 points in a game just once in their first 10 games.
Griffin's three touchdown passes -- 68 yards to Aldrick Robinson, 59 yards to Pierre Garcon and 6 yards to Santana Moss -- were the most allowed by the Cowboys in a game this season and tied for the most allowed by Ryan's defense in a game over the last two seasons.
It was the third time in franchise history the Cowboys have allowed 28 points in a quarter and first since the defense laid down against Green Bay on Nov. 7, 2010. The day after that game, Wade Phillips was fired.
"It hurts," cornerback Mike Jenkins said. "Kind of sticks a dagger in you a little bit, but you've still got a whole half, a full 30 minutes to go. We came back and fought."
Sure, they fought, but when the Cowboys needed the defense to make a stop, it couldn't.
After Dez Bryant's 85-yard touchdown catch made the score 28-13 with 1:24 left in the third quarter, the Redskins went 82 yards on seven plays and got to third down just once. And Griffin converted that into a 29-yard pass to Niles Paul, who was so uncovered that he rolled into the end zone.
"We just couldn't quite get it done there at the end," Ryan said.
Blame the injuries if you want -- and the Cowboys were without seven "starters" from their opening-day defense by the fourth quarter -- but you hear coaches and players say that's not an excuse for poor play.
So if Ryan wants to complain about seeing Orlando Scandrick (hand), Bruce Carter (elbow) and Jason Hatcher (concussion) joining Jay Ratliff, who was inactive with a groin injury, Barry Church (Achilles), Sean Lee (toe) and Kenyon Coleman (triceps), go right ahead.
"Those are some pretty damn good guys to add to the list of about a hundred," Ryan said. "But that's the way it is and who gives a (expletive). We'll get back."
After Thursday, is there a reason to believe they will?