Monday, November 6, 2006
After fluky finish, Redskins ask, 'How in the world did we win?'
ASHBURN, Va. -- The elation faded quickly, and reality took
its place Monday in the nation's capital.
Amid all the joy over beating the biggest of rivals, there was
one glaring fact no one could ignore: The truly bizarre had to
happen for the Washington Redskins to end their three-game losing
"People are talking about it: How in the world did the
Washington Redskins win?" defensive tackle Joe Salave'a said.
"I'm not too sure."
Even safety Troy Vincent, the latest unlikely hero in
Redskins-Cowboys lore, said he stayed up late Sunday night thinking
about "what we didn't do."
"I've been in the league 10 years. I've never been in one like
that," added cornerback Shawn Springs. "We're living right, I
guess you could say."
It's easy to list a half-dozen reasons why the Redskins had no
business beating the Dallas Cowboys. Terrell Owens dropped a sure
touchdown pass that would have put Washington in a 14-point hole
late in the third quarter. Tight end Anthony Fasano fell down after
catching a pass with no one close to him on Dallas' final drive.
The Cowboys self-destructed with 11 penalties for 153 yards,
including a facemask call that allowed Nick Novak to kick the
winning field goal. Coach Bill Parcells didn't use a replay
challenge on a questionable safety, then cost his team a valuable
point by going for a 2-point conversion far too early in the game.
Novak missed his first chance to win the game, pushing a 49-yard
attempt with 31 seconds to play.
The Redskins remained suspect on offense and defense. The
defense, now ranked 30th, finally overtook Green Bay as the team
that has allowed the most passing plays (35) of 20 yards or more.
Dallas' Tony Romo became the latest quarterback to pile on the
stats; opposing QBs have a league-high 102.4 rating against the
Redskins. The offense benefited repeatedly from Cowboys penalties
and produced only 102 yards in the second half.
Yet, in the final minute, the Redskins somehow pulled it out.
Vincent blocked Mike Vanderjagt's 35-yard kick, and Sean Taylor
returned it 30 yards. He had his facemask grabbed by Kyle Kosier,
and because the game can't end on a defensive penalty, Novak made a
47-yarder with 0:00 on the clock to win 22-19.
When the kick went through, coach Joe Gibbs didn't look like a
coach who had just won a football game. He looked tired and worn,
his color drained from his face.
"That one was a little bit different than having fun," Gibbs
said. "It wasn't like having a 10-point lead in the fourth
Dramatic finishes aside, Washington is still only 3-5, with
back-to-back road games at Philadelphia and Tampa Bay next. The
only consistent thing about the Redskins is that they have become
the first team in NFL history to score exactly 22 points in three
consecutive games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"We needed to get a spark," Salave'a said, "and hopefully
that'll springboard us in the right direction."
Receiver Santana Moss missed the game with a hamstring injury,
and his status is uncertain for Philadelphia. Gibbs said Moss had
"some blood at the bottom of his hamstring" that needs to clear.
"You can't rush that back," Gibbs said. "But I'm going to hope
he's ready for this week."