Five Reasons Why the Washington Redskins Beat the Dallas Cowboys
Robert Griffin III Shines In Texas Homecoming
If there were any doubts about the Washington Redskins’ selection of quarterback Robert Griffin III in the 2012 NFL Draft, they were permanently put to rest on Thanksgiving Day. Griffin III, who grew up in Texas, engineered another masterful performance in the Redskins’ 38-31 victory over the host Dallas Cowboys during the Cowboys' annual Thanksgiving Day game.
After Washington’s 21-13 Week Nine loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Redskins were looking at yet another season of playing for pride instead of playing for a playoff berth. Few people took Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan seriously (or cared) when he said the Carolina game was a “must win” game. The Redskins rebounded from that loss with a 31-6 Week Eleven victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. However, Washington needed a signature victory to reaffirm that a playoff push could be a reality.
Enter the circus that is the Dallas Cowboys. Many factors were against Washington winning this game. The Cowboys’ status as “America’s Team”, their polarizing quarterback Tony Romo, and the fact that they do not lose many Thanksgiving games were were the main factors. If you factor in Washington’s winless record against Dallas on Thanksgiving, as well as Romo’s perfect 14-0 career home game record in November, it's easy to assume that a Cowboys' victory would be imminent.
But in the NFL, teams don’t win games on assurances. The bottom line is that you still have to play the game. Washington came in with a solid game plan, and executed it almost to perfection against Dallas. With that said, here are five reasons why the Washington Redskins defeated the Dallas Cowboys:
Robert Griffin III was Robert Griffin III once again.
This is becoming an automatic reason for any Redskins’ victory. But it never gets old for Washington Redskins’ fans. The man affectionately called “RG3” orchestrated another excellent performance in Washington's most important game of the year. Griffin III's performance against Dallas may ignite Most Valuable Player consideration for the rookie quarterback.
Then again, let’s not get too hasty. Griffin III threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers for the second consecutive week. He also gained 29 yards on six carries. However, Redskins’ fans would agree that Griffin III is most effective when throwing the ball downfield. He was able to provide efficiency against a top ten ranked Dallas defense, which ensured a victory for Washington.
The return of Pierre Garcon.
Washington wide receiver Pierre Garcon showed why he was worthy of his lucrative free agent contract. He caught a short pass from Griffin III, and turned it into a 59 yard touchdown reception. Garcon outran Cowboys’ cornerback Mike Jenkins on his way to the end zone, temporarily quieting doubts about his efficiency recovering from his right toe injury.
Garcon’s injury had limited his participation much of the 2012 season. The fact is he may never become the consistent deep threat he once was. Then again, Garcon doesn’t have to be. Wide receivers Santana Moss and Aldrick Robinson appear capable of providing deep passing game efficiency. Garcon provides efficiency at the wide receiver position, and his presence was necessary in beating the Dallas Cowboys.
The strong running of Alfred Morris.
Lost in the greatness that is Robert Griffin III is the contribution of Redskins’ running back Alfred Morris. He contributed 113 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown. More importantly, Morris gains positive yardage most of the time. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry against Dallas, which is also his season average. That puts the offense in many manageable yardage situations on subsequent downs.
Although the NFL is currently a passing league, it’s important for teams to have an established rushing attack to maintain possession. Morris’ performance against Dallas complements Griffin III and the passing game extremely well. While Morris’ performance pales in comparison to Griffin III’s performance, it is one of the reasons Washington emerged victorious against Dallas.
The Washington Redskins’ defense is actually playing a little better.
The Redskins were staked to a large lead in the first half. Washington forced three Dallas turnovers, which included an interception by cornerback DeAngelo Hall, as well as a fumble recovery by safety DeJon Gomes. The Redskins capitalized on Hall and Gomes’ turnovers, scoring touchdowns on the ensuing drives off those turnovers.
The Cowboys ranked fifth in the NFL in total offense; therefore the Redskins’ defense couldn’t be expected to contain Dallas’ quarterback Tony Romo and talented wide receiver Dez Bryant. Although Romo and Bryant did connect on an 85 yard touchdown reception, the Redskins’ defense made enough plays when necessary to ensure victory for Washington.
Kai Forbath makes a pressure packed kick.
In recent years, the Washington Redskins’ offense has been placed in situations where they needed to kick field goals instead of scoring touchdowns. With Griffin III currently leading the offense, the unit has been scoring touchdowns more often than not. That should be music to the ears of all Washington Redskins’ fans.
Considering that Washington scored touchdowns most of the game against the Cowboys, Redskins’ placekicker Kai Forbath wasn’t placed in many pressure packed situations. In the fourth quarter, Forbath was called upon for a 48 yard field goal attempt that would extend Washington’s lead to ten points if the kick was successful.
Few people realized the importance of making this kick, considering it wouldn’t have provided the margin of victory. If unsuccessful, Romo would only have to drive for the game tying touchdown. After that, it’s anyone’s game. However, Forbath calmly made the field goal, putting pressure on the Cowboys to score twice in a limited amount of time. While unimpressive on the stat sheet, Forbath’s kick is another reason why the Washington Redskins defeated the Dallas Cowboys.