Wow.  Here we are, the final home game of 2010, and the week 11 game against Detroit still represents the sole home victory for the Cowboys to this point.  But now they’re playing the Washington Redskins, and it’s about to get real.  Neither team had anything to play for beyond the game itself, as the Redskins entered with a 5-8 mark to match against Dallas’ 4-9 record.  But, when the ‘Boys and the ‘Skins are on tv, you don’t want to change the channel.  It’s bound to be good fun all around, and this one did not disappoint.

Remember the 13-7 week one slugfest?  This was nothing like that.

Roll that beautiful bean footage.

This was one of those games where one team (Dallas) jumped out to a sizable lead (20 points), allowed the other team (Washington) to come back and tie it, only to prevail at the end.  It had it all:  a blowout, a shootout, a nail-biter.  In other words, it was quality entertainment.

A David Buehler field goal got the scoring started, and toward the end of the first quarter, a Rex Grossman interception interception put Dallas inside the Redskins’ 30-yard line.  You may remember how Washington head coach Mike Shanahan benched QB Donovan McNabb late in the year, giving Grossman the nod in this one.  Anyway, the Gerald Sensabaugh interception led to a Jon Kitna touchdown toss to Miles Austin, and it was 10-0 Cowboys.

After the Cowboys got three more points, the Redskins responded in the second quarter on a Rex Grossman touchdown pass to Ryan Torain.  Near the end of the half, following a trick play out of the wildcat formation that netted 32 yards, Jason Witten got into the endzone for the third time in two weeks, and Dallas took a comfortable 20-7 lead into the locker room.

Washington got the ball first in the third quarter, but they quickly gave it back to Dallas, as DeMarcus Ware sacked Grossman, forcing a fumble in the process that Jay Ratliff recovered.  It took the Cowboys five plays to go 15 yards before Tashard Choice punched it in from the three-yard line.  The Cowboys appeared to be sitting pretty at 27-7.

Santana Moss celebrates a touchdown against the Cowboys. Courtesy Edward A. Ornelas/Express-News

It was at this point in the game when Grossman started to resemble Joe Montana.  First he leads the Redskins on a quick four play, 71 yard drive, capped off with a touchdown pass to Santana Moss.  The score was then 27-14.  Another Buehler field goal then made it 30-14, still a seemingly comfortable lead heading to the fourth quarter.  The next possession was the complete opposite, as Grossman methodically led his team down the field on a 14 play, 83 yard drive.  The drive looked to be finished when Grossman threw an incomplete pass on 3rd and goal at the Dallas 11-yard line, but a roughing the passer penalty against Anthony Spencer gave them a new set of downs.  Grossman took full advantage, throwing another touchdown pass to Moss three plays later.  He then threw the two-point conversion to Chris Cooley, and the score was now 30-22.

The Cowboys didn’t do themselves any favors, going three and out on the next possession, which meant the Redskins now had a chance.  Again, the Dallas defense posed little resistance, as Grossman completed all but one pass attempt, including a touchdown throw to Cooley.  Another two-point conversion pass, this time to Mike Sellers, and the game was tied at 30 apiece with about half a quarter to be played.

David Buehler kicks the game winner against the Redskins. Courtesy Edward A. Ornelas/Express-News

The Cowboys had to punt the next time out, but they pinned the Redskins inside the five-yard line.  After allowing Washington to move the ball out to the 25, the defense finally stepped up by sacking Grossman on consecutive plays and forcing a punt.  Then, with just over three minutes to play, Kitna drove the ‘Boys down to the 21-yard line, setting up Buehler for a go-ahead field goal try on fourth and one with 55 seconds remaining.  He nailed the kick, putting his team up 33-30, but there was still time left.  Lucky for the Cowboys, Grossman is, in fact, not Joe Montana, and he proved this by throwing a game clinching pick with 10 seconds to play, and Terence Newman milked every second off the clock before being taken down as time expired.  Dallas wins 33-30.

You gotta love these games where your team builds a good lead and then chokes it away.  At least they didn’t get shellshocked and lose the game.  I’ll give them that.  It would have been easy to be in such a state of schock that winning wasn’t going to happen.  Anyway, it was good to end the home schedule with a win, since they were so few in 2010.  Dallas won the turnover battle (3-0), and all of them were huge.  Two led to touchdowns, while the other ended the game.  Also, the Cowboys won time of possession by over 10 minutes.  Individually, Kitna had a good game, throwing for 300 yards and two touchdowns, and Witten had 10 catches for 140 yards and a score.

The only really bad things to take away were the penalties (nine for 70 yards) and letting Grossman do what he did.  He threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns, plus he converted two two-point conversions.  His mistakes were also big, but to let him do that kind of damage was disturbing.  All in all, it was a fun time.  And I never had to mention Alex Barron.

Record to this point:  5-9

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