Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys At Washington Redskins
- QuarterbackThe Cowboys were in a position to register an impressive victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 15, but they gave it away in the second half after dominating in the first 30 minutes. Tony Romo threw two fourth-quarter interceptions that allowed the Packers to complete their comeback. Cowboy supporters have become somewhat numbed by Romo’s inability to close out games.The Redskins have endured a disastrous season that could result in the firing of head coach Mike Shanahan at the end of the season. Shanahan decided to sit No. 1 quarterback Robert Griffin III in favor of Kirk Cousins, and while the backup played well in the Week 15 loss to Atlanta, the Redskins are in disarray.
- OffenseThe Cowboys have a plethora of offensive weapons. Running back DeMarco Murray has run for 977 yards and he is averaging 5.5 yards per carry, but apparently the Cowboys didn’t trust him to run out the clock vs. Green Bay. Dez Bryant is talented yet petulant as a wide receiver, while Jason Witten will catch anything he can reach.The Redskins have the running attack to exploit the Cowboys’ ineffective defense. Alfred Morris has run for 1,125 yards and has 10 carries of 20 yards or more. While the Redskins don’t have superstars at the wide receiver position, Pierre Garcon leads the team with 96 receptions. Santana Moss is no longer a game-breaking receiver. The Redskins want to get TE Jordan Reed (concussion) back in the lineup.
- DefenseThe Cowboys have been atrocious on the defensive side of the ball, ranking dead last (32nd) in yards allowed and passing yards allowed. The loss of middle linebacker Sean Lee (neck) hurts, but the big problem may be DeMarcus Ware, who no longer makes big plays at key moments. A week after the Bears pushed the Cowboys around in Week 14, the Packers did the same in the second half of Week 15.The Redskins have plenty of problems on defense that they are going to have to address in the offseason, but they are in much better shape than the Cowboys. Washington ranks 20th overall on defense and the personnel lacks speed. ILBs Perry Riley and London Fletcher have combined for 201 tackles, while OLB Brian Orakpo leads the team with 10.0 sacks.
- Special TeamsThe Cowboys generally do a solid job on special teams because they cover punts and kickoffs well while Dwayne Harris (hamstring) is a threat if he is healthy. PK Dan Bailey has had an impressive year, making 6-of-7 FG attempts of 50 yards or more.The Redskins have the worst coverage teams in the NFL by a wide margin. They gave up two return touchdowns vs. the Chiefs in Week 14 and they have given up four on the season. Placekicker Kai Forbath is just ordinary, having made 13-of-17 FG attempts.
The Cowboys’ inability to close out games has cost them terribly in losses to Detroit and Green Bay this year, and it could impact them again vs. the Redskins. Mike Shanahan may be nearing the end of his term as the Redskins’ head coach. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor