Cowboys' kick at :00 keeps 'Skins winless, 9-7

Davis' late fumble sets up 26-yarder, Dallas' first win

October 16, 2001|By Matt Mosley | Matt Mosley,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IRVING, Texas - For the first three quarters, the Washington Redskins-Dallas Cowboys game lived down to its billing. There were fumbled snaps, missed field goals, dropped passes and a multitude of 2-yard runs.

Then, all at once, the Redskins' offense showed signs of life. With 12:16 remaining in the game, Tony Banks threw a perfect 31-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Michael Westbrook to give Washington a four-point lead. It looked too good to be true for the struggling Redskins.

And, in the end, it was.

Tim Seder's 26-yard field goal as time expired gave the Cowboys a 9-7 victory, and administered another dose of misery to the Redskins. Washington (0-5) is off to its worst start since losing the first seven of 1998, and it has dropped eight straight to Dallas (1-4).

One potential positive for the Redskins was the score; they had lost every game by at least 14 points while getting outscored 135-25.

"It's miserable," Washington coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I wouldn't have thought that this was possible. It's difficult. There are no prizes for losing."

The Redskins appeared to have victory in hand with 2:40 left to play, but Stephen Davis fumbled on the Cowboys' 33-yard line. Davis had run past the first-down marker when Cowboys rookie defensive tackle John Nix reached in and stripped the ball. Greg Ellis recovered the fumble.

Cowboys quarterback Anthony Wright had two quick completions, to Darrin Chiaverini for 15 yards and to Raghib Ismail for 18 yards. Emmitt Smith then put Seder in position with a 13-yard run.

"There were so many positive things that happened out there that a lot of people won't even notice," said Smith, who finished with 107 yards on 25 carries. "I feel a chemistry with this team. We can be a decent football club."

For Banks, cut from the Cowboys after two preseason games, it was another disappointment: he completed 10 of 18 for 132 yards. He said he was ready to put his Dallas experience behind him, but then couldn't help taking a parting shot.

"I wish they [Cowboys] had a chance to see me play," Banks said. "I would've like to have thrown to Joey [Galloway] and Rocket. Nothing against our receivers, but those guys have a little more experience."

Davis had 23 carries for 99 yards, but it was his fumble that stood out.

"You never know when it's your turn to make a big play," Nix said. "Sometimes it's your night to make the play and tonight was my night."

Dallas led 3-0 as the teams stumbled into the fourth quarter. Seder made a 28-yard field goal with 21 seconds left in the first half to give the Cowboys a 3-0 lead. The kick followed an 11-play, 77-yard drive that lasted 3:34.

The Cowboys then tried a squib kick that Washington recovered on its own 41.

Banks completed an 18-yard pass to rookie Rod Gardner on the sideline with one second left, but Brett Conway missed a 44-yard field goal wide right as time expired.

Banks set the game's tone when he fumbled the snap on the Redskins' first play from scrimmage, and the Cowboys followed suit for the most part. The first half offered Monday Night Football viewers a punting showcase and a good night's rest.

Washington lost two of its top players before the game reached halftime: rookie Fred Smoot (left knee sprain) and tight end Stephen Alexander (right ankle sprain).

Washington linebacker Lavar Arrington cost his team 35 yards in penalties in the first half. With 2:33 left in the first quarter, the Redskins stopped Smith for no gain. But a full second after referees had whistled the play dead, Arrington got a running start and then did a Superman-like dive onto the pile.

The penalty gave Dallas the ball at the Washington 31-yard line, but the Cowboys netted minus-3 yards on the next three plays and chose to punt instead of allowing Seder to attempt a 52-yard field goal. Seder missed a 41-yard field goal wide left with 6:24 left in the second quarter.

But, Seder's final kick was perfect. He showed no ill effects of having his right leg grazed by a horse that was on the field for pre-game festivities. The kicker backed into the horse and their legs accidentally met.

"It rubbed a little luck off on me," Seder said. "It turned out pretty well."

Washington 0 0 0 7 - 7

Dallas 0 3 0 6 - 9

Second quarter Dal-FG Seder 28, :21.

Fourth quarter Was-Westbrook 31 pass from Banks (Conway kick), 12:16.

Dal-FG Seder 39, 6:36.

Dal-FG Seder 26, :00.

A-63,941.

....................Was...Dal

First downs...10...23

Rushes-yards...26-103...45-211

Passing...123...175

Punt Returns...1-2...2-26

Kickoff Returns...3-35...2-32

Interceptions Ret. ...1-36...0-0

Comp-Att-Int...10-18-0...15-28-1

Sacked-Yards Lost...2-9...1-2

Punts...7-39.9...4-36.3

Fumbles-Lost...2-1...0-0

Penalties-Yards...7-60...3-22

Time of Possession...23:15...36:45

Rushing-Washington, Davis 23-99, Banks 3-4. Dallas, Smith 25-107, Hambrick 9-68, Wright 8-32, Chiaverini 1-3, Thomas 1-2, Ismail 1-(minus 1).

Passing-Washington, Banks 10-18-0-132. Dallas, Wright 15-28-1-177.

Receiving-Washington, Bennett 3-39, Gardner 3-36, Carter 3-26, Westbrook 1-31. Dallas, Smith 5-45, Galloway 4-51, Ismail 3-50, Chiaverini 2-25, Thomas 1-6.

Missed field goals-Washington, Conway 44 (WR), Dallas, Seder 41 (WL), 52 (WL).

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