Cowboys continue mastery of Redskins with 21-18 win

Parcells out-duels Gibbs in first meeting since 1990

September 28, 2004|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- When you're Navy, you're supposed to beat Army. When you're Alabama, you're supposed to be beat Auburn.

And when you're the Washington Redskins, you're supposed to beat the Dallas Cowboys. But the Redskins still can't, not even with their would-be savior, coach Joe Gibbs, on the sideline at a Redskins-Cowboys game for the first time since 1992.

Led by quarterback Vinny Testaverde and a defense that made stops when it needed to, the Cowboys beat the Redskins, 21-18, last night in the first game between Gibbs and Dallas coach Bill Parcells since 1990, when Parcells was with the New York Giants.

The Cowboys (2-1) have now won 13 of 14 games against Washington (1-2), and Parcells has taken seven straight from Gibbs.

Said Gibbs, who started 0-5 as a first-year coach in 1981: "I've been farther down than this. It's early."

Leading 14-10, Dallas nearly put the game away when Richie Anderson took a handoff on an option play and threw 26 yards to Terry Glenn for a touchdown to make it 21-10 with 13 minutes left.

"The halfback pass is a play that we worked on all week," Testaverde said. "It was the perfect spot on the field to call it."

But the Redskins rallied, making the game tantalizingly close for their fans at the end.

The comeback began on a two-play touchdown drive. Quarterback Mark Brunell hit Rod Gardner for 49 yards to the Dallas 15, then followed with a touchdown pass to Gardner on the next play. Brunell threw to Taylor Jacobs for a two-point conversion to make it 21-18 with 4:30 left.

The Redskins got the ball back with 21 seconds left. After a short completion, Brunell hit Gardner for 46 yards to the Dallas 21, but the wide receiver could not get out of bounds and the clock ran out before the Redskins could attempt a tying field goal.

The Redskins were out of timeouts. Miscommunication had caused at least one timeout to be used earlier in the half, Brunell said.

"Obviously we could have used at least one at the end," the quarterback said.

Leading 7-3, the Cowboys padded their lead on their second possession of the third quarter. Dallas receiver Antonio Bryant got inside cornerback Fred Smoot for a 48-yard reception to the Washington 33, and Testaverde hit Jason Witten two plays later with a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-3.

But Washington made it 14-10 on a 62-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Gardner on Washington's last full series of the third quarter. The drive was kept alive on a key penalty. Brunell overthrew Clinton Portis on a fourth-and-one, but a roughing call on Dallas gave the Redskins a first down on the Dallas 26.

Gibbs fell to 12-13 against the Cowboys in his career, and the Redskins dropped their second straight game against an NFC East opponent.

"I'm confident we're going to win some games," Brunell said. "You'll see us turn this thing around."

The Cowboys scored first after Washington cornerback Walt Harris was called for a 40-yard pass interference penalty for grabbing Glenn, placing the ball on the Washington 1. Eddie George bulled in for the score on the next play with 4:01 left in the first quarter. Washington was trying to establish its ground game with Portis, who had been averaging 3.2 yards a carry since going 64 yards for a touchdown on his first carry as a Redskin.

Portis carried 13 times for 58 yards in the first half. He finished with 94 yards on 23 carries. Washington, which entered the game with three touchdowns in two games, was slowed in the first half by overthrows by Brunell and drops by receivers.

Dallas relied heavily on a short passing game to evade the blitz. Testaverde, who entered the game with consecutive 300-yard passing games, threw or tried to throw on his first five offensive plays, and Dallas did not attempt a running play until 6:45 remained in the first quarter when Anderson ran for 13 yards.

Testaverde finished 14-for-29 for 214 yards. He also threw a touchdown for the third straight game.

The Redskins put together a 91-yard scoring drive on their last possession of the first half, making it 7-3 on a 19-yard field goal by John Hall. A 20-yard pass to Laveranues Coles put the ball on the 1, but the Redskins could not punch the ball in for a touchdown on three plays.

NOTES: Gibbs, who had been questioned about not using a replay challenge on a play in Washington's opening game, successfully challenged a call in the first quarter, overturning an interception by Dallas cornerback Pete Hunter. Gibbs made his second challenge when Cowboys punt returner Dedric Ward muffed a punt but was ruled down, allowing Dallas to keep the ball. Gibbs lost another challenge on Glenn's touchdown from Anderson.

Dallas 7 0 7 7-21

Washington 0 3 7 8-18

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