Redskins' losing streak longest under owner Snyder
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) - All Mike Shanahan wanted to talk about after the Washington Redskins' sixth consecutive loss - his longest slide as an NFL head coach and the franchise's worst run under owner Dan Snyder - was the players' "poise" and "effort."
One player who stood up and heaped plenty of blame on himself: Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall. He was beaten by receiver Dez Bryant for a 26-yard pass from Tony Romo on third-and-15 in overtime, setting up the game-ending field goal for the Dallas Cowboys in their 27-24 victory over Washington on Sunday.
"I can't point a finger at anybody but myself. The way I'm playing right now, they need to go and cut me, because I'm definitely not worth what I'm getting. It's frustrating," said Hall, who also let Bryant get behind him on Dallas' opening score, a 24-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
"Hopefully they see something in me and bring me back next year," Hall added. "But the way things are going right now, I'm definitely not playing up to par."
For once, it was the defense - and not the mostly inept offense - taking the blame after a loss by Washington (3-7 after beginning the season 3-1).
In his second game since regaining the starting quarterback job from John Beck, Rex Grossman went 25 for 38 for 289 yards, two touchdown tosses, one TD on a 4-yard run, and one interception.
Not that all was smooth: Washington's first five possessions resulted in four punts, one turnover (on tight end Fred Davis' fumble after a catch), and one first down (which came only thanks to a penalty on Dallas).
"Things weren't going very well," Shanahan said. But, he explained, "Everybody kept their poise."
Well, that, and some poor special teams play by the Cowboys also helped.
The Redskins' next two drives began at Dallas' 32 and 43 - and both ended in the end zone, putting Washington ahead 14-10.
The Redskins hadn't scored two touchdowns in a quarter since Week 1, and they hadn't led any game at any time since a Week 4 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 2.
"Anytime the offense puts points on the board like that, we've got to win the game. We've got to win the game. We've been ... complaining all week - over the past couple weeks - about them putting up 10 points, nine points, 12," Hall said. "And they come out and put up ... 24, and we don't win the game."
Washington was in position to win it in OT, winning the coin flip and setting up kicker Graham Gano for a 52-yard field-goal attempt. But it sailed wide right, just like Gano's missed try from 49 yards in the third quarter.
"It's not one of those games where we just got beat down. We gave it away. We gave that one away," said Redskins receiver Jabar Gaffney, who had seven catches for 115 yards and one touchdown. "We've got to learn how to win again."
Gano said there were no problems with the snap or the hold on his whiff in the extra period.
"No excuses," Gano said. "Just missed it."
Dallas (6-4) then got the ball at its 42. Facing third-and-long from Washington's 44, Romo got the ball to Bryant to not only extend the drive, but also put the Cowboys in range for kicker Dan Bailey, whose 39-yard field goal ended the game 9:21 into overtime.
Shanahan made it sound as if he thought perhaps Bailey's kick didn't split the uprights.
"I'll be honest with you: I'm just disappointed they don't extend by another 10, 15 feet, so there is no question if a ball goes through," Shanahan said. "I've been like that for years: Why should there even be a question mark?"
Romo finished 23 for 37 for 292 yards and three touchdowns.
On the key completion to Bryant in OT - as well on other plays, including a 59-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten that put Dallas ahead 24-17 in the fourth quarter - Romo slid out of the pocket and bought time for his receivers to get open.
"It was a great play," said Hall, who signed a $54 million, six-year deal with Washington in 2009, "but it wasn't that amazing of a play."