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#WASvsDAL: Third Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Andrew Walker on November 22, 2012 – 7:11 pm

(AP photo)

The Dallas Cowboys got things started in the second half much like they did in the first half: with a field goal.

But with the Redskins bringing a 28-3 lead into the second half, field goals weren’t going to get the job done. They did get a huge 85-yard touchdown play in the third quarter, but the Redskins still hold a commanding lead.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Redskins lead the Cowboys, 28-13.

The Cowboys received the kickoff to open the second half and began from their own 20-yard line:

– Dallas found success with its no-huddle offense to begin the second half, getting to the Washington 39-yard line before wide receiver Dez Bryant dropped a first-down pass to kill the no-huddle momentum a little bit.
– On the next play, the Redskins’ defense apparently forgot how to tackle. Felix Jones caught a Tony Romo pass out of the backfield and evaded three Redskins tacklers before he was forced out of bounds at the six-yard line for a gain of 33 yards.
– But, after a nice defensive play by middle linebacker, a false start and an incompletion, the Cowboys faced a 3rd and Goal from the 15. Romo had all kinds of time to throw on the play and ran around before his pass to the end zone was incomplete.
– Dan Bailey’s 33-yard field goal was good.

Nice of the Cowboys to kill their own momentum with the false start penalty. I thought they were destined to find the end zone for the first time today, the way that drive was going. Good job by the Washington defense to make sure that didn’t happen.

12:04: Redskins 28, Cowboys 6
Scoring drive: 10 plays, 65 yards, 3:12

The Redskins began their first drive of the second half from their own 13-yard line:

– On their first play of the drive, quarterback Robert Griffin III was crunched for a loss of eight on a huge sack by defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. Wow. That had to hurt.
– After a eight-yard pass play to tight end Logan Paulsen, the Redskins faced a 3rd and 10. Griffin III — alone in the backfield — found receiver Joshua Morgan on the slant play, which was good for 10 yards. After the chain gain measured the spot of the ball, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan challenged that Morgan’s spot of forward progress was enough for the first down. The ruling on the field stood, however, and the Redskins elected to punt.
– On the punt, Niles Paul was flagged for a falst start, forcing Sav Rocca to field the snap from Nick Sundberg at his own three-yard line.

Dallas punt returner Dwayne Harris returned the booming, 58-yard punt eight yards to the Cowboys’ 33-yard line, where they began their next drive:

– Dallas began the drive with a four-yard completion from Romo to tight end Jason Witten. The two were unable to hook up on a deep attempt across the middle on the next play.
– On 3rd and 6, Romo was sacked by defensive end Stephen Bowen, who made the big play against his former team.

It was a loss of seven yards, but gave the Redskins’ defensive front their first sack against the elusive Romo. Perhaps more is to come as Romo will begin launching the ball downfield?

The Redskins began the ensuing drive at their own 20-yard line:

– Keeping the theme from the first half, Griffin III handed off to running back Alfred Morris on the first play of the drive. He got five hard yards. Morris got the call again on the next play, this time for three yards.
– On 3rd and 2, Griffin III — in the pistol with running back Evan Royster behind him — found Paulsen for a gain of three yards and the first down. Paulsen appeared to escape his defender and squeeze down the sideline, but he was ruled out of bounds right at the first-down marker.
– Griffin III continued in the pistol, but one incomplete pass and a three-yard run by Morris later, the Redskins faced a 3rd and 7. Griffin III was flushed out of the pocket and threw to receiver Santana Moss, who caught the ball — but out of bounds.

After a 51-yard punt by Rocca, the Cowboys began from their own 21-yard line:

– The Cowboys got four yards on their first play on a short pass from Romo to Bryant. They got the first down on the next play on a six-yard catch by Witten.
– Two plays later, Romo dropped back and threw the ball before he was crushed again by Bowen. The pass was incomplete, however, setting up a 3rd and 8. But Bryant was flagged for a false start prior to the snap. The Cowboys just aren’t sharp today.
– On 3rd and 13, however, Romo found Witten, who got separation from tight end Lorenzo Alexander, for a gain of 15 yards. C’mon.
– Three plays later, Dallas faced a 3rd and 7, but Romo was picked off by veteran middle linebacker London Fletcher. I don’t know how Romo didn’t see Fletcher just standing there, but another momentum killer for Dallas.

The Redskins began at their 49-yard line:

– They didn’t get far in two plays — just four yards to be exact — and faced a 3rd and 6 before Griffin III was flushed out of the pocket and flung an incompletion before being shoved out of bounds.

I wouldn’t say the Redskins are now playing not to lose, but they certainly don’t have the offensive swagger they had in the first half to this point. We’ll see if it comes back.

Dallas began the ensuing drive from their own 15-yard line:

– Speaking of swagger, the Cowboys finally gained some on their first play. Romo was flushed out of the pocket to his right and, on the run, found Bryant, who did the rest and ran 85 yards into the end zone.

Tip your cap there. Just a great play by Romo and Bryant. Josh Wilson tried to jump the route there and missed. Not much else you can do there.

1:38: Redskins 28, Cowboys 13
Drive summary: 1 play, 85 yards, 0:14

The Redskins began their next drive from their own 18:

– The first play was an attempted bubble screen to receiver Pierre Garcon, which went for two yards.
– That set up a read option in which Griffin III kept the ball and gained 14 yards on the ground by running around to his left, ending the third quarter.

CHIME IN: What are your thoughts on the third quarter of action today? Feel free to comment below?

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