Redskins vs. Cowboys: Dallas' Biggest Winners and Losers from Week 17

Jason Henry@thenprojectCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2012

Redskins vs. Cowboys: Dallas' Biggest Winners and Losers from Week 17

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    The Washington Redskins entered Sunday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys with a chance to make the playoffs and become champions of the NFC East for the first time since 1999.

    They accomplished both on a cold night in D.C. by beating the Cowboys 28-18.

    Redskins running back Alfred Morris ran for 200 yards on the night, scored three touchdowns and averaged a sick 6.1 yards per clip. He was great for the 'Skins Sunday night and picked up any slack left by an injured Robert Griffin.

    In regards to RGIII's performance, he only passed for 100 yards, but there was no need to put the ball in the air when the running game was so good.

    In addition to Morris' fantastic night, Bobby Three Sticks rushed for 63 yards.

    The Cowboys couldn't handle the zone read from the Redskins in the second half as Morris just wore them down.

    For the Cowboys, most of the blame for the loss to the hated Redskins will fall squarely on quarterback Tony Romo. Not only did Romo turn the ball over three times, but his last interception came when the Cowboys were in position to at least tie the game in the fourth quarter.

    During the month of December, and in the fourth quarter, Romo was dang near perfect for Dallas. He was playing well and doing all in his power to will the Cowboys to the playoffs.

    Then Sunday night happened and we witnessed the regression.

    Romo was back to his old form of folding in big games and turning the ball over.

    Dallas now heads back to the state of Texas for another summer of soul searching. While they try to figure out how to change their team for the better, the Redskins will move to preparing for the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs next weekend.

    So, in this season-ending edition of winners and losers, here are 11 individuals who either came up big for Dallas on Sunday, or had a hand in sending them home.

LOSER: Tony Romo, QB

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    How in the world can we not start with Romo? He throws three interceptions, one in crunch time, has one of his worst games of the season and yells at his receivers for not catching overthrown balls?

    For years I have defended Romo's actions on the field. He has made bad throws and decisions like most NFL quarterbacks, but he was still the best chance at winning the Cowboys have.

    While the latter is still true, I believe Romo has an embedded inability to come up in big games.

    This was his third chance to cash out on a win-or-go-home game, and he spun for bankrupt again.

    Romo's turnovers, 218 yards passing and an interception in the fourth quarter that will probably haunt him for the next year or two will be plastered on the hearts of Cowboys fans across the nation all summer.

WINNER: DeMarco Murray, RB

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    Murray only ran the ball 17 times, but he got 76 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per rush.

    His game will be overshadowed by Morris' 200-yard night, but he did a great job. I think his yards on the ground pale in comparison to his ability to pick up the blitz.

    Romo was assaulted all night by the Redskins defense, and for his part, Murray did a great job of picking up his man when Romo saw the slaughter coming.

    It will be a long offseason for Murray, but at least Dallas can rest easy knowing that they have stability at the running back position. Now, if he could only stay healthy.

LOSER: Miles Austin, WR

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    Miles Austin's catches on the night of his team's biggest game of the season? Zero.

    Austin was up and down all game due to an ankle injury, but that came as no surprise to many. Austin's health has been nothing short of fragile lately, and he is no longer dependable.

    He was targeted three times by Romo, but was largely ineffective because he was hurt. Huge surprise.

WINNER: Dwayne Harris, WR

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    Harris had just one catch for 25 yards, but this kid has the potential to be really good.

    Every time he gets his hands on the ball, he seems to make something happen.

    He had three punt returns on the night for 78 yards, but none bigger than his 39-yard return in the fourth quarter with about seven minutes on the clock.

    Harris had an almost-breakout season, and many expect him to usurp Kevin Ogletree as the team's third receiver next year.

LOSER: Kevin Ogletree, WR

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    So much was expected out of Ogletree after his big game in prime time to start the year. He caught eight balls for 114 yards and two touchdowns, but has been a dud ever since.

    Ogletree did catch a touchdown pass against the 'Skins, but that was due in part to the Cowboys being without Dez Bryant and Miles Austin due to injury.

WINNER: Alfred Morris, RB

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    I don't usually mention players from the other team on these lists, but it is really tough to leave this kid out.

    Morris ran the ball 33 times for 200 yards and three touchdowns. He busted former Redskins running back Clinton Portis' single-season rushing record and carried his team to the playoffs all at the same dang time.

    With Griffin III and Morris in the backfield, the Redskins have the potential of having one of the best quarterback/running back duos in the league for a long time.

    Remember, Morris was just a sixth-round pick.

LOSER: Cowboys Defense

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    The Cowboys' depleted defense gave up 361 yards on the night, which, on the surface, doesn't seem that bad.

    Then we look a little deeper and we realize the Redskins had 274 of those yards on the ground.

    The Cowboys were without starting nose tackle Jay Ratliff, reserve nose tackle Josh Brent, linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter, defensive end Kenyon Coleman and many others.

    Not to mention that hybrid linebacker DeMarcus Ware was playing with one arm. He has a hyperextended elbow to go along with a shoulder that kept popping out of place.

    The defense was running on less than fumes, but that's still no excuse for the Cowboys to play so badly.

    It's almost as if Morris paid the defense off and he just did whatever he wanted to do.

    Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has a lot of work to do in the offseason, but not only that, the Cowboys also have to improve their bench if they want to compete.

WINNER: Dez Bryant, WR

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    Most will say that Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall won the night with Bryant. He held the playmaking receiver to just four catches on the night and kept him out of the end zone for the first time since November 4.

    But the Redskins blitzed from Bryant’s side all night, forcing Romo to roll away from Bryant’s side of the field.

    Not only that, but Hall also had a little help.

    That’s in addition to Bryant’s broken finger and a back injury he suffered late in the game.

    For the way he played down the stretch, and through the pain off a broken finger that will require surgery and a bone graft, Bryant deserves the praise he receives.

LOSER: Dallas Cowboys

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    This one is simple and to the point: The Cowboys lost.

    They had such a great opportunity to beat their division rival, send them home and book their own tickets for the playoffs.

    Instead, there are even more questions surrounding the validity of this team. The Romo questions notwithstanding, how will they go about making the offensive line better? Is a better pass rush needed up front? Can the Cowboys continue to count on Miles Austin?

    Should they draft another running back in case Murray and Jones keep getting injured? Will Jason Garrett's hot seat become scalding if the Cowboys get off to a slow start?

    Where do we even begin to go with this team during the offseason? The injuries were one thing, but to completely jump out the window for their last game and leave nothing but turnovers on the field? I'm sure many fans expected a better performance.

WINNER: Anthony Spencer, LB

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    Spencer recorded the team's lone sack of the night, bringing his season total to 11, which is good enough for a career high.

    Spencer should receive the long-term deal he wanted from the Cowboys this offseason, and for the way he played this year, it is well deserved.

LOSER: Rob Ryan, DC

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    Ryan didn't have a lot to work with this season. He lost Lee, Carter, Scandrick, Ratliff, Brent, Church, Ware and others throughout the year. Yet, with so many injuries to key players, he did his best with a group of players who are reserves at best.

    Ryan will receive a lot of criticism for the way his defense was chewed up by Morris on Sunday, which is why I'm listing him as a loser.

    Some of the critiques will be warranted, but considering who he lost and how the Cowboys were signing players off of the street to play defense, I would say he did a pretty decent job.