The stage was set for the Washington Redskins in Dallas on a Sunday night in a national TV spot, and the Cowboys managed to push around Washington and have their way with them, ultimately winning the game, 31-16.
On a very difficult Monday morning, here's my six-pack of notes from Sunday night's game.
1. DeAngelo Hall
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall had one of his best games in a Redskins uniform Sunday night, as he shutdown one of the league's best receivers and saved the Redskins a touchdown following an ugly bite on a play action from safety Brandon Meriweather.
It wasn't necessarily a surprise that Hall was able to win the battle over Dez Bryant (we were talking about that last week). But it's always nice when Hall reminds fans that he's the best secondary player the Redskins have.
Does he gamble? Sure. Does said gambling get him in trouble sometimes? Absolutely. But that's the kind of player Hall is. More times than not, Hall is a reward rather than a risk.
2. So maybe he's not all the way back
Robert Griffin III looked much better than the previous four weeks following the first half. As a result, my personal excitement and hasty judgement allowed me to say things like, "RGIII is back."
Clearly, Griffin isn't all the way back.
Despite looking better in terms of mobility and confidence, Griffin failed to feel the rush, he was inaccurate on a large portion of his passes and progressing beyond his first read remains a work in progress.
With that said, this offense—given the makeup of the front line—needs to operate by getting the ball out quick. Griffin's offensive line paid him zero favors in terms of giving him time or allowing him to trust his protection.
3. Clock management
What in the hell was that?
Just before halftime, questionable use of the timeouts and unnecessary clock runoff was laughable.
To end the game, the fact that the Redskins weren't in a no-huddle offense with under nine minutes to go and trailing by two scores was even worse.
Once again, Mike Shanahan will receive criticism regarding his clock management and decision-making—and he deserves it. Shanny is clueless as to handling time-crunch situations.
4. Special teams
Look up the most degrading adjective you can find, and you can use that to describe the Redskins special teams Sunday night. The four games prior hasn't been much better.
New special teams coordinator Keith Burns has to be on the chopping block following this unit's performance through the first few weeks of the season. Penalties all over the place, poor coverage (specifically Sunday night) and an ineffective return game.
Most are quick to dismiss special teams, as it takes a backseat to offense and defense, but if the Redskins don't correct their woes in that facet of the game, they'll continue to pay for terrible field position, give their opponents a better shot to score and ultimately lose games.
5. Offensive line
Other than Trent Williams, the Redskins offensive line is atrocious.
It bothers me to call out Chris Chester, as he was one of the strong pieces of the line last year, but he just hasn't been good through five games.
This line is built on the premise of running effectively in the zone-blocking scheme. I get that. But things need to be tweaked for this offense to produce anything.
Spread it out, and get the ball out quickly. It's the only way to pass with this sort of line.
6. On the bright side
The NFC East is one of the ugliest divisions in the NFL. The Redskins aren't dead—not yet, anyway.