The Cowboys came into this season considered one of the best teams in the NFC East and a legit contender to make the Super Bowl. Then they came out against the Redskins and gave a lot of reasons why they shouldn't be contenders for anything, but I'll just give you the top five.
1) Jason Garrett likes to get too cute with the offense.
Tony Romo came out on fire on the Cowboys first drive and then Jason Garrett got cute with two quick throws to Dez Bryant, which stalled the entire drive and the Cowboys ended up punting. Garrett is like that hot girl you see in a club. She's cute, sexy and you know your going to have a lot of fun with her, but she's not that girl you marry, She the girl you date for a while, then move on.
The Cowboys gained a lot of yards on offense, but it didn't amount to much and as much as I (along with millions of other Cowboys fans) want to kill Alex Barron, you can't put it all on him. The Cowboys trying to move the ball from their own 30 with 30 seconds left, is one of the worst coaching moves I've ever seen and it resulted in the difference in the game. Garrett should've called a knee, but he got cute and because of Tashard Choice, he got burned.
2) The Cowboys defense is good...not great
The Cowboys defense is good at a lot of things, they're good at rushing the passer (1 sack, three hits on McNabb and countless pressures). They're good at stopping the run (23 rushes for 89 yards by Washington) and they're good at not letting teams score much giving up just 13 points.
Super Bowl defenses aren't good, they're great. The Cowboys defense is undisciplined (too many offsides penalties), doesn't create turnovers and doesn't take advantage of mistakes. Keith Brooking and Bradie James had a combined 15 tackles but didn't dominate the middle last night like they did most of last season. Also the Cowboys missed Junior Siavii inside when Ratliff needed a rest as Josh Brent wasn't very effective.
3) The Cowboys commit way too many penalties and make too many mistakes.
Dallas committed 12 penalties for 91 yards including Barron's holding penalty to end the game. Other notable penalties include Terence Newman's holding where he caught an interception, Orlando Scandrick's offside on a field goal attempt (although that ended up working in Dallas' favor) ans Miles Austin's offsides on the last drive.
Tashard Choice's fumble was the only TD the Redskins scored, without that the Cowboys win. When you look back on a season and wonder where a team could've picked up a game or two, performances like this stick out like a white dress at a funeral.
4) Roy Williams still stinks.
He had the would be game winning TD and had a really good catch early in the game on a third down, but was once again a non factor. Dez Bryant out played him, something that will happen often this season. The Cowboys wasted no time making Bryant part of the offense (with two of the worst plays in the game, however) and eventually he settled in to finish with eight catches for 56 yards.
If Williams can get his stuff together, (which he probably won't) it would go a long way to making the Cowboys more effective on offense, something they're going to need until they're line is back healthy.
5) Wade Phillips will not be angry at last night's performance.
We know Wade will be disappointed, and even upset, but not angry. Bill Parcells would be angry, Jimmy Johnson would be furious, but Phillips will say that the Cowboys have a lot to fix and hopefully they'll work the kinks out before their game against Chicago, then he'll say that the run game was good and Romo did a good job and Bryant played well for his first game in a year, but it's that optimism that makes the Cowboys not see the error of their ways.
If you tell a kid you're going to spank him then you don't, he won't learn and eventually he'll stop being scared. That's pretty much Wade's way of coaching. He gets annoyed and even mad, but he'll give the Cowboys a stern warning and maybe even yell at them, that's about it.
The Cowboys did a lot of things well. They moved the ball just fine considering all the questions about their offense after a poor preseason. The defense held the Redskins offense to two field goals. Bryant showed his skill set and you can tell the Cowboys are calling his number.
Montrae Holland had a good game on the offensive line. Miles Austin had a great game and was pretty much the Cowboys offense for most of the game. He also quieted the critics about his offseason lifestyle and his drive after getting a new contract.
However it's the same old story with Dallas, they get in their own way, and while Washington desperately tried to give the game away, the Cowboys did just enough to hold themselves back (literally in Barron's case). That's something Super Bowl teams don't do, and with the Cowboys having the third hardest schedule in the league, it's something they can't afford to do.