Washington Redskins: Winners and Losers from Redskins Loss vs. Cowboys
It was a bruising and ugly game on both ends, but one that will sting much harder for a Redskins team that let a win on the road slip away.
Still, it is a long season, and there is a lot that can be taken away from this game going forward. There were more losers than winners for the Redskins after their first road game, but that is to be expected after a game like Monday's.
Let's take a closer look at the winners and losers from the Washington Redskins' 18-16 defeat.
LaRon Landry: Winner
Oh, what a sight for Jim Haslett's sore eyes.
LaRon Landry reminded every Redskins fan what the defense had been missing from its secondary—the big-play ability.
In the first half, he forced a fumble deep in Dallas territory that led to Graham Gano's second field goal. He complemented that with a huge hit on Laurent Robinson to break up a critical third-down pass from Tony Romo.
Monday night's game was the first action that Landry has seen since the midway point of the 2010 season, but it looks like he has not lost a step. Expect big things from Landry going forward.
Tim Hightower: Push
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
It's not like Hightower hasn't had a chance to prove himself. Coming into this matchup, Hightower led all running backs in carries over two weeks with 48.
He was fed early and often, but between slipping on a slick terrain and not taking advantage of big lanes from the offensive line, Hightower averaged less than two yards per carry in the first quarter. This left Mike Shanahan no choice but to put in Roy Helu in hopes of providing a spark in the second frame of the game.
Hightower's second half was a different story, though. He was a key component on the Redskins' only touchdown drive, rushing for 20 yards and capping it off with his first career touchdown reception.
Despite this, Hightower only saw the field for the final Redskins drive as a result of a perplexing decision by Shanahan and son. Overall, Hightower's performance was subpar and was salvaged only by that scoring drive. Nothing else.
Special Teams: Losers
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Things started out encouragingly enough for the Redskins special teams unit when Graham Gano hit his first two field goal attempts of the night.
From there, however, it unraveled. A botched hold by Sav Rocca gave the momentum back to the Dallas Cowboys, who blocked Gano's kick and promptly drove down the field to take a 9-6 second-quarter lead.
It turned out to be the difference of the game.
DeAngelo Hall: Loser
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
It was a good performance overall by the Washington Redskins secondary, but the team's top corner faltered when it meant the most.
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett displayed his faith in his secondary by blitzing a hobbled Tony Romo, leaving one-on-one coverage late in the game. On a 3rd-and-21, DeAngelo Hall was not only beat by an unhealthy Dez Bryant, but he tacked on an additional 15 yards with an undisciplined facemask penalty.
Not a great way to maintain a defensive coordinator's trust.
Kyle Shanahan: Biggest Loser
Win McNamee/Getty Images
After the Redskins took a 16-9 lead late in the game, how did they capitalize?
By leaving enough time on the clock for the Dallas Cowboys to come back. Of the next 16 plays from scrimmage, Shanahan called for 14 passes to two runs, despite Tim Hightower grinding out 20 yards on the Redskins' previous touchdown drive.
The Redskins barely ran out any of the clock and allowed just enough time for Tony Romo to make plays, despite being one hit away from leaving the game in a body cast.
However, of all the injuries endured, the loss is what stings the most.