Dallas Cowboys lose 38-31 to RG3 and Redskins
- Article by: STEPHEN HAWKINS
- Associated Press
- November 22, 2012 - 9:44 PM
ARLINGTON, Texas - Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could only marvel at how well Robert Griffin III played.
Jones isn't looking forward to facing the rookie quarterback again in the last game of the regular season — at Washington.
By then, the Cowboys could be just finishing out the season because of their momentum-busting 38-31 loss Thursday to the Redskins, who scored four touchdowns in the second quarter and held on despite Tony Romo's second-half rally.
"Really, I have to almost pinch myself to realize that he was out there playing against Texas Tech about a year ago, and here he is really doing a number on us," Jones said. "I was in awe of RG3, and the plays that he was making."
Griffin, the Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor who played only one half of a college game at Cowboys Stadium, threw for 311 yards and four touchdowns in his first pro game in the building.
Jason Hatcher had Griffin wrapped up and in trouble only three plays into the game, leading the quarterback to sling the ball and get flagged for intentional grounding. He was sacked on the second drive, and hit numerous times throughout the game — and yet that wasn't enough to rattle the rookie.
"Hitting him, and he's still throwing, that's two different things," Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware said.
"He surprised me with how accurate he is throwing the ball. ... We actually hit the guy a lot," Marcus Spears said. "But he was able to make plays and obviously we didn't do enough to get it done. The kid's a hell of a football player. I think everybody knew that coming into the game."
Griffin proved it to the Cowboys (5-6), completing 20 of 28 passes for 311 yards while become the first Washington quarterback with consecutive four-TD games.
After winning consecutive games, while the NFC East-leading Giants lost two in a row, the Cowboys now are tied with the Redskins for second place in the division. The teams meet again Dec. 30, after the Cowboys play three of their next four games at home, including their next game against Philadelphia.
When asked about his team's playoff chances, the ever-optimistic Jones seemed cautious.
"All I can do is again look at the numbers, and I can't enthusiastically say," Jones said. "It looks to me like our best opportunity would be trying to end up with the best record in the NFC East, and I don't know what that's going to be. I don't know if 8-8 will get it there or not, and I sure don't know if we're going to be 8-8."
Then, Jones again pointed out the last game against Griffin and the Redskins (5-6).
Romo lost for the first time in six starts on Thanksgiving, despite a career-high 441 yards and three second-half touchdowns, including the longest of his career — an 85-yarder to Dez Bryant. Romo ran in a 2-point conversion after a TD throw to Felix Jones and threw another scoring pass to Bryant to help Dallas close to 35-28 with 8:24 remaining after the Cowboys trailed 28-3 at halftime.
After the Cowboys pulled within a touchdown, Griffin drove them into scoring position again, calmly completing three passes for first downs and running 5 1/2 minutes off the clock before Kai Forbath made it 38-28 on a 48-yard field goal.
Dallas then drove to a field goal, but DeAngelo Hall easily picked up the onside kick and ran untouched before sliding down short of the goal line, clinching Romo's third loss in three career 400-yard games. It also was the Cowboys' first loss to the Redskins in seven games on Thanksgiving.
Griffin hit Aldrick Robinson in stride for a 68-yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead to spark the first 28-point quarter in 13 years for Washington.
Griffin's next big throw wasn't nearly as accurate, but Pierre Garcon somehow came down with it and outran the Dallas defense the final 45 yards on a 59-yard score for a 21-3 lead.
Romo's first interception in four games gave the Redskins a chance to get one more score before halftime when Hall returned it to the Dallas 33 with 30 seconds left. Moss kept both feet in while falling out of bounds on a 6-yard TD for a 28-3 lead.
Griffin completed 12 straight passes from the middle of the first quarter to the middle of the third and finished 20 of 28.
"They hit a lot of plays on us, they were hitting some big plays and we weren't playing very well," defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said. "That's just the truth."
Already without leading tackler and linebacker Sean Lee, safety Barry Church and nose tackle Jay Ratliff because of injuries, the Cowboys defense got banged up more. Linebacker Bruce Carter injured his left elbow in the fourth quarter, defense tackle Jason Hatcher left with concussion-like symptoms and nickel back Orlando Scandrick fractured his left hand.
"We have to find some way to overcome," Ware said. "We have a lot of guys out, but at the end of the day, you have to find a way to stop offenses and be effective."
NOTES: Dallas WR Miles Austin left with a strained right hip in the first half. ... Bryant had his fourth 100-yard receiving game this season, with eight catches. He matched his career high with his second consecutive 145-yard game. ... The Cowboys had won their first three Thanksgiving games at Cowboys Stadium.
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