Final mistake most costly for Dallas Cowboys

LANDOVER, Md. – Donovan McNabb put on a different uniform, and finally found a way to beat the Dallas Cowboys.

It helped that his defense scored a huge momentum touchdown at the end of the first half and hung on to withstand a final threat at the end of the second half, surviving only when Dallas’ 12th penalty negated what appeared to be the winning score.

DeAngelo Hall returned a fumble 32 yards for Washington’s only touchdown, and McNabb completed 15 of 32 passes for 171 yards in his Redskins debut Sunday night in a season-opening 13-7 win over the Cowboys.

It was also the Redskins’ curtain-raiser for Mike Shanahan, and the longtime Denver Broncos coach watched his defense keep the Cowboys at bay when it mattered.

The Cowboys (0-1) moved inside the Redskins 40 on three of their first four drives and didn’t score a point, but the drive everyone will remember is the last one, which came after Graham Gano made a 49-yard field with 1:50 remaining to give the Redskins (1-0) a 13-7 lead.

The Cowboys started at their own 19 with 1:45 left. They converted a fourth-and-10 at Washington’s 43 when Tony Romo hit wide-open Miles Austin over the middle for a 30-yard gain with 12 seconds to go. Three plays later, Romo had only 3 seconds left on the clock, the ball at the 13-yard line. He scrambled to find Roy Williams open in the end zone.

But, while Williams and the Cowboys were celebrating, the official was calling Alex Barron for holding Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo, negating the score and providing a fitting end to a game in which the Cowboys made mistake after mistake.

McNabb was playing the Cowboys for the third straight game, the first player to do so since the 1970 merger. His Eagles lost to Dallas 24-0 to end the regular season in 2009, then 34-14 the following week in the playoffs in his last game with Philadelphia before the trade that sent him to the Redskins.

Romo completed 31 of 41 passes 282 yards for the Cowboys. Austin caught 10 passes for 146 yards and scored the game’s only offensive touchdown.

Redskins 13, Cowboys 7

Dallas 0 0 7 0 7
Washington 3 7 0 3 13

Was—FG Gano 29

Was—Hall 32 fumble return (Gano kick)

Dal—Austin 4 pass from Romo (Buehler kick)

Was—FG Gano 49


Dal Was
First downs 24 17
Total Net Yards 380 250
Rushes-yards 22-103 23-89
Passing 277 161
Punt Returns 1-11 0-0
Kickoff Returns 3-50 2-76
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 31-48-0 15-32-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-5 1-10
Punts 6-40.7 6-41.2
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 12-91 5-42
Time of Possession 34:03 25:57


RUSHING—Dallas, Barber 8-39, Jones 8-38, Choice 5-18, Gronkowski 1-8. Washington, Portis 18-63, McNabb 1-17, Johnson 3-9, Bidwell 1-0.

PASSING—Dallas, Romo 31-47-0-282, Barber 0-1-0-0. Washington, McNabb 15-32-0-171.

RECEIVING—Dallas, Austin 10-146, Bryant 8-56, Witten 3-27, R.Williams 3-21, Jones 2-26, Barber 2-1, Choice 2-(minus 2), Bennett 1-7. Washington, Cooley 6-80, Moss 6-77, Armstrong 1-11, Sellers 1-2, Portis 1-1.

MISSED FIELD GOALS—Dallas, Buehler 34 (WR).

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