Colt McCoy passed for 299 yards and ran for a touchdown to lead the Washington Redskins to a 20-17 overtime upset against the Dallas Cowboys in one of the most memorable Monday Night Football games of recent memory. Our takeaways:
1. McCoy extended his career by a couple of years and a few million dollars with an impressive performance on national television. His completion percentage is the highest in franchise history for any quarterback with at least 30 attempts. McCoy made plays with his legs, completed 25 of 30 passes and oversaw an offense that rolled up 257 yards in the second half and overtime. He escaped pressure to lob a beautiful pass on the run to Jordan Reed for a third-down conversion that led to the overtime field goal and stood as the game winner. With a bye on the horizon in Week 10, the Redskins might decide McCoy’s boffo performance gives them the luxury to sit Robert Griffin III for one more week.
2. Tony Romo gave Cowboys fans a scare when he was forced to the locker room after getting drilled in his surgically repaired back. The injury appeared to be serious enough that his return with just under two minutes remaining in regulation added an air of drama to the proceedings. Romo was unable to move the offense at the end of the fourth quarter and overtime after Brandon Weeden led the team to 10 points in his two drives. Coach Jason Garrett confirmed after the game that Romo has a back contusion. X-rays were negative.
3. If there was one drawback to McCoy’s performance, it was that his lack of arm strength was evident on sideline outs and vertical passes to DeSean Jackson. Although the deep threat’s 136 yards were more than the rest of the receivers combined, he could have gone for an 87-yard touchdown on a 49-yard catch had McCoy hit him in stride. Jackson seemed to get open at will against Dallas’ secondary.
4. Rolando McClain‘s Comeback Player of the Year bid has taken a hit the past two weeks. He missed or was out of position on at least three tackles against the Redskins after whiffing on a handful in the Giants game last week. The Cowboys‘ defense was exposed as a mediocre outfit, allowing 4.8 yards per carry on the season. That’s a problem when the offense doesn’t control time of possession.
5. Rod Marinelli‘s defense also absorbed a costly blow with the loss of linebacker Justin Durant, who tore his biceps and is expected to miss the rest of the season, per Jerry Jones. Durant, defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford and cornerback Orlando Scandrick have joined with McClain as the backbone of an overachieving defense.
6. It was the same old story for Dallas’ offense. The line mauled the Redskins‘ defensive front, paving the way for DeMarco Murray‘s eighth consecutive 100-yard game to open the season. Murray did lose his league-leading fifth fumble fighting for extra yards at the end of a long play but also showed an extra gear in the open field as a runner and receiver. A model of patience, decisiveness and explosiveness, Murray piled up a season-high 221 yards from scrimmage on 23 touches. He’s now on pace for 2,108 rushing yards, which would break Eric Dickerson’s single-season record of 2,105.
7. Credit Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett for getting to Romo with an array of blitzes. The five sacks are the most allowed by the Cowboys since 2012. Four of those five came via inside linebackers and safeties, evidence of a great game called by Haslett.
9. Alfred Morris‘ 29-yard scamper was his longest of the season. Outside of that run, he averaged just 2.6 yards per carry. He can’t wait for Robert Griffin III to return: Throughout his career, Morris has averaged 25 more yards per game and over a yard more per carry with Griffin under center.