Loss to Redskins more of same for Dallas Cowboys

LANDOVER, Md. -- The seasons change.

Some of the names are different.

But the result remains the same for quarterback Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys.

Disappointment, mediocrity and ultimate failure.

It's no longer important that the Cowboys rallied from a 3-5 start to put themselves one win away from the NFC East title and their first playoff berth since 2009.

It matters not they overcame the loss of six starters on defense and endured the death of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown.

It was all for naught after Romo threw three interceptions in a 28-18 loss Sunday to the upstart Washington Redskins and former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III before a crowd of 82,845 at FedExField.

"It's very disappointing for our team," coach Jason Garrett said after coming out of an emotional postgame locker room. "You come up here with the intention of winning the game. At the end of the day, we didn't get the job done. We didn't get the job done."

For the second consecutive season and third time since 2008, the Cowboys (8-8) failed to deliver in a win-or-go-home battle for the division title and the playoffs.

In 2008 and 2011, the Cowboys failed on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.

The Redskins won the NFC East title for the first time since 1999, thanks to the courageous play of the gimpy Griffin, who played despite a knee injury.

Running back Alfred Morris led the way for the Redskins with a monster game on the ground, totaling 200 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries against a depleted Cowboys defense.

The Cowboys are out of playoffs for the third consecutive year while adding more fuel to Romo's reputation of failing in big games.

The Cowboys are now 1-6 in win-or-go home games, including the playoffs since Romo became quarterback.

The much-maligned Romo took full responsibility after what proved to be another horrific ending.

"I feel like I let my teammates down," Romo said. "It's on me. It just hurts a lot right now and it's hard to think about and talk about."

Romo, who had just one interception in the past four games combined and just three over past seven, began the game with two interceptions on his first five throws.

The Cowboys were able to overcome that and the loss of receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin to injury as well as endure the big game for Morris to put themselves in contention to win the game late in the fourth quarter.

Trailing 21-10 and seemingly left for dead, they got back in the game thanks to a 39-yard punt return from Dwayne Harris.

Romo tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Ogletree and converted a 2-point conversion to Harris to make the score 21-18 with 5:50 left in the game.

The defense got a stop on the next series, courtesy of a sack by Anthony Spencer.

But any hopes of the Cowboys completing their sixth comeback win of the season were dashed when Romo tossed his third pick of the game.

A pass in the flat to running back DeMarco Murray was read perfectly by linebacker Rob Jackson, who peeled off his rush for the interception.

And now a team that entered the season talking about having a different outcome than the disappointments of the past and making a Super Bowl run for the first time since 1995 is again left wanting.

It was owner Jerry Jones who put the onus on the Cowboys to come into 2012 with a sense of urgency to make a Super Bowl run.

"As far as I'm concerned, we're as far away as you can measure, because we're at home and not in the tournament," Jones said. "We've got a big challenge ahead of us."

Clarence E. Hill Jr.


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