The Cowboys used a single-high safety defense, with cornerback Morris Claiborne matched up with DeSean Jackson with 49 seconds remaining. Claiborne was in one-on-one coverage, but he was supposed to be playing off-man instead of press coverage.
Jackson got a step on Claiborne and scored the game-tying touchdown on a 28-yard pass from Kirk Cousins with 44 seconds left.
“It was man-to-man coverage, and they made a good throw and catch,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Tuesday. “In that situation, we’ve talked about where the alignment of the corner should have been relative to DeSean, and that’s an area where we can improve. It was man-to-man coverage. He was going to be by himself.”
Claiborne said after the game he wished the Cowboys had been “in more of a zone” on the play. Pro Football Focus gave Claiborne a negative grade in his first game back since hamstring and ankle injuries knocked him out of two games. PFF said Claiborne allowed catches on six of nine balls thrown against him.
The Redskins had only 193 yards passing, though Jackson caught six balls for 80 yards.
“I still feel like I had a decent game,” Claiborne said after the game.
For the season, Claiborne has allowed 31 catches on the 53 times quarterbacks have targeted him for 477 yards and two touchdowns. He has seven pass breakups but Claiborne’s last interception was in Week 3 of last season.
The former first-round draft pick, who has three career interceptions, becomes a free agent in the offseason.