Throughout the past week there was talk of how much the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry has diminished over the years. Neither team has been successful over the past decade and that has taken away from what was once a premier matchup – not just locally but nationally.
But the sizzle is back after a thriller from FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon. Momentum swings, big-time plays, drama – it truly had a little bit of everything including some memorable postgame reactions that indicated players still circle this game on their calendars.
“It’s a big deal around here,” Adam Carriker said. “I was definitely hyped. I couldn’t even fall asleep until like four A.M. last night. It’s not a good thing, but I couldn’t control it.”
If Carriker was that excited about the matchup with his team all but out of the playoff picture imagine a battle with Dallas for the division lead or a conference championship. That’s how it used to be and how it will be again if either team can ever rediscover its winning ways.
But presently, it still makes for a bigger rivalry than we give credit.
“I don’t know how many times, but I feel like this game always comes down to the last possession – every time against these guys,” said Tony Romo (Editor’s note: that’s the same Tony Romo who Chris Cooley wants to fight in a cage match -- and they say there aren't enough colorful characters in the league anymore).
A quick stat check tells us Romo is right. 15 of the last 20 games between Washington and Dallas have been decided by a touchdown or less, including Sunday's game.
DeAngelo Hall gets it more than anyone. He’s been on the wrong end of two crucial plays against Dallas this season and was so upset after Sunday’s loss that he produced some of the most quotable material of the season, blaming himself for the loss and telling reporters he’d cut himself for his performance.
Minutes before Hall’s blunder in coverage that led to the game-winning field goal for Dallas, the Redskins’ did appear to be in a position to win it after Rex Grossman’s memorable last-minute touchdown toss to Donte Stallworth tied the score and atoned for an interception he had thrown on the previous drive.
Grossman is just a fleeting piece in this long-standing rivalry, but he almost landed himself forever in Redskins lore with his fade route to Stallworth. 3-6 record or no, fans would give anything to beat Dallas and Grossman nearly did in improbable fashion.
“Playing in this rivalry, it is the best in the NFL,” Grossman said. “[I’m] extremely, extremely disappointed we didn’t win, but we fought our [butts] off.”
Of course Grossman kept it tame compared to receiver Jabar Gaffney who went off on Cowboys fans via his twitter account following the game, telling one to “get a life or kill urself.”
Probably not the best choice of words in a public forum, but they’re yet another sign this rivalry is alive and kicking despite rumors of its demise.