Redskins vs. Cowboys: Washington, RG3 next for shell-shocked Dallas D
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - After Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning torched their defense, the Dallas Cowboys get no respite.
Up next are Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor returns to Texas after embarrassing Dallas with a huge second quarter to win his first NFL game in his home state last Thanksgiving.
Dallas defenders are at a low point again because Tony Romo's franchise-record 506 yards passing and five touchdowns weren't enough in a 51-48 loss to Manning and Denver last weekend.
"We've got a sense of pride in this group," Dallas defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said. "I know I'm hurting because I'm part of this defense. One thing we've got to do, we've got to clean it up. We got another good quarterback coming in here."
The Redskins go into Sunday night's game at the $1.2 billion home of the Cowboys with similar problems. They're last in the NFL in passing defense, one spot behind Dallas.
But Washington is coming off a win over Oakland and a bye after starting the season 0-3, while the Cowboys are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2010.
"Yeah, that was our goal - go into that last game before the bye week, get the win, allow that momentum to carry us the rest of the way throughout the season," said Griffin, who threw for more than 300 yards in all three losses. "I think everybody has the right mindset coming back rejuvenated, ready to go."
Griffin and Alfred Morris combined to give Washington its first sweep of Dallas since 2005 last year. Griffin completed all eight passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-point second quarter, and the Redskins held on for a 38-31 win on Thanksgiving.
In the finale with the NFC East title on the line, Morris rushed for a career-high 200 yards and three scores in a 28-18 victory. That put the Redskins in the playoffs for the first time in five years and extended Dallas' postseason drought to three years.
But now Griffin is less of a dual threat while he continues his recovery from knee surgery, and Morris isn't getting the same number of carries because the Redskins fell behind in all three losses.
"They're best when they hand him the ball," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Morris. "He's a good football player and they want to run the football. And we have to be prepared to stop him because a lot of what they do comes off his success running the football."
Here are five things to know as the Redskins go for their first three-game winning streak against the Cowboys since 1988:
ROUGH WEEK FOR ROMO: He's getting beaten up again for another late-game mistake that spoiled an otherwise sublime day. This time it was Danny Trevathan's interception at the Dallas 24 in the final two minutes, leading to Denver's winning field as time expired. "He played his butt off," Hatcher said. "We didn't give them a chance to win. So it's on the defense."
NICKNAME DEBATE: The Redskins are playing their first game since President Barack Obama joined others in saying the team should consider changing its nickname over concerns that it's offensive to Native Americans. And this week, owner Daniel Snyder renewed his support of the name in a letter to season ticket-holders. "You don't want to minimize anything that's going on outside of these walls, but inside these walls we have to focus on football and that's what our goal has to be," Griffin said.
BEVY OF RECEIVERS: Dallas rookie Terrance Williams had a career-high 151 yards with Miles Austin out for a second straight game with a hamstring problem. It appears Austin will be back, which means Romo has six guys who have made big plays in the passing game this year. Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and Cole Beasley are the others. "There's no other way to put it," said Bryant, who has six touchdowns. "We are explosive. That's our identity: our explosive offense."
BACK FROM SUSPENSION: Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and linebacker Rob Jackson will play their first games for the Redskins since their four-game suspensions ended last week. Jenkins tested positive for a banned performance enhancing substance, while Jackson was suspended under the NFL's drug policy. Both said their violations were unintentional.
QB PRESSURE: These teams are trending in opposite directions with the pass rush. The Cowboys had just one sack total against Rivers and Manning after getting 13 the first three games. The Redskins had a season-high seven against the Raiders, just the second time they've had that many since 2010.