The Dallas Cowboys entered Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins with their backs against the wall. Everyone in the NFL knew the Cowboys had to get the win on Sunday night to remain above .500 and to give themselves a fighting chance to compete in the NFC East and possibly make the playoffs. For second year head coach Wade Phillips, Sunday’s game would require his best coaching effort to date.
The Washington Redskins came out and on their opening drive they marched the ball down the field and capped the drive with a two yard touchdown pass to fullback Mike Sellers. From the begining it looked as if we were watching the old Dallas defense that would bend and eventually break. However, that would not be the case. After the sluggish start, the Cowboys defense solidified itself, and played the Redskins to a stalemate for the remainder of the game, only giving up a field goal just before the end of the first half. There is no doubt that Wade Phillips and the Dallas defense deserve the credit for the impressive win on Sunday night.
On the other side of the ball, Tony Romo stepped back into his role as starter after missing three games with a broken pinkie. Throughout the course of the game, we saw shades of the old Romo, both for better and for worse. He did throw two interceptions on the night. Romo also had trouble handling the ball at times, causing some of this throws to go erratic. This was due to the the splint/cast he was wearing to protect his injured finger. There is no doubt that the star of the day was Dallas runningback Marion Barber III. Barber went on a tear in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game picking up 56 yards on the ground and one reception for 10 yards. His workman like effort kept the Cowboys offense on the field and allowed them to run down the clock as they clung to a four point lead. There is no doubt that his performance in the fourth quarter was nothing short of amazing. Barber enjoys his role as a closer, being able to come into games late in the fourth and simply punish teams. In an old fashioned NFC East game, it pays to have an old school style runningback like Marion Barber.
The win puts the Dallas Cowboys right back into the thick of things in the NFC East. At 6-4 they are now tied with the Washington Redskins and have a one game lead over the Eagles who appear to be sinking. Dallas will need to continue to play stellar football coming down the stretch of the season if they want to make the post season. However, with games against New York and Philadelphia left on the schedule there is still plenty of time to right the ship. The trip to the finish will prove to be very exciting.