There's still some steam left in the Dallas-Washington rivalry, enough to create an overtime nail-biter even when one team is on a roll and the other is struggling.
Dan Bailey's 39-yard field goal 9:21 into the extra period Sunday decided the Cowboys' 27-24 victory, their third straight win and the Redskins' sixth consecutive defeat.
Bailey's winning kick was set up by Tony Romo's 26-yard completion to Dez Bryant on third-and-15 after Washington's Graham Gano was barely wide right on a 52-yard field-goal attempt on the opening possession of overtime.
After rolling to double-digit wins that put the Cowboys on the heels of the NFC East-leading New York Giants, Romo and the Cowboys (6-4) had to rally in the second half against a team that has spent more than a month in the doldrums. His two fourth-quarter touchdown passes were vintage Romo, scrambling to buy time to toss a 7-yard game-tying score to Laurent Robinson before rolling left to spot a wide-open Jason Witten for a 59-yard go-ahead TD with 8:48 to play.
But Washington came back, with Rex Grossman leading an 89-yard drive capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass to Donte' Stallworth with 14 seconds left in regulation.
Romo was due for a sack or two, and the Cowboys quarterback went down four times. DeMarco Murray couldn't continue at such a torrid pace forever, and he was held to 73 yards. The Redskins' offensive ineptitude couldn't go on forever, so it was inevitable they actually reach the end zone while the game was somewhat competitive.
Nevertheless, the Redskins (3-7) are mired in their longest skid since their 0-7 start in 1998. As a consolation, they scored more points than they had in their previous three games combined (20).
Romo finished 23 for 37 for 292 yards and three touchdowns. He hasn't thrown an interception in three straight games, but his streak of two games without being sacked came to an end. Rookie sensation Murray, who had run for 139 and 135 yards the previous two weeks, finished with 73 yards on a workhorse 25 carries and also caught six passes for 32 yards.
Grossman completed 25 of 38 passes for 289 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Washington's Jabar Gaffney caught seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
All seemed set for a dreary Redskins day. They were slumping, and their rivals came in on a roll. There was minimal buzz for the usually electric "Dallas Week," and there were so many Cowboys fans in the stadium that a huge roar went up when it was announced that the visitors had won the opening coin toss. Washington hadn't scored in the first half or held a lead since Oct. 4 and was using its fifth starting offensive line configuration in six weeks.
The Cowboys went to work right away. Safety Gerald Sensabaugh stripped tight end Fred Davis on Washington's third offensive play -- a call that barely held up under replay review -- to set up Romo's 22-yard touchdown pass to Bryant at the end zone pylon. It was 10-0 in the second quarter after Bailey's 37-yard field goal, a drive spurred by a pass interference penalty on Josh Wilson.
At that time, the Cowboys were outgaining the Redskins 119-14.
The momentum shifted began with a replay reversal and, of all things, a shanked punt. The Cowboys appeared ready to score again when they returned the ball to the 1 when Grossman fumbled during a quarterback sneak, but slow-motion replay showed that Grossman's knee was on the ground before he lost the ball.
Dallas was deep in its own territory when it got the ball again, and punter Mat McBriar's 23-yard effort that gave Washington the ball at Cowboys 32.
A 23-yard pass to David Anderson led to Grossman's 4-yard quarterback draw with 3:59 to go in the second quarter, giving the Redskins the first-half touchdown that had been so elusive for so many weeks. Soon they actually held a lead again -- Grossman found Gaffney for a 16-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-13 with 14 seconds left in the half.
The Redskins scored on a third consecutive drive to start the second half, with Gano's 40-yard field goal making it 17-10. However, Gano missed from 49 yards later in the quarter, wasting a 55-yard punt return by Brandon Banks.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)