Following their victory over the Denver Broncos, the Redskins were riding a unique wave of energy heading into Arlington, Texas on Sunday.
That energy, which has not been experienced by this team very often this season, was obvious every time the defense stepped on the field against Tony Romo and the rest of the Cowboys offense.
“We took an initiative on being the best defense this past Sunday. It was an NFC East division game. Those games bring out the best in you. We were ready and focused. The win from the Denver game gave us momentum to try to beat Dallas,” defensive end Andre Carter said.
Even without defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, the defense played its best game of the season, holding Dallas to 0 points until the final three minutes of the game, Romo to 158 yards passing and wide receiver Roy Williams to no catches.
The defensive line certainly missed Haynesworth’s presence, especially when trying to get a strong push in the middle of the Cowboys offensive line to bring down running back Marion Barber. The defense allowed 153 yards rushing in the game, with Barber leading the pack with 99 of them.
“Every starter brings a certain element to the defense. I felt [Kedric] Golston and [Cornelius] Griffin played very well. In the game, Romo didn’t pass the ball that much. As a defense, we did miss [Albert’s] presence because he loves the game and has passion,” Carter said.
The passion that Haynesworth was unable to put on the field was displayed by the rest of the team in all facets of the game whether it was on offense, defense or special teams. Much like the final score and the way in which the Cowboys ended up winning the game, the emotion displayed by both teams epitomized the typical Redskins-Cowboys rivalry that fans are used to. Even the newcomers on the team appeared to “get it” when it comes to how the Redskins are supposed to approach a rivalry of this magnitude.
“I would agree. I felt the vets told the younger players how much this game meant to the organization, the fans and [to them] as an individual,” Carter said.
Despite a myriad of injuries ravaging the roster so far this year, the Redskins, especially the reserve players, showed tremendous fight and resolve.
“[Ladell] Betts and Rock Cartwright stood out the whole game. I admired them for their work ethic and the love of the game. You have to have passion to play this game. I knew these two players were reliable when their number was called and they performed outstanding,” Carter said.
“I am very proud of everyone. It was an amazing game. We fought hard but in the end we lost.”
Carter feels that, as far as difficult losses go in his career, none have been tougher than this game.
“This is number one. The game was so close. It was a game of inches and both teams were fighting for that extra inch. In the end of the fourth quarter, Dallas won.”
Speaking of the fourth quarter, a question that has been brought up this week that even baffles Carter was: “Why did the defense switch to a prevent defense on the final drive when the packages that were being used worked so well throughout the rest of the game?”
“Good question. To be honest, that last drive was a blur. I really can’t answer that.”
Unfortunately for the New York Giants and the Redskins upcoming opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, a Dallas win is what occurred when the prevent defense was used. Considering that both the Giants and Eagles won on Sunday, a Cowboys loss would have given the rest of the NFC East a one game jump in the current division standings.
This week, the Eagles are looking at the Redskins as a team that will give them an opportunity to gain ground on Dallas and latch onto the division lead. Knowing the big plays and mistakes that were made in their last contest, the Redskins will look to halt any chance Philadelphia has of catching the Cowboys.
In their previous matchup, the Redskins defense and more specifically, the secondary, was torched by wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who had rushing and receiving touchdowns, 69 and 57 yards, respectively.
Considering the number big plays that have been given up all season, it is worth noting that the Redskins do hold the NFL’s No. 1 pass defense, with only 161.6 yards allowed through the air per game.
As of Tuesday, Carter hadn’t heard any of the secondary discussing revenge for the Week 7 performance but he expects the defense to be prepared for Jackson this time around.
“I am sure they have watched the film early this week. We can anticipate the big plays and doubles moves from the receivers as well.”
Another youngster on Philadelphia’s offense that the Redskins defense has to account for is running back LeSean McCoy, who has filled in well for Brian Westbrook, who is still recovering from a concussion suffered from a head-to-knee collision with Redskins linebacker London Fletcher. McCoy had 99 yards and one touchdown in Philadelphia’s win in Chicago on Sunday night.
“He is an up-and-coming player. He runs the ball effectively and makes players miss. I am still trying to understand his style of play. I don’t know if he is more of a downhill runner or an edge runner. Either way, his level of development has been consistent,” Carter said.
In addition to having to defend Jackson and McCoy, the Redskins defense will also look to change their ways when it comes to missed opportunities such as dropped interceptions and fumbles that weren’t recovered. Taking advantage of those chances will go a long way in helping the team.
“It’s all a matter of having the right mindset. Make big plays that need to be made and score on defense,” Carter said.
Under the Helmet:
THN: If you had a movie made about you, what would the title and main storyline be?
AC: Ask Chris Horton. He will answer that question. Ha ha ha.
THN: Who would play you and who would you cast to play your family?
AC: I am not going to answer that. My teammates will laugh at me.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Jake Russell