LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- After an especially tough dose of Bill
Parcells, the entire Dallas Cowboys defense went out for a Friday
night steak dinner and relieved some in-house tension.
Two days later, the Cowboys shut out the Washington Redskins for
the first time in 32 years.
Question on the Cowboys: Given their recent struggles, how big is this win?
This was a huge win for the Cowboys because December is the month to start playing hard-nosed football. The running game was dominant for the Cowboys and QB Quincy Carter played a good football game. This was a big win and one they needed.
Question on the Redskins: Will cooler heads prevail or will things get ugly for all parties involved?
It all depends as to whether coach Steve Spurrier wants to stick around. For a second-year coach, he doesn't seem very enthused. He doesn't seem inspired and neither does his team. If Spurrier decides he doesn't want to come back, then its going to get crazy in D.C.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
Rookie Terence Newman tied a team record with three
interceptions, Pete Hunter had two fumble recoveries and an
interception, and Troy Hambrick ran for a career-high 189 yards
Sunday to power the Cowboys to a 27-0 victory.
"It was just a night out, a good break after two weeks of
getting slammed the way we have defensively," safety Darren
Woodson, reflecting on the two-hour outing called by linebacker Al
"I'm not saying we've been going at each other, but I think
there's been some tension amongst ourselves because we haven't been
playing that well. There was a lot of pressure on us. Al just
wanted us to get way and relax, because it has been pressure-filled
In the mud and driving rain, the Cowboys held Washington
quarterback to Tim Hasselbeck to a rock-bottom 0.0 quarterback
rating and allowed just 161 total yards, including 37 in the second
Not bad for a team that had lost two straight by a combined 45
points. Parcells rode his team hard after last week's 36-10 loss at
Philadelphia, but he still has the Cowboys (9-5) in solid position
for a wild card berth in his first season with the team.
"I kind of put their backs against the wall a little bit,"
Parcells said. "And they responded well."
But even a Parcells serving of misery can't match the feeling in
the Redskins' locker room. The loss eliminated Washington (5-9)
from playoff contention and guaranteed a second straight losing
season. They have lost 12 of 13 against the Cowboys.
"It isn't about quitting, it's about getting embarrassed. We
got embarrassed," cornerback Fred Smoot said. "We stunk it up out
there. I apologize to all the Redskins fans -- every one of them."
The Redskins hadn't been shut out at home in 10 years. Coach
Steve Spurrier was held scoreless in a regular season game for the
first time since he was with Duke in 1987, and he opened his news
conference with tongue-in-cheek references to his punter and
Hasselbeck was 6-for-26 for 56 yards, four interceptions and
numerous batted balls at the line of scrimmage in his third NFL
start. Dat Nguyen and Greg Ellis knocked down back-to-back passes
on one stunted drive in the third quarter.
Two of Newman's picks were poor throws, while the third was
tipped his way by Darien Woodson. One of his interceptions set up a
touchdown and another led to a field goal. Most of the Redskins
offense came from Rock Cartwright's career-high 94 yards rushing.
Hambrick ran through gaping holes of 12 and 15 yards on Dallas'
opening drive and had a workhorse 13 carries out of 15 plays over
three drives to put the game away in the fourth quarter. His last
run was a 42-yard scamper to set up the Cowboys' final touchdown,
giving him the third all-time best rushing game by a Dallas back
behind Emmitt Smith's 237 in 1993 and Tony Dorsett's 206 in 1977.
"I'm there, you can write it in stone," Hambrick said. "This
is a big year for me to try to solidify myself as a running back in
the NFL. I think I've been pressing a lot trying to get the job
done, and tonight was my condition and type of weather."
The Cowboys scored a touchdown on their first drive, the first
time that's happened all season. Hambrick's runs set up a
well-blocked screen to fullback Richie Anderson for a 21-yard
Hasselbeck's second interception -- an overthrow into Newman's
hands -- set up the Cowboys' second touchdown. Dallas got the ball
at Washington's 9-yard line and scored three plays later when
Carter strolled in on a bootleg, giving the Cowboys a 14-0 halftime
Washington executed a fake punt in the second quarter, with
punter Bryan Barker completing a pass to safety Ifeanyi Ohalete.
The drive eventually ended with a Hasselbeck interception. ...
Injuries: Washington LT Brandon Winey (knee) and S Matt Bowen
(knee). ... Last shutout in the series: Dallas 13-0 in 1971. ...
Last Redskins home shutout: 3-0 to the Jets in 1993. ... Spurrier's
last shutout: 7-0 against Rutgers in 1987.