Cowboys don't want season to slip out of reach


Cowboys don't want season to slip out of reach

IRVING, Texas (AP) The Dallas Cowboys now must try to keep their season from slipping out of reach.

They were so close - by the length of Dez Bryant's fingertips - to being within a half-game of the NFC East lead and having a vital tiebreaker with a season sweep of the division-leading New York Giants. But the receiver's touchdown catch in the closing seconds was overturned on a replay review.

Dallas (3-4) hits the halfway mark of its schedule Sunday night at Atlanta (7-0), the NFL's only undefeated team. The Cowboys then go to Philadelphia for the first of two meetings in four weeks against their division foe.

``There is a tremendous amount of urgency,'' coach Jason Garrett said Monday. ``Every game is critical. This is a big game.''

The Cowboys overcame an early 23-0 deficit and led going into the fourth quarter Sunday in what would have been the biggest comeback victory in team history.

But New York won 29-24 after regaining the lead with two field goals, the go-ahead points coming after Felix Jones fumbled. The Giants held on after replay showed Bryant's fingers hit out of bounds before he landed on a leaping 37-yard grab with 10 seconds left.

Tight end Jason Witten's franchise-record 18 catches and Tony Romo's career-high 437 yards passing on a record 62 attempts (with 36 completions) weren't enough to help the Cowboys overcome six turnovers, including four interceptions.

New York (6-2) now has a firm grasp on the NFC East lead because no other team in the division has a winning record. Philadelphia (3-4) and Washington (3-5) both lost Sunday.

``It's to that point in the season where you don't have time,'' Witten said. ``Nobody cares about battling. They don't, they want to see you win. ... The clock's ticking. You have to be able to find a way to get on top here a little bit.''

Romo has already thrown an NFL-high 13 interceptions in 283 attempts, after having only 10 picks in 522 throws last season. The Cowboys have 19 total giveaways and a minus-11 turnover margin.

Asked how much turnovers have contributed to the Cowboys' losses, Garrett responded, ``I think it's probably been the biggest single factor.''

Dallas keeps turning it over despite a continued emphasis to correct that problem, a fact that led to a rare public admission by Garrett of being frustrated.

``In this particular case, absolutely,'' Garrett said. ``Frustration is not a helpful emotion, but it's something that we just have to continue to focus on and get better at. ... At times, we've done a very good job of it, and I think the results speak for themselves. Other times we haven't, and similarly the results speak for themselves.''

While Bryant almost had a decisive play, and finished with five catches for 110 yards, he contributed to two early turnovers that helped the Giants lead 23-0 only 2 minutes into the second quarter.

Romo was trying to throw deep when Bryant rounded his route instead of flattening out across the middle. Stevie Brown cut in front of him for an interception.

Bryant later fielded a punt over his head. Even though he recovered after the ball went through his hands, Bryant was stripped and fumbled inside the Cowboys 20.

``Certainly, the play he had (Sunday) was not a good play for our football team,'' Garrett said. ``We've got to take care of the football on offense, we've got to get the ball on defense, and we certainly have to do that on special teams as well.''

Cowboys leading rusher DeMarco Murray could be back against Atlanta after missing the last two games with a sprained right foot. When Murray walked in the locker room briefly Monday while it was open to the media, he wouldn't directly answer if he thought he would play Sunday night.

``We'll just have to wait and see. It seems like he's moving around a little bit better,'' Garrett said. ``That's an injury you have to be patient with. We don't want to rush him back, then take any backward steps.''

It could be a big boost if Murray can play, considering Jones had 13 carries for 19 yards against the Giants. Phillip Tanner gained nothing on two carries on consecutive plays after Dallas had first-and-goal from the New York 1 early in the third quarter.

When the Cowboys were driving in the final minutes with all three timeouts left, they didn't even try to run after second-and-1 from the 19. Instead, Romo threw consecutive incompletions before an interception.

``They were pretty committed to stopping the run,'' Garrett said when asked about the play-calling. ``Certainly whenever the play doesn't work, it's easy for us as coaches to look back afterward and say we should have done something different.''


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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.

Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.

Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.

Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.

Tweet of the week

Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169

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