Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson spent time as both the goat and the hero during the team’s 19-16 loss to the Cowboys.
He took on the goat horns first. Hoping for a game-changing play with 1:47 left to play in a game tied at 9-9, Jay Gruden sent Jackson back to return a Cowboys punt. Gruden got his game changer but not in the way he was hoping to.
Jackson fielded the punt at the Redskins 16, found no room to the right, reversed his field to the left and went back towards the goal line. He ran into a crowd near the 10 and as he was being tackled he lost the ball. The Cowboys recovered at the 15 and two plays later they had the go-ahead touchdown.
"Very frustrated. I take that one on my chin,” Jackson said. “I'm a veteran in this league and I've got to protect the ball and it just got away from me and I'm very frustrated.
“It was just one of those things where I'm trying to make a play for my team. Like I said, I've got to take it on the chin. I fumbled, I know better than that.”
The fumble was reviewed and for a minute the Redskins thought they have the recovery. But the call stood.
“I kind of felt like I was down but that's how they ruled it,” said Jackson.
The Cowboys TD came with 1:14 left to play. Jackson had time to redeem himself and he did. The Redskins got good field position after a nice Rashad Ross kickoff return with a 15-yard facemask penalty tacked on. From the Cowboys 28 Jackson blew by cornerback Maurice Claiborne and Kirk Cousins hit him with a 28-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 16-16.
But after the Cowboys drove to win the game with a few seconds left, the focus shifted back to the fumble.
Gruden went up to Jackson at his locker to deliver some words of encouragement.
“He said I’m one of his guys that he trusts and if he had the chance to put me back there again he’d do the same thing,” said Jackson. “I’m glad he has that trust in me.”
Jackson has now lined up to return several punts over the last few games. He has yet to make an impact in a positive way and tonight he committed a major blunder. It will be interesting to see if Gruden continues to have faith in him on punt returns.