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Late play-calling woes doom Giants in collapse vs. Cowboys

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Late play-calling woes doom Giants in collapse vs. Cowboys

By SCHUYLER DIXON, AP Sports Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Tony Romo to Jason Witten saved the Dallas Cowboys again.

Romo threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to his trusty tight end with 7 seconds left, and the Cowboys overcame three turnovers that led to easy New York points to beat the Giants 27-26 on Sunday night.

The Cowboys drove 72 yards in 1:27 after stopping New York at the 1 and forcing Josh Brown's fourth field goal when a touchdown would have sealed the Giants' first victory in an opener against Dallas.

The defending NFC East champion Cowboys are 8-0 against their division rival in openers, and have beaten them five straight times.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returned a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown, and the Giants had to go just a yard for their other TD after Trumaine McBride's interception.

"We didn't play great in a lot of areas and obviously (protecting) the ball was the biggest one," said Romo, who threw for 356 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. "You gotta believe."

MORE REDSKINS: EVALUATING KIRK COUSINS VS. MIAMI

On the winning play, Romo had to pick up the ball after a low snap and found Witten shielding defenders at the goal line. The 13-year veteran made the catch, stayed on his feet and left no doubt about getting the ball in the end zone.

Romo led two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter after McBride's interception set up Rashad Jennings' 1-yard scoring that put the Giants up 23-13 with 8 minutes to go.

Running back Lance Dunbar got the winning drive going with two catches for 40 yards. He finished with team highs of eight catches for 70 yards with All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant sidelined by a foot injury after earlier leaving the game because of dehydration.

The Giants converted two Dallas turnovers into 10 points in the final minute of the second quarter.

Rodgers-Cromartie picked up a fumble by receiver Cole Beasley just before he hit the ground at the end of a run and ran 57 yards untouched for a 10-6 lead.

On Dallas' next snap, Romo threw behind Witten, who tipped the ball into the arms of linebacker Uani Unga, starting because Jon Beason missed the game with a sprained left knee. The Giants had to settle for Brown's second field goal, from 40 yards.

Joseph Randle got most of the work in the first game for Dallas without 2014 NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray. He had 16 carries for 65 yards, and Darren McFadden had six for 16.

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

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USA TODAY Sports

As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

Kirk Cousins repeatedly said his free agent decision will not be just about money. Be clear, however, that money will be a huge factor in this decision. 

After the Redskins traded with Kansas City to acquire Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, it became obvious Washington will move on from Cousins. Whether that means the quarterback simply walks away in free agency or the organization attempts a highly risky tag-and-trade scenario, regardless, Cousins will throw footballs for another franchise in 2018.

Cousins wants to choose where he will play via free agency, and might even file a grievance if the Redskins do deploy a third franchise tag to control his rights.

Assuming Cousins hits free agency, a new report out of New York suggests the Jets will pay "whatever it takes" to land the passer. That could even include a fully guaranteed contract, and will certainly get close to a $30 million a year price tag. 

A notion exists too that Cousins might take less to go to a winner, and many think that could be the Broncos. Denver won five games in 2017, same as the Jets, though the Broncos have a strong defense and have been getting particularly awful QB play. 

The important thing to remember for curious Redskins fans watching the Cousins saga unfold: Don't expect much, if any, discount. 

The quarterback himself made that clear. 

"There’s other quarterbacks that come after you and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract," Cousins said last year on 106.7 the Fan.

The quotes came after the 2016 season but before the Redskins again used a franchise tag with Cousins for the 2017 season. Washington wanted to attempt a long-term deal with Cousins at that point, though the quarterback decided to not negotiate and instead play on the tag.

The point remains that Cousins, and his representatives, believe the quarterback has a duty to other players to maximize his earnings. 

"If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well. So there’s different reasons. You just do the best you can."

If he hits free agency, Cousins will likely sign the richest contract in NFL history. Those opportunities don't come around often, and the quarterback should take full advantage. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 19, 23 days before NFL free agency starts.

Monday musings

—One possible solution to the left guard spot is perhaps being overlooked. Ty Nsekhe played there some last year, starting the game in Dallas and playing there until Morgan Moses got injured, forcing him to move to right tackle. Nsekhe is slated to be a restricted free agent but his return is likely. In December I asked Jay Gruden if Nsekhe might move to guard in 2018. “I think Ty is a big man and a very good tackle, but in the offseason when we have more time, maybe we can feature him at some guard when we’ve got all our guys back,” he said. “Feature him some” doesn’t mean that they will make him a starter; perhaps they want him to be the top option to fill in at four of the five OL positions. But it’s something to keep an eye on if they don’t land a left guard solution in free agency or the draft.

—When I posted about Albert Breer’s report that Kirk Cousins would file a grievance if the Redskins put the franchise tag on him in an effort to trade him, I pulled up a copy of the CBA to see the language on which Cousins could base his case. I read through the Article 10, which deals with the franchise tag twice and I saw nothing of it. But Mike Florio found it in Article 4, the one that deals with player contracts. “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Since the Redskins clearly have no intention of employing Cousins after the Alex Smith trade, this seems to be a fairly simple case. In reality, it never is.

—I tweeted this last week:

However, possible cap casualties from other teams are not included in that group. That won’t turn the pool of players who will become available to sign into a bunch of potential franchise changers. Still, there could be a number of players in whom the Redskins could be interested in like RB DeMarco Murray, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Torrey Smith, edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, and DL Brandon Mebane. A plus to signing players who have been waived is that they don’t count in the formula that determines compensatory draft picks. The Redskins have never really paid attention to that in the past but with potential high comp picks at stake if they lose both Kirk Cousins and Bashaud Breeland, this could be a good year to start.

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 10
—NFL Draft (4/26) 66
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 202

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