Cow­boys seek day of re­demp­tion vs. Grif­fin

Dal­las de­fend­ers faced with task of try­ing to con­tain rookie in face of must-win sit­u­a­tion.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Schuyler Dixon

iRV­inG — The Dal­las Cow­boys get an­other shot at Robert Grif­fin III af­ter he put them through their worst quar­ter of the sea­son in a loss on Thanks­giv­ing.

They aren’t talk­ing all tough about how it will be dif­fer­ent this time around for Wash­ing- ton’s dy­namic rookie quar­ter­back in a Sun­day night game that will de­cide the NFC East cham­pion.

Dal­las might not even be sur­prised if the Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner from Bay­lor goes 8 of 8 for 178 yards with three en­tirely dif­fer­ent types of touch­down throws. That’s what he did in the sec­ond quar­ter last month to give Washington a 28-3 lead in a 3831 vic­tory.

“No, I don’t say he can’t do that again be­cause he can,”

Dal­las de­fen­sive end Mar­cus Spears said. “He can cre­ate so many plays and get him­self out of trou­ble a lot, which in turn helps him make a lot of the plays where you look and say, ‘Man, how did that hap­pen.’”

Spears says Grif­fin makes it easy to for­get about an­other rookie, run­ning back Al­fred Mor­ris.

He leads first-year backs with 1,413 yards, and his 113-yard game against the Cow­boys was the first of three straight dur­ing a six-game win­ning streak that vaulted Washington from an al­so­ran to sole pos­ses­sion of the di­vi­sion lead.

Mor­ris scored the other touch­down in the big sec­ond quar­ter and set up Grif­fin’s fi­nal TD toss with a first-down run to the Dal­las 6.

“RG3, ev­ery­body’s en­am­ored,” Spears said. “It’s not like he’s back there alone. He can hand the ball off to a guy that can make plays.”

Still, Grif­fin wasn’t named to the Pro Bowl on Wed­nes­day night be­cause he was hand­ing off. And that’s not what the Cow­boys took away from the Thanks­giv­ing game.

Dal­las owner Jerry Jones was still talk­ing about Grif­fin’s game at Cow­boys Sta­dium when asked last week­end about the Sun­day night show- down. Cow­boys coach Ja­son Gar­rett didn’t need to see Grif­fin live to be­lieve he could pick through the Dal­las de­fense the way he did.

“We thought he was pretty darn good in col­lege, and we thought he was pretty darn good in the early part of the sea­son,” Gar­rett said.

With so much talk about Grif­fin’s mo­bil­ity — he’s just 30 yards shy of the top 10 in the league in rush­ing — it’s easy to over­look his 20 pass­ing touch­downs against just five in­ter­cep­tions.

“I don’t think peo­ple pay at­ten­tion to how well the guy throws the ball,” Spears said. “He could play in a sys­tem where it was a five-step drop and he didn’t have to run. He throws the ball that well.”

The Cow­boys did pres­sure Grif­fin in the Thanks- giv­ing loss, even though it didn’t really look like it with his 132.6 rat­ing on 20-of-28 pass­ing for 311 yards and four touch­downs with one in­ter­cep­tion.

Spears and An­thony Spencer, who had two of the four sacks of Grif­fin, will be chas­ing again with a de­fense even more com­pro­mised than it was a month ago.

The Cow­boys are miss­ing five starters, and line­backer DeMar­cus Ware is try­ing to play through ham­string, el­bow and shoul­der prob­lems.

“It’s no se­cret we’ve got a lot to de­fend on our end of the ball,” Spears said. “With that be­ing said, we feel like we left some plays out there the first game and we have to do a bet­ter job of play­ing and key­ing around the foot­ball this time around.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.