Redskins fall to 3-12 with 24-23 loss to Cowboys

Mike Shanahan is waiting until the bitter end of his worst

season in two decades as an NFL head coach to discuss why things

went so wrong for the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins dropped to 3-12 on Sunday with their seventh

consecutive loss – and second in a row by one point – by blowing a

nine-point lead in the fourth quarter and falling 24-23 to the

Dallas Cowboys.

It’s Washington’s longest losing streak since 1998. The team

will finish last in the NFC East for the third time in Shanahan’s

four seasons in charge – the 5-11 record in 2011 was his previous

low mark with the Raiders, Broncos or Redskins – and the fifth time

in the past six years.

So Shanahan was asked whether he could put his finger on what,

exactly, were the problems.

”We’ll address that at the end of the season. There’s always a

lot of things that you go back and you take a look at,” replied

Shanahan, who won two Super Bowls as Denver’s coach with John Elway

at quarterback. ”But collectively, we’ll talk more in detail at

the end of the season.”

Some of his players did offer theories, albeit in vague terms,

without naming names, after letting Tony Romo recover from a bad

interception to lead Dallas (8-7) to the victory.

Romo capped the comeback by connecting with DeMarco Murray for a

go-ahead 10-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 68 seconds

left; after that play, dozens of players from both teams scuffled

near the end zone.

That closed a nine-play, 87-yard drive that included a 51-yard

completion to a wide-open Terrance Williams.

”Coming into the game, you expect everybody to have their

assignments down,” Redskins linebacker Perry Riley said. ”That

wasn’t the case that last drive.”

Defensive tackle Barry Cofield considered Sunday’s

fourth-quarter collapse symbolic of the sort of mistakes Washington

has been making week after week.

”That’s been the story of the season: We really haven’t

controlled the momentum of games. A lot of times negativity has

spiraled out of control. We have a tendency to let negative

momentum drag us down instead of building on positive momentum and

having all three phases play well at the same time,” Cofield said.

”And that’s why we are where we are.”

This was the last home game for Redskins captain London

Fletcher, who plans to retire after never missing a game in 16 NFL

seasons, including 214 consecutive starts, a record for a

linebacker.

And he reiterated that he believes Shanahan, who has one season

left on a $35 million, five-year contract, should be kept around by

owner Dan Snyder.

”They know how I feel about Coach Shanahan. I’ve been around

this game a long time, and probably in D.C., some stability would

be great. Coach Shanahan, he’s headed in the right direction, as

far as the team,” Fletcher said.

”Any time you go … 3-12, you know there’s going to be change.

But the best thing would be to let a little bit of time (pass), get

away from the season, decompress, let cooler heads prevail, and

then go out and evaluate the situation and say, `What’s the best

thing for the Redskins organization?”’

Notes: WR Pierre Garcon broke Hall of Famer Art Monk’s Redskins

record for catches in a season by getting No. 107. Garcon finished

with 11 catches for 144 yards and a TD. Monk had 106 catches in

1984. ”It’s pretty cool, but with the season going on, it’s pretty

hard to celebrate anything right now,” Garcon said. … Kirk

Cousins, in his second straight start in place of benched QB Robert

Griffin III, went 21 of 36 for 197 yards, one touchdown and one

interception. … Redskins LB Brian Orakpo left in the fourth

quarter with a strained right groin. … LB Nick Barnett left in

the first quarter with a sprained left knee after getting hurt on a

special teams play.

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