Washington Redksins' quarterback Mark Brunell gets sacked by Dallas Cowboys' safety Tony Dixon in the third quarter of play, Monday, Sept. 27, 2004, in Landover, Md.
AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson
LANDOVER, Md. Richie Anderson threw a halfback option pass for a touchdown, and safety Tony Dixon blitzed for two of the Dallas Cowboys' five sacks.
Even so, they were bit players in the overall drama. Bill Parcells beat Joe Gibbs in their first meeting in 14 years when the Cowboys defeated the Washington Redskins 21-18 Monday night.
''You've got to make it about the coaches,'' said Dixon, who got the fourth and fifth sacks of his four-year career. ''How many times in this era are you going to see coaches like that come together? It's an honor that we'll be able to look back and see a classic game and see Parcells and Gibbs on the sidelines and hopefully see some of the plays I made.''
Despite the long gap between meetings, Parcells showed he still has Gibbs' number. The Dallas coach has won 12 of 18 and seven in a row against the Hall of Fame coach, the last six coming when Parcells' New York Giants and Gibbs' Redskins were NFC East rivals from 1983-90.
''They're extremely well-coached,'' Gibbs said. ''You've got to give them a lot of credit.''
The victory, Dallas' 13th in its last 14 meetings with Washington, also made Parcells the 10th NFL coach to win 150 regular-season games.
Anderson's trick pass floated into the hands of Terry Glenn in the back of the end zone early in the fourth quarter, giving the Cowboys (2-1) a 21-10 lead with 13 minutes remaining, enough cushion to survive a comeback by the Redskins (1-2).
Mark Brunell, playing one week after straining his hamstring in a loss to the Giants, hit Rod Gardner for a touchdown pass and Taylor Jacobs for a 2-point conversion with 4:30 to play.
The Cowboys were able to use all but 21 seconds on the clock on their final drive because Washington was out of timeouts, but the Redskins almost got a chance at a tying field goal.
The Redskins managed two plays in their final drive. The last was a 46-yard pass to Gardner at the Dallas 21, but Gardner could not get out of bounds before time expired.
''It wasn't pretty,'' Parcells said. ''But we're happy to win on the road. Anytime you can come some place on a Monday night, in a rivalry like this, and you're able to win, you have to be happy.''
Vinny Testaverde was 14-of-29 for 214 yards for the Cowboys, while Anderson's completion was the first of his NFL career. Brunell was 25-of-43 for 325 yards, including 167 yards and two touchdowns to Gardner.
The Cowboys lost cornerback Pete Hunter to a sprained left knee in the first quarter, and Parcells said the injury might be a season-ending ACL tear. Hunter was replaced by rookie Jacques Reeves.
Parcells and Gibbs each used a replay challenge in the first 7 1/2 minutes, and Gibbs tried to use another one on a play that was declared non-reviewable. Both first-half scoring drives benefited from questionable calls.
Asked about the officiating, Gibbs said: ''They're probably 100 plays in that thing that you wish you could have back or have gone the other way, but that's life up here.''
Parcells was more blunt: ''This challenge this is a joke for the head coaches. You have to rely on upstairs and it's hard. It's just blind faith.''
The key play on Dallas' touchdown drive was a pass interference call on cornerback Walt Harris, who stumbled as he was grabbed by Glenn as both chased a long pass down the right sideline. Harris was called for putting his hand up while falling in a desperate bid to impede Glenn, resulting in a 40-yard penalty that gave the Cowboys the ball on the 1.
Dallas scored on the next play on a run by Eddie George, whose streak of 130 consecutive starts came to an end. The streak is an NFL record for the start of a career. His touchdown was only the second allowed by the Redskins defense this season.
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