Final-game loss sinks Cowboys' playoff pursuit

Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:10am EST
 

By Ros Krasny

LANDOVER, Maryland (Reuters) - A heartbreaking loss ended another Dallas Cowboys' season on Sunday, the third year in a row the storied franchise has missed the playoffs.

"We have a big challenge ahead of us," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after Dallas lost to the Washington Redskins 28-18 and squandered their chance to win the NFC East.

"One of my jobs is to basically evaluate, analyze and make decisions in the off season, and help us be in better shape going into playoffs."

The Cowboys' 2012 campaign finished with two consecutive losses after a crucial interception thrown by quarterback Tony Romo after Dallas had rallied in the fourth quarter.

"It just hurts a lot right now to even think about and talk about," Romo said. For a second straight year the Cowboys lost a last-ditch, win-or-go-home final game of the regular season.

The Cowboys shook off two early interceptions and gained a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter, helped by a missed 37-yard field goal attempt by Washington's Kai Forbath.

But Dallas, a team that has been estimated as the most valuable sports franchise in the United States, was unable to win as the Redskins successfully kept Romo off-balance.

"We knew Romo doesn't like pressure in his face, so that was our big thing. We had to get pressure up the middle and not so much outside, to be able to keep him in the pocket," Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said of the plan to neutralize Romo.   Continued...