Oops. Maybe this isn't the best team money can buy.
The Washington Redskins, armed with a $100 million payroll and playing on national television and in front of a record FedEx Field crowd of 84,431, suffered the double whammy of losing on a special night and losing to the hated Dallas Cowboys, 27-21.
The setback dropped the most heavily financed team in NFL history to 1-2 and took some of the luster off next Sunday night's game in the Meadowlands against the New York Giants (3-0). The game would have been for first place in the NFC East had the Redskins done their part Monday.
But an offense that was ranked No. 2 in the NFL last season sputtered for the third consecutive week and Dallas capitalized on a few big mistakes in pass coverage by the defense. Quarterback Randall Cunningham, subbing for the injured Troy Aikman, completed only 10 passes but they went for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
Redskins starter Brad Johnson was 30-of-48 for 241 yards but threw a critical interception late in the fourth quarter.
So the first question for coach Norv Turner was whether Jeff George, one of the many big-ticket free agents acquired by the 'Skins in the offseason, would replace Johnson next week.
"We've got to play better in all areas for the quarterback to play better," Turner said. "There are 11 guys out there and they have to perform in sync. We're not in sync."
Asked directly about George, Turner replied: "That's not a question I'm going to deal with now."
It was the first victory of the season for the Cowboys (1-2), but it was their sixth consecutive victory over Washington.
Cunningham threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Chris Warren and a 16-yarder to Jackie Harris. The 37-year-old quarterback scrambled for 32 yards on three carries, and also had a 44-yard completion to Rocket Ismail to set up the pass to Harris that made it 24-14 with 9:19 left.
"That's why we got him. We felt he could play for us if Troy was hurt," said Dave Campo, who won his first game as Dallas' head coach. "The thing he did was move around and make plays with his legs."
The teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter Dallas defensive tackle Leon Lett knocked the ball from Johnson's hand and Dallas' Greg Ellis covered it at the Redskins' 49. Ismail ran 20 yards on a reverse to spark the six-play drive that ended with Emmitt Smith running three yards for a 14-7 lead.
After the Cowboys upped their lead to 17-7 early in the third quarter on a 32-yard field goal by Tim Seder, Washington cut the gap to 17-14 on a one-yard run by Davis late in the stanza. But that was as close as they got.
The Redskins made it 24-21 with a nine-play, 69-play drive capped by Johnson's 7-yard TD pass to Mike Sellers. But Izell Reese intercepted Johnson's pass with 2:09 left to set up Tim Seder's 38-yard field goal.