Dallas nips #039;Skins

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 28, 2004

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) - Bill Parcells celebrated the touchdown with a big smile and his fist thrust high in the air. The Dallas Cowboys coach had turned the trick that put his old nemesis on the ropes.

Richie Anderson's halfback option pass floated into the hands of Terry Glenn in the back of the end zone early in the fourth quarter, and the Cowboys sacked Mark Brunell five times in Monday night's 21-18 victory over Joe Gibbs and the Washington Redskins.

In the first meeting in 14 years between two of the NFL's top coaches, Parcells showed he still has Gibbs' number. Parcells has won 12 of 18 meetings and seven in a row, the last six coming when Parcells' New York Giants and Gibbs' Redskins were NFC East rivals from 1983-90.

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The victory, Dallas' 13th in its last 14 meetings with Washington, also made Parcells the 10th coach in NFL history to win 150 regular season games.

The trick play from Anderson to Glenn gave the Cowboys (2-1) a 21-10 lead with 13 minutes remaining, enough cushion to survive a comeback by the Redskins (1-2).

Brunell, playing one week after straining his hamstring in a loss to the New York 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 of 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 as time expired.

Vinny Testaverde was 14-of-29 for 214 yards for the Cowboys, while Anderson completed the first pass of his NFL career. Brunell was 25-of-43 for 325 yards - 167 to Gardner - and two touchdowns.

Parcells and Gibbs each used a replay challenge in the first 7 1/2 minutes of the game, and Gibbs tried to use another one on a play that was declared non-reviewable. Both first-half scoring drives benefited from questionable calls.

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-yard line.

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 most consecutive starts at the start of a career. His touchdown was only the second allowed by the Redskins defense this season.

The Redskins rebounded to score late in the first half thanks to a beneficial call on a third-down play. Clinton Portis' knee was clearly down by contact short of the first down after a reception, but he was allowed to get up and run for a 12-yard gain. Brunell then made three big completions to move the ball to Dallas' 1-yard line, but the Cowboys defense held Washington to a 19-yard field goal by John Hall.

Dallas struck quickly to take a 14-3 lead early in the third quarter, going 80 yards in four plays. Antonio Bryant stepped in front of cornerback Fred Smoot for a 48-yard reception, then Testaverde found Keyshawn Johnson over the middle for a 23-yard gain. On the next play, tight end Jason Witten was open in the back corner of the end zone for a 10-yard TD catch.

The Redskins struck back immediately for their first touchdown, although they needed a roughing the passer call on a fourth-and-1 incompletion to keep the drive alive. Marcellus Wiley was called for the infraction for shoving Brunell with a forearm to the head, giving Brunell second life on a drive in which he was 6-of-7, including a 1-yard throw to Gardner for the score.

The Redskins played without linebacker LaVar Arrington and defensive end Phillip Daniels, who were both hurt in last week's loss to the Giants. The Cowboys lost cornerback Pete Hunter to a sprained knee in the first quarter. He was replaced by rookie Jacques Reeves.