In each of the last two weeks, the Washington Redskins have found themselves, inside of two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, with an opportunity to clinch the team's fourth victory of the year.
Each time, the Redskins have failed to execute on offense, leaving spot starting quarterback Kirk Cousins with the opportunity to learn from the film.
"We didn't get a first down. We had three incompletions and that was it," Cousins said of the team's final drive. "We have to find ways in those situations to move the chains and give us a chance.
"You talk about reps; you talk about being an experienced quarterback. It's a game of inches."
Cousins finished the day with a respectable stat line: 21-for-36, 197 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
While head coach Mike Shanahan echoed his desire to execute with the game on the line, he said Cousins performed well in the spotlight.
"I was pleased with the way he handled himself," Shanahan said of Cousins. "I think we'd like to have the one pass back that he had to [wide receiver] Santana [Moss[ in the first half.
"But overall, I was pleased with the way he handled himself. He'll get better every game."
On the interception deflected by Moss, Cousins slung the ball slightly behind Moss, forcing the veteran to make a desperation spin attempt at the catch. The ball bounced off his hands, intercepted by the Cowboys.
After the game, Cousins shouldered the blame for the throw, saying chemistry came into play.
"I tried to anticipate the angle [Moss] was coming out at, and I didn't anticipate it correctly," he admitted. "Santana [Moss] did a good job breaking in, and I threw it a little bit more up the field.
"That's where you talk about chemistry. I'd like to think down the road, I'm going to know where he's going to go and I'm going to anticipate that a little better.
"That's probably a touchdown as opposed to an interception if it's thrown more inside. Santana did nothing wrong there. I just did a poor job of anticipating where he was going to go."
On the final play of the game, Cousins lined the offense up in a hurry and ran a haphazard play that resulted in a turnover on downs.
Head coach Mike Shanahan explained the breakdown in communication that resulted in a throw out of bounds.
"Well, he [wide receiver Santana Moss] should have been on the other side," Shanahan said. "Santana heard a different formation and he [Cousins] was trying to bring him across and we didn't get it communicated."
With the clock ticking away, Cousins called for the snap and ultimately had to throw the football away.
"I was concerned about the delay of game. We didn't get in the formation we wanted to be in," he said of the hasty snap. "I thought I needed to snap the ball. I was trying to give our guy a chance.
"Wasn't in a good position there, and it didn't go our way."
Despite some misfires in the last two games, Cousins remains confident in his accuracy. Cousins completed more than 64 percent of his passes at Michigan State and more than 61 percent as a pro.
"We'll go back and watch the film, and we'll evaluate. Each individual throw could be different," he explained. "I consider myself to be an accurate quarterback. I think that's one of my strengths. If at time throws are inaccurate, it has something to do with having a poor mechanic on that play, or just having a poor understanding of where the ball needs to be thrown.
"Certainly, there are some things I can go back and be hard on myself about."
While Cousins has been unable to lead his team to victory in his first two 2013 opportunities, he said he is finding the long-term value in repetitions.
"This is the NFL. Every game is typically going to come down to the last two minutes," he said. "There is going to be a battle week-in and week-out. And we are going to have an emotional roller coaster throughout the season.
"If you don't like it and it's too tough, then you can't hang. This is to be expected and it's a part of the game. Certainly, I would've liked to come out with two wins and we were a couple plays away from having that. But this is the NFL.
"I like to think with a little bit more experience, those will be wins in the future."