While the Redskins are down following their loss to the Cowboys, they're far from out as they remain in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East with four games remaining.
Any loss to the Dallas Cowboys, no matter what NFC East standings are or what the implications are, is tough for the Washington Redskins.
On Monday night in front of a raucous home crowd at FedExField, the Redskins had an opportunity to put the Cowboys out for good in this year's playoff chase, all while creating separation from the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.
But even with a late DeSean Jackson touchdown that immediately answered Cowboys score, the Redskins didn't throw enough punches to send the Cowboys home to Dallas with another loss, falling by a final of 19-16.
"It is frustrating," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "I think guys played hard obviously. We just had some unforced errors with the penalties. Hats off to Dallas, Coach [Jason] Garrett had them ready to play and they played better than us. It is frustrating. We had a chance to take a lead. But now we're starting the fourth quarter of our season. Go to Chicago and we've just got to turn the page and move on."
Indeed the Redskins must put this game in the rear view mirror. They also can't concern themselves with what is happening around them in the NFC East right now.
Even though they are in a three-way tie with the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the division, the Redskins hold the tiebreaker between the three teams.
They also can't let the bitter taste of Monday's defeat throw off their hunger in the next four games.
"I think in this league tough losses are not foreign to us, and close wins aren't foreign to us," Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "You kind of expect it to be an up and down deal all the time. We're prepared to face moments like this. We've got guys that are going to keep battling. You look at all the positives that you were able to do and you gain confidence from that. You gain experience, whether it was a win or loss. You always gain experience. Because we have so much to play for, I think it's easy to get back to work and have a lot of motivation for the next week."
Cousins added that while the frustration of not being able to take a full-game lead in the division is there, the entire team needs to employ a positive outlook for the final four regular season games.
Check out these top defensive and special teams photos from the Washington Redskins' 2015 Week 13 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys Dec. 7, 2015, at FedExField.
"The results-based business, the result wasn't what we wanted but in the process we did some good things," Cousins said. "We can build on that and start to create something long term that could be pretty special if we continue to find ways to plan and give good effort. I appreciate that question and thank you for staying positive."
The final four-game stretch for the Redskins isn't easy, as it starts this Sunday with a road matchup against a Bears team that despite losing this past Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers is exceeding expectations.
"We have another must win game to keep at the top of our division," Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker said of the Bears game. "We still have everything that we want that we started off the season working for, and that's to win the division. We're still tied for first… So we just have to continue to handle business as usual for the rest of the season."
That's followed up by a home game against the Buffalo Bills before ending the season in Philadelphia and Dallas.
"Right now, it's playoff football and if guys don't understand, then they can't be on that field," nose tackle Terrance Knighton said. "That's exactly what's going on with our team right now. Every team in our division now has a chance to win the division. We're still in the driver's seat. We've just got to go on the road and play a tough team in a hostile environment — a team that has a lot of tradition. It's another demon we've got to conquer — winning on the road."