It's been apparent for a while that Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon was likely going to break Art Monk's record for regular-season receptions, but it was a little surprising that he did it Dec. 22 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Garçon entered the game with 96 catches in 2013, 10 behind Monk's 1984 total of 106. Quarterback Kirk Cousins looked Garçon's way repeatedly Dec. 22, targeting him 18 times.
"I knew he needed 10, so I talked to him about trying to get him five just so he could be halfway for next week," quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "He's fearless. He plays hard and made some great plays for us today. He's the kind of guy you want on your side when you're backed into a corner."
Catch No. 100 came on a 7-yarder during the first quarter, making Garçon the second receiver to reach triple digits as a Redskin. During the second quarter, with Washington driving for a field goal, Garçon slipped and fell, yet still reached up to grab a Cousins pass for an 8-yard gain.
Garçon caught an 8-yard touchdown pass (his fifth of the season) during the third quarter to tie Monk at 106, and broke the record later during the quarter on a 19-yard catch.
"It's cool -- I'm not going to lie about that -- to be up there with Art Monk and those guys," Garçon said.
The 11 catches were a career high, and Garçon finished with 144 yards.
"Every time they called his number, he seemed to show up," wide receiver Santana Moss said. "You have to tip your hat to a guy like that. Even when we were in the dumps, we could always rely on [him]."
Fletcher Doesn't Get A Happy FedEx Field Ending
It would have been a great moment -- linebacker London Fletcher and the Redskins' defense facing the hated Cowboys on a fourth-and-goal from the 10 with Washington leading, 23-17.
But there have been few storybook endings for the 2013 Redskins, and Dallas quarterback Tony Romo's pass to running back DeMarco Murray sent the 3-12 Redskins to their seventh straight loss.
Fletcher, who finished with a tackle and six assists, wasn't thinking about his own situation during the game.
"When you're going through the game, you don't have time to think about all that," Fletcher said. "You more or less think about the plays they're running, how can I make a play, things that they're doing.
"That's what I was thinking about throughout the course of the game. We went up nine points, and I felt pretty good. I knew we had to go out and make more stops defensively. We just weren't able to do it."
Several players said Fletcher's last game had provided additional motivation against the rival Cowboys.
"We really wanted to go out there and win for him," nose tackle Barry Cofield said. "That was the theme all week, so this is definitely disappointing."
The way Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn torched the Dallas defense Dec. 15 appeared to be a good sign for Cousins. On a rainy day at FedEx Field, Cousins completed 21 of 36 passes for 197 yards and a passer rating of 71.2. He threw a touchdown pass and an interception.
"I consider myself to be an accurate quarterback," Cousins said when asked about his problems with accuracy Dec. 22. "I think that's one of my strengths. If at times throws are inaccurate, it has something to do with having poor mechanics 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."
On the Redskins' final drive after Dallas took the lead, he threw three straight incompletions after a 4-yard gain on first down.
"I think at the end of the day, you've got to find a way to win games," coach Mike Shanahan said, "but I was pleased with the way he handled himself."
Brian Orakpo Leaves Early
Linebacker Brian Orakpo suffered a groin injury early during the fourth quarter and did not return, leaving the Redskins without their sack leader as Romo rallied the Cowboys.
"You are going to have guys go down during the game," Shanahan said, "and we had four or five guys go down. And it's just part of the game, making adjustments and trying to make those adjustments and still win the game."
Orakpo declined to speak with reporters after the game.
Forbath Solid In Poor Conditions
The Redskins weren't able to drive into field goal range on their final possession, denying kicker Kai Forbath the chance to be the hero.
But he had a solid day, connecting on all three of his field-goal attempts, including a 47-yarder on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Washington a 23-14 lead. He's made 12 straight field goals.
Forbath, who has struggled with kickoff distance, also hit three of his six kickoffs for touchbacks, a season high.
- The Redskins are 0-5 against the NFC East with one game remaining and could finish winless in the division for the third time during the last 20 years. Jim Zorn's 4-12 team in 2009 went 0-6, and Norv Turner's 1994 team went 0-8 (when the Cardinals were still in the division).
- The Redskins rushed for 100 yards Dec. 22, giving them more than 2,000 rushing yards for the season. They've rushed for more than 2,000 yards during consecutive seasons for the first time since 2005 and '06.
- Garçon's 100-yard receiving game was his fifth of the season. He now has 13 during his career.