Thanksgiving is upon us again. Football has become as engrained a tradition on this day as stuffing, gravy and turkey-induced comas.
Since 1966, the Dallas Cowboys have hosted a game on Turkey Day, holding a lifetime 29-18-1 record. On seven of those occasions, they played host to the Washington Redskins, and the results have been lopsided – six out of those seven have ended with a Dallas win.
The Redskins’ sole win was a 38-31 triumph in 2012 – also their last Thanksgiving meeting. Only four years have since passed but, as the teams gear up for a holiday rematch, it feels like it’s been four decades.
Change is rampant on both sides. 2012 featured a starting quarterback match-up of Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III. The former will likely be a sideline spectator, this time around. The latter hasn’t started a game for Washington since 2014, and has long since left town.
Offensively, both teams have shifted philosophies. Behind a talented o-line and a fleet-footed quarterback, Dallas has embraced the read-option. Under the direction of new head coach, Jay Gruden, Washington employs an offense in which the strategy is pass-first, pass-second.
The stakes are higher, too. In 2012, the Cowboys were 5-5 and the Redskins 4-6. This year, they are 9-1 and 6-3-1, respectively.
Before the hated rivals take the gridiron again, let’s take a look back at several of the characters, who played prominent roles in their last meeting, and see where they are now:
Aldrick Robinson, WR
2012 Game Stats: 1 REC, 68 YDS, 1 TD
It was just one catch, but it sure was memorable.
The Cowboys bit on Griffin’s play-action, leaving the speedy Robinson to run free on a deep, go-route.
It would prove to be the highlight of his Redskins tenure. Done in by unreliable hands, Robinson was cut, halfway through the 2014 season.
The former, SMU-star is now a spare part in the Falcons’ loaded-offense, albeit a fast spare part.
Felix Jones, RB
2012 Game Stats: 6 RSH, 14 YDS, 3 REC, 47 YDS, 1 TD
Jones “led” the Cowboys in rushes, in a game where Romo slung it an unbelievable, 62 times.
Drafted in the first-round out of Arkansas, the running back tantalized Cowboys fans with his dynamic, change-of-pace talents. Unfortunately, his body was unable to hold up to the rigors of being an every-down player.
Jones was not re-signed, after his rookie deal expired. He made brief cameo in Philly on his way to a stint holding Le’Veon Bell’s jockstrap in Pittsburgh. He has not played in the NFL since 2013.
Anthony Spencer, OLB
2012 Game Stats: 7 TCK, 2 SCK
Despite giving up several big plays, the Dallas defense did manage to pressure RGIII and the Washington offense. Leading the way was the sixth-year, outside-linebacker.
Spencer holds the distinction of being one of the highest-drafted defenders to come out of Purdue University. You might have heard of two others: Ryan Kerrigan and some guy named Rod Woodson.
2012 would be Spencer’s career year. He would never again approach his superstar-caliber, 95 tackles and 11.5 sacks.
Still just 32, he is currently listed as a free agent.
Josh Wilson, DB
2012 Game Stats: 6 TCK, 1 FF
Dez Bryant’s fumble might have been recovered by teammate, DeJon Gomes, but it was the cornerback Wilson’s big hit that jarred the ball loose.
A local product through and through: Wilson starred in track and football at DeMatha Catholic High School before taking his talents to the University of Maryland.
Thus, it seemed appropriate, when the Redskins brought him home. In 2011, the team signed Wilson to a three-year, $13 million-dollar contract, with $9 million-guaranteed.
Wilson had a few moments, but was part of a mediocre-secondary that gave up 4,511 passing yards in 2012 – third worst in the NFL. After three years were up, he and the Redskins parted ways.
Robert Griffin III
2012 Game Stats: 19-27 PA, 304 YDS, 4 TDS, 1 INT, 7 RSH, 29 YDS
We would be remiss not to pay homage to one of Griffin’s rookie-season masterpieces.
Up to this point, “RGIII” was most-notorious for several, highlight-reel plays that were made with his legs. This was the game that reminded America that, yes, he also had an arm.
The Cowboy’s reticence to giving up easy, first-down runs helped buy the Baylor-product the time to slice and dice the Cowboy’s mediocre secondary. He finished with a passer rating of 131.8 – the third-best showing of his career. A marketing-sensation, he seemed poised to take the league by storm.
Two weeks later, the infamous-Baltimore game altered the course of Redskins history. We all know the soap-opera, saga that followed. The firestorm cost Mike Shanahan his job and ushered in the Kirk Cousins era.
Griffin signed with the Browns in the off-season, where he is – unsurprisingly – working his way back from another injury.