LANDOVER, Md. - Put Donovan McNabb in a different uniform, and he finally finds a way to beat the Cowboys.
OK, it helps when his defense scores a huge momentum touchdown at the end of the first half - and then hangs on to withstand a final, furious threat at the end of the second half, surviving only when Dallas' 12th penalty of the game negates what appeared to be the winning score.
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall returned a fumble 32 yards for Washington's only touchdown, and McNabb completed 15 of 32 passes for 171 yards in his Redskins debut last night in a season-opening, 13-7 win over the Cowboys.
It was also the Redskins' first game for Mike Shanahan, and the longtime Broncos coach watched his defense keep the Cowboys at bay when it mattered.
The Cowboys moved inside the Redskins' 40 on three of their first four drives and didn't score a point, but the drive everyone will remember is the last one, which came after Graham Gano made a 49-yard field goal with 1:50 left to give the Redskins a 13-7 lead.
After the kickoff, the Cowboys started at their own 19 with 1:45 left. They converted a fourth-and-10 at Washington's 43 when Tony Romo hit wide-open Miles Austin over the middle for a 30-yard gain with 12 seconds to go.
Three plays later, Romo had only 3 seconds left on the clock. He scrambled to find Roy Williams open in the end zone.
But, while Williams and the Cowboys were celebrating, an official was calling Alex Barron for holding Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo, negating the score and providing a fitting end to a game in which the Cowboys made mistake after mistake. Barron was starting because Marc Colombo missed the game with a knee injury.
McNabb was playing the Cowboys for the third straight game, the first player to do that against an opponent since the 1970 merger. His Eagles lost to Dallas, 24-0, to end the regular season in 2009, then 34-14 the next week in the playoffs in his last game with Philadelphia before the Easter Sunday trade that sent him to the Redskins.