Redskins RB Alfred Morris could not be stopped tonight -- AP Photo
The Washington Redskins defeated the Dallas Cowboys 28-18 tonight in front of a raucous, joyous sold-out crowd at FedEx Field, sending the Redskins to the playoffs as NFC East division champs and the Cowboys home for a long offseason. The Redskins will host the red-hot Seattle Seahawks next weekend in the first home playoff game at FedEx Field in 13 years.
Few would have believed this would happen back on November 4 when the Redskins were thrashed at home by the Carolina Panthers, dropping the Redskins to 3-6 and provoking an angry Mike Shanahan to talk of evaluating his players in the final seven games. Instead, the Redskins have won all seven of those games to improve their record to 10-6 and win the NFC East division championship.
On a night when an obviously-injured Robert Griffin III had easily the worst game of his young pro career, fellow rookie, tailback Alfred Morris, had his best. Needing 104 yards to break the franchise single-season rushing record, Morris rushed for 200 yards on 33 carries [6.3 yards per carry] and scored three touchdowns. Morris finishes the regular season with 1613 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, the latter a Redskins rookie record.
But the defense deserves a ton of credit for this win, too. Much-maligned for the entire season, the defense responded with arguably their best game of the year. [Holding the Eagles to six points would have been more impressive two years ago.] ILB London Fletcher had two sacks and a game-high 11 tackles, OLB Rob Jackson intercepted a pass late in the fourth quarter to seal the win and CBs DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson blanketed Dallas' banged-up receivers, holding Cowboys QB Tony Romo to only 5.3 yards per dropback. Hall had three passes defensed.
Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett dialed up a baffling array of exotic looks and sent blitzing linebackers and defensive backs after Romo early and often -- and on almost every third down play. Romo struggled with the blitzes and hits, throwing three interceptions and completing barely 50% of his passes.
The Redskins now move on to the playoffs for the first time in five years and their first home playoff game since January 2000.