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IT WAS OVER WHEN... Trailing 21-18 with just over three minutes left in regulation, Cowboys QB Tony Romo dropped back to pass on first and ten from his own 29-yard line. ILB Perry Riley came flying down the middle on a blitz and Romo, who clearly did not expect to see Riley in his face, tossed the ball into the left flat, trying to hit TB DeMarco Murray on a quick screen. OLB Rob Jackson saw the pass coming, though, and moved quickly into position to make a play on the ball. Jackson, whose number was rarely called on a night when he made only one tackle, snatched the ball out of the air, fell forward two yards and went to the ground at the Dallas 25-yard line with his fourth interception of the season. The Redskins offense took over, running the ball 6 times on 7 plays and taking advantage of a roughing the passer call on a third down to move the ball down to the one yard line. On his final carry of the game, TB Alfred Morris muscled across the goal line, rushing for his 200th yard and third touchdown of the night.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING... The Redskins won the turnover battle tonight 3-0, as Tony Romo threw three interceptions and the Redskins didn't turn the ball over once... The Redskins defense forced 15 turnovers during this 7-game winning streak... Washington finished the regular season +17 on turnovers, one of the best in the NFL... The Redskins came into the game as the top rushing team in the NFL, but tonight they rushed for 274 yards, their best effort of the season... Despite being obviously limited by his knee injury and knee brace, Redskins QB Robert Griffin III rushed for 63 yards and 1 TD on six carries -- an average of 10.5 yards per rush... The Redskins averaged only 4.8 yards per pass tonight, but made up for it by averaging 6.5 yards per rush... PK Kai Forbath missed his first field goal of the year, a 37-yarder he shanked off the right upright in the first quarter... P Sav Rocca has only three touchbacks all season.
I LIKED THAT... Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett had a terrific game plan that forced Tony Romo into three interceptions and 17 incompletions on 37 passes with a dizzying variety of blitzes from inside linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks. While many quarterbacks can win a play before the ball is snapped by figuring out what the defense is going to do before it is done, that's very difficult to do against the Redskins because Haslett, who has to deal with a serious talent deficiency at several positions, never shows his true hand. Jim Haslett has done an awful lot with very little this year and tonight was his finest three hours of the year... CBs DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson were excellent tonight, keeping receivers in front of them and allowing no cheap receptions. Hall has had a typically up-and-down season and Wilson has played well while struggling in the #1 cornerback role, but both brought their A game in the biggest game of the season to-date... The Redskins had 9 passes defensed and Hall and Wilson had five between them... ILB London Fletcher struggled mightily the first half of the season, but during this 7-game winning streak he has played very well, despite battling an injured ankle that has left him in a walking boot on multiple occasions... The blocking for Alfred Morris tonight was magnificent, with Trent Williams, Will Montgomery, Tyler Polumbus, Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson all throwing great blocks to spring Morris for many of his 200 yards... Speaking of Morris, he had his best game when the Redskins needed him the most. It's the kind of performance that makes you trust him in other big games... The Redskins proved they can win games against a quality opponent without RG3 having to play out of his mind.
I DID NOT LIKE THAT... The Redskins wasted two drives when WR Josh Morgan and WR Pierre Garcon both dropped third down passes from RG3 that would have gone for first downs... Punt coverage was dismal tonight, with the Skins allowing Dallas to aveage 26 yards per return on 3 returns -- one of which set up Dallas' 4th quarter touchdown that narrowed Washington's lead to 21-18...
No, it does not -- Rob Carr/Getty Images
AND IT MEANS... The Redskins are going to the playoffs for the first time in five years and will host their first playoff game in 13 years, since January 4, 2000. The Redskins completed their regular season with 7 straight wins to go from 3-6 to 10-6 and the NFC East division championship. Unlike that 1999 division champion, this time it feels like the first of many great successes to come. The Redskins are a young team with rookies at key positions. Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris accounted for 40 of Washington's 48 touchdowns this season, proving that a team doesn't need to be led by grizzled veterans to succeed. Washington will host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday and there is every reason to think the Skins can prevail, even against a red-hot team with a great defense and it's own first-rate rookie QB. This looks like the beginning of a great new relationship between the Washington Redskins and its legion of devoted fans.