The Redskins improved to 10-6 and ended the regular season on a seven-game winning streak. They seized their first division crown since the 1999 season and, as the NFC’s fourth seed for the postseason, will host the fifth-seeded Seattle Seahawks in a first-round playoff game next Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
“The main thing for our football team is they’re not satisfied with where they’re at,” Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said. “That was our first goal.”
The Cowboys (8-8) missed the playoffs, losing a winner-take-all game for the NFC East title for a second straight season. Dallas lost to the New York Giants on the final day of the 2011 season and fell short in similarly agonizing fashion Sunday.
The Cowboys could have knocked the Redskins from the playoffs entirely. The Redskins’ wild-card chances were extinguished earlier Sunday. Instead, the Redskins will have their chance to follow in the footsteps of last season’s Giants and the Green Bay Packers of 2010, who turned hot regular season finishes into Super Bowl victories.
Griffin had a third-quarter touchdown run to put the Redskins in front for good. But it was, otherwise, a quiet game for him. He threw for only 100 yards and ran for 63 more. Morris did the heavy lifting on offense, running for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 33 laborious carries. He set the Redskins’ single-season record for rushing yards and helped them overcome a missed field goal in the first half by their previously perfect place kicker, Kai Forbath.
“I’m just thankful I was able to come out today, give it my all,” Morris said. “The run game was working today. I’m just happy we’re going to the playoffs.”
The Redskins’ defense, so heavily criticized for much of the season, did more than its share. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw three interceptions, two in the first quarter and another — by Redskins linebacker Rob Jackson — with the game on the line in the final minutes.
“We had a great game plan and we played it to perfection,” Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen said. “We forced Tony to make some mistakes.”
Romo gave the Cowboys the lead with a second-quarter touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten. But the Redskins scored the game’s next 14 points before a 48-yard field goal by Dallas’s Dan Bailey in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
Morris answered with a 32-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 21-10 with about 101
2 minutes to play and the Redskins held on from there. Romo threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, set up by Dwayne Harris’s 39-yard punt return, and added a two-point conversion on a pass to Harris with 5 minutes 50 seconds left.