IRVING, TEX., NOV. 22 -- It doesn't erase seven losses this season and it's not yet time to start making playoff plans, but for the struggling Dallas Cowboys, two wins in a row is reason enough to celebrate.

Dallas, ranked last in NFC total offense entering the game, put together 384 yards today in a 27-17 win over Washington. The Cowboys averaged only 248 yards a game through the first 11 weeks.

"Each game, I write a little message on the blackboard. Today all I had to write was Redskins," Dallas Coach Jimmy Johnson said. "This is still a very big rivalry and our players were ready to play."

The win, coupled with a 24-21 victory over the Los Angeles Rams last week, gives the Cowboys their first two-game win streak in three years.

It is also the first time the Cowboys have put together back-to-back 20-point games since Johnson took over as coach in 1989. The Cowboys' five wins this season are their most since going 7-9 in 1987.

"I've been here three years and this is the victory of all victories," said Dallas receiver Michael Irvin, who caught a 12-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. "They scored 17 straight points and we could have folded. But we showed character. There are a couple of things we kept in the back of our head. We wanted to win two in a row, we wanted to win a division game and we wanted to win on Thanksgiving."

Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman completed 20 of 31 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown. The Redskins' blitz that sacked Aikman a season-high eight times in their Sept. 23 meeting, reached him only three times.

"This is probably the best I've played in this league," Aikman said. "I think this will help us gain a little respect in this league."

Aikman wasn't the only one looking for respect. Emmitt Smith, whose 522 yards rushing were enough to lead the Cowboys before today's matchup, ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. Tight end Jay Novacek, who averages almost 12 yards a reception, hauled in four passes for 88 yards.

"We are looking at everyone getting the ball and being able to do something with it," Novacek said. "It's a great feeling to look up, and if the ball isn't coming my way, then it's being completed somewhere else.

"As long as we keep having success like that, then we are going to keep putting points on the board."

Points seem to be the biggest turnaround. The Cowboys' season possession time is almost equal to their opponents', but they've been outscored by 66 points. The Cowboys had possession almost 10 minutes longer than Washington today.

"We've been pretty successful controlling the ball," Smith said. "Some games, we've controlled the ball enough but {we have} just not put the points on the board. Today we controlled the ball and put the points on the board."

The Cowboys drove 67 yards in 12 plays on the first possession of the fourth quarter. Ken Willis kicked a 41-yard field goal, his second of the game, to put the Cowboys ahead, 20-17. Aikman completed five passes during the drive, including a 41-yarder to Novacek to the Washington 14.

"I had my choice," Novacek said. "I could go deep if no one was deep or I could hook or come across. The free safety was out of the middle, so I went deep. It seemed like it took five or six seconds. I think I was outrunning the ball."

The Dallas defense, which held Washington to two first downs and 25 yards on its next two possessions, stopped the Redskins on their own 45, to regain possession with 6:32 remaining. Rather than running down the clock, Aikman threw three passes. Smith then broke loose for a 48-yard touchdown to cap a six-play, 78-yard drive for a 27-17 lead.

"I didn't feel like we could sit back," Aikman said. "We wanted the first down. We wanted to move the ball and at least get three out of the drive. I felt like we were going to win when we scored and went up by 10."