The Associated Press
LANDOVER, Md. —
With the NFC East title on the line, rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III had a 10-yard touchdown run to give the Washington Redskins a 14-10 lead over the Dallas Cowboys early in the fourth quarter Sunday night.
Tony Romo threw interceptions on each of Dallas’ first two possessions before connecting with Jason Witten for a 9-yard touchdown pass on the team’s third drive.
It was a win-or-go-home game moved into prime time to mark the end of the NFL’s regular season: Whichever team lost would miss the playoffs, and the winner would host the wild-card Seattle Seahawks in a first-round game next Sunday.
Griffin’s scamper with a little more than 3 minutes left in the third quarter capped a nine-play, 82-yard drive and made it 14-7. Dallas cut the lead to four points on Dan Bailey’s 48-yard field goal 51 seconds into the fourth quarter.
RG3, wearing a heavy black brace on his mildly sprained right knee, faked a handoff to rookie running back Alfred Morris, who had six carries for 41 yards on the possession — helping him break Clinton Portis’ franchise record for rushing in a season.
To that point, Morris had a career-best 141 yards on 21 carries, including a 17-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Entering the fourth, Morris was up to 1,554 yards for the season. Portis gained 1,516 in 2005.
The game also included Redskins kicker Kai Forbath’s first missed field-goal try in 18 career attempts.
After his early miscues, Romo got going on his third drive, a 13-play, 89-yard journey that lasted more than 7 1/2 minutes. It ended with Dallas barely beating an expiring play clock on third-and-goal from the 9, then Romo scrambling around in his trademark fashion before finding Witten in the end zone with about 8 minutes left in the second quarter.
Romo went 4 for 4 for 58 yards on the drive. Witten’s first catch of the game, earlier in that possession, gave him 800 for his career, allowing him to join Tony Gonzalez (1,237) and Shannon Sharpe (815) as the only tight ends with at least that many.
Washington responded, going 68 yards in eight plays to tie it on Morris’ run around the left side.
Cowboys receiver Miles Austin hurt his left ankle in the second quarter, but he was back on the field in the second half.
The Redskins won the opening coin toss, got the ball first and went three-and-out, with Dwayne Harris’ 28-yard punt return setting up Dallas at the Washington 27. But on Dallas’ third play on offense, Romo was intercepted by Redskins rookie Richard Crawford. Walking to the sideline, Romo gave intended receiver Kevin Ogletree a talking-to.
The Redskins then drove into field-goal range, before Forbath sent his 37-yard attempt off the right upright, ending his NFL-record streak of 17 consecutive makes to begin a career. Forbath made two field goals last week to surpass Saints kicker Garrett Hartley’s old mark of 16 in a row.
Dallas’ second drive also ended with Romo’s pass getting picked off, this time by cornerback Josh Wilson at Washington’s 13. The Redskins again did not capitalize, needing to punt the ball back.
The Cowboys were seeking the first division title and playoff berth since 2009. The Redskins, meanwhile, sought their first trip to the postseason since 2007 — and first NFC East championship since 1999. Washington finished in last place each of the past four seasons.
Washington entered the day on a six-game winning streak and with a 9-6 record, while Dallas came in 8-7.
A victory over Dallas would make Washington the first club since the 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars to get to the playoffs after opening 3-6.