The Dallas Cowboys had to have this one. With seven games remaining, conventional wisdom is that Dallas needed to win five of those games just to have a shot at the playoffs. Beating the Redskins in Washington goes a long way to getting back into the hunt.
The Cowboys got back to basics in this one. A strong defensive showing and a dedication to the running game got them the 14-10 win. Marion Barber rushed for 114 yards and turned into the finisher he was last season. With Dallas nursing that lead late, Barber continued to chew up the Redskins defense and the clock.
He ran for 66 of his yards in the fourth quarter alone, when the Cowboys ate up over 10:00 of clock.
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This was Tony Romo's first game in a month and he looked a little rusty. His stats aren't anything great (19-of-27, 198 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) but his calming presence in the pocket was key. In some huge situations, Romo made plays to keep drives alive. One was a huge "push pass" (to coin John Madden) to Miles Austin that resulted in a big first down. Dallas would go on to score the go-ahead touchdown on that drive.
For the Redskins, it is yet another in a string of bad showings.
Since winning in Dallas and Philadelphia to begin the season 4-1, the Redskins have come out lame over the past five games. They looked dead in a loss to the then-winless Rams; they needed a missed field goal to beat the Browns at home; they barely beat the currently winless Lions; they looked overmatched against the Steelers; and now this.
Jason Campbell threw his first 249 passes this season without an interception. With one tonight, he has thrown three in his last 58 attempts.
The once strong Redskins now find themselves in a battle for a wildcard berth (there is no way they can catch the New York Giants in the East) with Dallas and Atlanta. All are 6-4 with Philadelphia (5-4-1), Chicago (5-5), Minnesota (5-5) and New Orleans (5-5) right behind them.
One thing about the Redskins: Clinton Portis is unbelievable. He shouldn't have played this week with his sprained MCL. He hadn't practiced all week and was all but out of tonight's game. Well, that was until gametime when Portis started and played pretty well. He ran for 68 yards on 15 carries and nearly broke one for a touchdown.
Cowboys 14, Redskins 10: Dallas Gets Themselves Back Into Playoff Hunt originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Mon, 17 Nov 2008 00:48:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.