Redskins rout Dallas to stay in playoff hunt

LANDOVER, Md. (Dec. 18, 2005) -- A perfect day for the Washington Redskins would include a complete, start-to-finish, no-let-up humiliation of the Dallas Cowboys. Make it a game that puts the playoffs within serious reach, and you've got sheer nirvana.

From the raucous pregame chants of "We Want Dallas" to the seven sacks, four turnovers and four touchdown passes, the celebration never stopped in Sunday's 35-7 blowout, Washington's most one-sided victory in the 45-year history of the rivalry.

"We've got a lot of Dallas fans, even in D.C.," Washington defensive end Renaldo Wynn said. "I've been here four years, and I've just been getting sick and tired of hearing about it, what they're going to do. So you don't even know how enjoyable it was for us to get this win and get a sweep. It hadn't happened since '95. It's unbelievable. It's something I'll definitely remember."

The Cowboys' first play from scrimmage was a pass tipped by Phillip Daniels and intercepted by Cornelius Griffin. The rest of the game was more of the same. Daniels finished with four sacks and a fumble recovery, Marcus Washington had two sacks, an interception and a forced fumble, Chris Cooley caught three of Mark Brunell 's four touchdown passes, and Clinton Portis ran for 112 yards.

"It was one of those nights where everything went our way," coach Joe Gibbs said.

The score was 28-0 at halftime, with the Redskins scoring on drives of four, eight, two and two plays. They capitalized off two interceptions, a bad punt and a long pass to Santana Moss that brought back memories of his two fourth-quarter touchdown catches in the stunning 14-13 win over the Cowboys on a Monday night in Week 2.

"People kept saying it was a fluke that first game," Daniels said. "I think we showed today it was no fluke."

Many Redskins fans went to sleep that September night thinking their team had lost. This time, they left early knowing the Redskins had won. The 28-point margin of victory topped the 27-point victories over the Cowboys in 1986 and 1996, and the 37-10 win in 1996 came when playoff-bound Dallas rested its star players in the final game at RFK Stadium.

Washington's third straight victory left the Redskins (8-6) and Cowboys (8-6) two games behind the New York Giants in the NFC East, but the Redskins hold the tiebreaker because of their first Dallas sweep in 10 years. Washington's 8-2 conference record also puts it in position for a wild-card berth and its first postseason appearance since 1999.

The victory came with a price. Right guard Randy Thomas, the Redskins' most consistent lineman and the lead blocker on many of Portis' wide runs, is lost for the season after breaking a bone in his lower leg in the fourth quarter. Thomas was carted off the field as many of the 90,588 fans -- a Redskins record at FedEx Field -- chanted "Randy!"

Dallas also had its right guard, Marco Rivera, carted off in the fourth quarter with a strained neck after landing on his head during a running play. He was to be re-evaluated overnight in a local hospital.

"He has movement and feeling," Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels said.

The Cowboys were an embarrassing shell of a Bill Parcells team. Tied for the league lead in fewest penalties, they committed nine miscues, including three false starts by three linemen on the same drive. Drew Bledsoe threw three interceptions and lost one fumble to account for all of Dallas' turnovers -- even though the banged-up Redskins' defense played without injured starters LaVar Arrington and Carlos Rogers.

"They just outplayed us in every area," Parcells said in a terse postgame briefing. "We had really no chance to win the game. ... We just lost our poise and played very, very poorly."

Even punter Mat McBriar had a bad day with several shanked punts, one of which set up a Redskins touchdown, and kicker Billy Cundiff missed a field goal. The Cowboys, who have dropped three of four, were blown out for the first time this season -- their five previous losses were by a total of 20 points.

"Nobody's more shocked than us," receiver Patrick Crayton said. "Mistakes, penalties -- everything we could do to ourselves to kill ourselves, we did it today. Right now, it's just embarrassing."

That's music to the ears of anyone wearing burgundy and gold, even if he's a Hall of Fame coach.

"This is big-time for Coach," tackle Chris Samuels said. "He just kept saying, 'Stay after 'em! Stay after 'em!' Even when we were doing well."

Notes: Brunell's four touchdown passes matched his career high. ... The Redskins are 3-0 since going to all-white uniforms. ... Terry Glenn became the first Dallas player with 1,000 yards receiving since Rocket Ismail in 1999.

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