for this game

Redskins sink Cowboys, clinch playoff spot

Dec 31, 2007 - 2:37 AM
By Rich Dubroff PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LANDOVER, Maryland (Ticker) - The Washington Redskins are heading to Seattle. Clinton Portis ran for two touchdowns and 104 yards as the Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys, 27-6, on Sunday to clinch the NFC's final playoff spot.

Washington (9-7), which finished the season on a four-game winning streak, will play the NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks next Saturday.

Todd Collins threw for 244 yards and a touchdown to Santana Moss and Scott Suisham kicked two field goals for the Redskins' scoring. A month ago, the Redskins were reeling. After the tragic death of Sean Taylor on November 27, Washington lost to Buffalo on a late field goal.

"That was the worst moment of my career," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. "I felt like that was really a defining moment for me four weeks ago. I get kind of emotional talking about it, but that is the truth."

It was their fourth consecutive defeat and dropped their record to 5-7. The next day, the Redskins traveled to Miami for Taylor's funeral, and three days later they watched starting quarterback Jason Campbell leave a game with Chicago with a knee injury.

In came the 37-year-old Collins, who hadn't started a game in 10 years.

"Four weeks ago, nobody gave us a chance," Portis said. "Nobody expected Todd Collins to come in and lead this surge. We went through the worst. It couldn't get any tougher than that."

Collins led Washington to a home win over the Bears and back-to-back victories on the road against the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings, who were eliminated from postseason contention by the Redskins' win Sunday.

"Todd has just been a great performer," Gibbs said. "He didn't have something where he could get ready in the preseason. He was thrown right into the battle."

Collins was effective against the Cowboys, completing 22-of-31 passes and not throwing an interception.

"It feels great to beat the Cowboys," Collins said. "It's pretty big. It's the first time I've had a chance to quarterback a team trying for the playoffs."

Dallas (13-3) gets to watch the first round of the playoffs on television and await its first-playoff game on the weekend of January 12-13. If the Redskins beat the Seahawks, they'll again face the Cowboys.

"I'm almost hoping they beat Seattle next week because to me, this was an embarrassment today," Dallas wide receiver Terry Glenn said.

Dallas had little to play for, having already clinched home-field advantage with the NFC's best record.

Though Cowboys coach Wade Phillips played lip service to the game's importance by saying the team had never won 14 games, it was obvious Washington had much more at stake.

"The word for us was uninspired," Phillips said. "It shows when one team is fired up to play and one team isn't. Basically, I didn't get our team ready to play."

The Redskins dominated Dallas in the first half, taking a 10-0 lead. Portis ran 23 yards for Washington's first touchdown with 6:28 to play in the first quarter. Suisham drilled field goals of 46 and 21 yards in the second quarter.

After Portis capped a long Washington drive with a 1-yard run midway through the third quarter to give the Redskins a 20-3 lead, Phillips pulled quarterback Tony Romo.

"You saw what happens when one team comes out and plays with a lot of emotion and the other really doesn't," Romo said. "Obviously, we didn't match their intensity level."

Romo completed just seven passes in 16 attempts for 86 yards and was intercepted once. The Cowboys were held to just one yard rushing.

"Offensively, we didn't do anything," Cowboys guard Leonard Davis said. "We just went out there and layed down. We can't do that."

In the fourth quarter, Collins hit Moss for a 42-yard score to make it 27-3. Nick Folk's field goals of 37 and 30 yards accounted for Dallas' only scoring.