for this game

Efficient Redskins hand Cowboys first loss

Sep 29, 2008 - 5:00 AM By John Tranchina PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

IRVING, Texas (Ticker) -- The Washington Redskins have served notice that they want to be accounted for in the NFL's most competitive division.

Jason Campbell passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns Sunday as the Redskins defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 26-24, in the final meeting between the long-time rivals at Texas Stadium.

The Redskins (3-1) have won three in a row following a season-opening 16-7 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants to climb into a second-place tie with the Cowboys (3-1) in the NFC East.

"We did what we had to do to win," Washington rookie head coach Jim Zorn said. "It's a big victory because we were ahead on points, but it was a very close game. It feels good to take strides and it feels even better to have that football team believe in what we're doing."

Washington, Dallas and New York, which was idle Sunday, have combined to post a 9-2 record over the first three weeks of this season. The NFC East's other team, the Philadelphia Eagles fell to 2-2 with a 24-20 loss to Chicago later Sunday night.

"It feels great, even though we were underdogs, that's just hype," Washington safety LaRon Landry said. "People in here, we knew what type of team we had, we knew we could come in here and dominate and that's what we did the whole week, practicing dominating these guys."

Santana Moss hauled in eight catches for 145 yards and Clinton Portis rushed for 121 yards on 21 carries for the efficient Redskins, who dominated the second half.

"(Moss) is a great receiver," Campbell said. "He's always saying, 'Give me an opportunity.' He had a great day today, we wish we could've got him a touchdown catch."

"It wasn't a one-man show," Portis said of his performance. "When Coach called on us, on the running game, the offensive line responded greatly. (The team) is very conditioned, we're playing as a team."

Dallas, boasting the league's most potent offense at 440 yards per game, had difficulty generating substantial drives Sunday, thanks to Washington's strong defense which shut down the Cowboys' vaunted running game.

One week after gaining a career-high 142 yards rushing, Dallas' Marion Barber was limited to just 26 on eight carries.

"They were committing a lot of people at the line of scrimmage to defend the run and they did a good job of that," Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. "They brought different kinds of pressures to defend the run and then they just brought an extra guy down in there. And when they do that, you have to throw the ball and throw it effectively."

Tony Romo threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns with an interception for the Cowboys, but most of it came while Dallas was trying to play catch-up in the second half.

"They did a good job, I give the Redskins credit," Romo said. "They played hard-nosed football and won some one-on-one matchups, did a great job pressuring. We had a couple miscommunications as far as blockage schemes and we have to look at the film and get that corrected."

"We fought back when it was certainly too late," Dallas coach Wade Phillips said. "We had opportunities early in the game and we just couldn't take advantage of them. I thought they outplayed us. I thought they outplayed our defense."

Jason Witten and Patrick Crayton each had seven receptions for 90 and 87 yards, respectively, for Dallas. Terrell Owens, who burned the Redskins for four touchdowns in a game last season, also had seven catches for 71 yards and a score.

"They were really congesting the middle, played a lot of bump-and-runs, safety over top," Owens said. "A lot of that stuff just takes Tony off the read in my routes. You never want to lose, especially to a division opponent, but we're going to look at the film, assess what we did wrong and assess what we did right."

After former Cowboy kicker Shaun Suisham booted his fourth field goal of the game, a 29-yarder with 3:22 remaining to give the Redskins a 26-17 lead, Dallas got a late score on Romo's 11-yard TD pass to Miles Austin.

"It was just a route I just came up underneath, Tony found me and we just got in the end zone," said Austin, who finished with three catches for 45 yards. "We moved the ball well late in each half, but we just got to execute better."

The ensuing onside kick went off the hands of Cowboy receiver Sam Hurd and out of bounds, giving the ball to Washington and allowing Campbell to run out the clock.

"I just jumped trying to catch it behind me, just slipped through the hands, it's all mine," Hurd said. "Just didn't make the play. Got one play to make and didn't make it. It hurts the team, it hurts everybody. You never know, we could have drove down there and made a score and won the game."

Dallas tied the game, 17-17, on the first drive of the third quarter as Romo tossed a 10-yard TD strike to Owens. But Suisham kicked a pair of 33-yard field goals, giving the Redskins a 23-17 lead entering the fourth quarter.