|Date of game: 12/22/2013
Recap: Washington vs. Dallas
Landover, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - The Cowboys' obituary hasn't been written just yet.
Dallas rallied from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter and escaped FedEx Field with a season-saving 24-23 victory over the Washington Redskins after Tony Romo threw a touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray with 1:08 remaining.
The comeback was a reversal of the Cowboys' fate last week against Green Bay, a game that saw Dallas blow a 23-point halftime lead.
Romo, who threw two crucial interceptions in the fourth quarter in that loss, shook off the collapse and resurrected the Cowboys (8-7) with a 51-yard bomb to Terrance Williams on the eventual game-winning drive.
It didn't come easily, though, as Murray was knocked back for a 9-yard loss on 3rd-and-goal from the 1, and the Cowboys were down to their final play.
Romo stepped up in the pocket and found Murray alone near the right sideline at the 2-yard line. Murray took a hit at the goal line and spun into the end zone for the deciding score, setting up a winner-take-all regular season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles next week for the NFC East title.
"I felt like it was an elimination game for us," Romo said. "It was great to see us grind it out and make the plays that needed to be made."
Romo threw for 226 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while Murray carried the ball 22 times for 96 yards and another score.
Washington (3-12) squandered a chance to play spoiler against its division rival and dropped its seventh straight game. Pierre Garcon was Kirk Cousins' favorite target, bringing in 11 passes for 144 yards and a TD.
Cousins finished with 197 yards through the air and also threw an interception, while Alfred Morris chewed up 88 yards on the ground.
"I'm disappointed we couldn't get it done," Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said. "We had a number of opportunities."
Morris barreled in for a 4-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, and Kai Forbath knocked through a 47-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth to give the Redskins a 23-14 lead.
The Cowboys responded with a time-consuming march that nearly ended when they went offsides on 4th-and-1 from the Washington 35-yard line. Romo, though, connected with Cole Beasley for a 20-yard gain to keep the drive alive, and Dan Bailey made it a one-possession game with a 25-yard field goal.
Washington shed less than two minutes off the clock with its next possession, and Dallas took over at its own 13-yard line with 3:39 to play. Williams gave Dallas some breathing room with a 15-yard grab, then got behind the secondary and hauled in a critical 51-yard strike from Romo.
After Murray's go-ahead touchdown catch, Dallas' much-maligned defense limited Cousins to a short pass to Roy Helu and three consecutive incompletions to close out the much-needed win.
"We had a lot of circumstances to overcome today," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. "I was really proud of our football team on how we stayed focused."
Washington went three-and-out on the game's opening possession, and Micheal Spurlock, released by the Lions earlier this month and picked up by the Cowboys this week, returned the ensuing punt 62 yards. Spurlock was knocked out of bounds at the 3-yard line, and from there Murray took it in for an early Cowboys lead.
It was a battle for field position from then on in messy conditions.
Forbath hit from 36 and 22 yards out before Romo found Dez Bryant in the back of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown to give the Cowboys a 14-6 lead at halftime. Garcon's 8-yard TD catch in the third pulled Washington within 14-13.Game Notes
This is the third straight season the Cowboys are playing for the division
crown in Week 17. They lost to the Giants in 2011 and the Redskins last season
... With his 11th catch, Garcon broke Art Monk's franchise record with 107
catches in a single season ... The Redskins, who lost their final four home
games, will visit the Giants for their season finale next week.