Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/31/12
LANDOVER, Md. -- And the rookies shall lead them. Usual second banana Alfred Morris ran for three touchdowns and 200 yards, and quarterback Robert Griffin III rushed for another score as the Washington Redskins captured the NFC East championship with a 28-18 victory over the archrival Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night at raucous FedEx Field. Washington (10-6) won its seventh consecutive game to capture its first division title in 13 years. The Redskins will play host to the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday in their first playoff game since 2007 and their first home postseason contest in 13 years. "We went out and did what we said we were gonna do," Griffin said. "We won seven straight and the division. The last time the Redskins were NFC East champs was in 1999. We came in and did it in one year. The sky's the limit." While the Cowboys limited Griffin to a career-worst 66.9 passer rating -- he completed nine of 18 passes for 100 yards -- they had no answers for Morris. "They run the football well," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. "We didn't do enough to slow them down. They did a really good job." Griffin, the second overall pick in the 2012 draft, ran six times for 63 yards as the Redskins broke the 1983 NFC champions' team rushing record with 2,709 yards. Morris, a sixth-round pick from Florida Atlantic, ran for 47 yards on nine carries in the first quarter (including a 17-yard touchdown), 45 yards on four attempts in the second quarter, 49 on eight in the third and 59 on nine in the fourth (including scores of 32 yards and 1 yard). "Whenever you have a running back like Alfred, you've gotta keep riding him," Griffin said. "He makes runs that are blocked for 3 yards (into) 7-yard gains. He's out there running over guys. And the offensive line stepped up and gave him some big holes." Only four backs in the Redskins' 81 seasons ever ran for more yards in a game than Morris did against the Cowboys. And no back ever gained more in a season than the 5-foot-10, 218-pound Pensacola, Fla., native, whose 1,613 yards surpassed the 1,516 that Clinton Portis amassed in 2005. Afterward, Portis raved about Morris, saying he's glad the rookie broke his record. Tight end Chris Cooley, who blocked for both, called Morris a star. "I'll never be a star," said Morris, who drives a 1991 Mazda. "Other people may think I'm a star, but I'm just Alfred. I've been the same since way back when, and I'm not gonna change. I couldn't change even if I tried. Tonight was just my night." The night didn't go Dallas' way, following a recent trend in season-ending games. The Cowboys lost for the third time in five years in a winner-take-all battle for the NFC East crown in Week 17. "It's an empty feeling in your stomach," said All-Pro tight end Jason Witten, who has been part of just one playoff victory during his 10 seasons with the Cowboys. "You feel like you're right there, and you can't seem to get over the hump." The game was tied 7-7 midway through the third quarter when Morris carried the ball on five consecutive plays to move Washington from its 15-yard-line to the Dallas 38. Griffin then completed two passes to receiver Pierre Garcon for 28 yards before the quarterback scooted inside the left pylon for a 10-yard touchdown that put the Redskins on top 14-7 with 3:10 left in the quarter. The Cowboys drove from their 26 to the Washington 35 but had to settle for Dan Bailey's 48-yard field goal 51 seconds into the fourth quarter. Morris finished the next series with a 32-yard touchdown burst, the biggest run of his 33-carry night to extend the lead to 21-10. Dwayne Harris' 39-yard punt return and Sav Rocca's facemask penalty gave Dallas the ball on the Washington 16, and Tony Romo found receiver Kevin Ogletree for a 10-yard touchdown. Romo's two-point-conversion pass to Harris made it 21-18 with 5:50 left. Washington linebacker Rob Jackson intercepted a Romo pass at the Dallas 27 with three minutes remaining to set up Morris' third touchdown and seal Washington's renaissance. Romo went 20-for-37 for 218 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He kept playing despite breaking a rib during the first quarter. NOTES: Witten's first catch made him the third tight end with 800 in his career, joining Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez and Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe. ... Redskins kicker Kai Forbath's NFL record streak of consecutive field goals to start a career ended at 17 when his 37-yard attempt hit the right upright in the first quarter. ... The Cowboys lost starting receivers Miles Austin (ankle) and Dez Bryant (back) for much of the game. ... Washington rookie Josh LeRibeus replaced left guard Kory Lichtensteiger (ankle) during the third quarter.
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