What's the difference between 8-8 and 9-7? For this particular Dallas Cowboys team, it's a lot more than just one game; it's the chance to make the playoffs and erase some recent history.
"We started our playoffs today for sure," said quarterback Tony Romo. "Today we felt like we were playing for everything. Next week will be the same thing, so we'll go do it again."
The Cowboys overcame a 9-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Washington 24-23. DeMarco Murray's 10-yard touchdown catch on fourth down — one play after losing nine yards for his team — proved to be the difference.
"I think we enjoy those opportunities to be in that situation," Romo said. "These last few years we've done really good when we get in that position, to go down and score.
"You just have to have that belief, and I think our football team does."
The final scoring drive went 87 yards, highlighted by a 51-yard reception from Terrence Williams. Romo finished with 226 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing one interception.
Murray would have had a 100-yard rushing game if not for that 9-yard loss; he finished with 96.
The Dallas defense has been called perhaps the worst in franchise history, but it played well in Washington, allowing only 297 total yards.
This victory gives the Cowboys a chance to win the NFC East, regardless of what Philadelphia does in its Sunday night game hosting the Bears.
But it's impossible to ignore the fact that this win also puts the Cowboys in position to repeat history. If they lose to Philadelphia next week, it would be the third year in a row they finish 8-8, and the third year in a row they lose the division title in the final game of the season.
"We understood the situation we were in," said head coach Jason Garrett. "It was important for us just to go to work and do everything we could to get the job done ... [We're] excited about the opportunity next week."
It's a big win for the Cowboys. Just how big depends totally on what they do next week against the Eagles.