LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Tony Romo threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray on fourth down with 1:08 remaining Sunday, giving the Dallas Cowboys a 24-23 win over the Washington Redskins and setting up a winner-take-all regular season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles next week for the NFC East title.
After a one-point, meltdown loss to the Green Bay Packers the previous week, the Cowboys nearly pulled a repeat — blowing a second-half lead after committing turnovers on back-to-back drives.
But Romo recovered and rallied the Cowboys from a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit. He hit Murray after a long scramble as Dallas snapped a two-game skid — as well as a four-game losing streak in the month of December.
The Cowboys (8-7) host the Eagles next week for the division crown. The Redskins (3-12) have lost seven straight.
WFAA's Joe Trahan has a quarter-by-quarter summary of the Cowboys' crucial showdown with the Washington Redskins from FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
The newest Cowboys make a sudden impact, and the Cowboys lad Washington 7-0 after the first quarter of their NFC East tilt at FedEx Field.
On the first punt of the game, Micheal Spurlock, who the Cowboys signed this week, returned the ball 62 yards to the Redskins' 3 yard line. Danny McCray and Jeff Heath provided nice blocks to help spring Spurlock on the play.
DeMarco Murray took it from there, powering into the end zone from three yards out to put the Cowboys on top 7-0 early in the opening quarter.
The Redskins started a drive at the Dallas 37 late in the period and settled for a Kai Forbath field goal to make it 7-3 after the first stanza.
The Cowboys added to their lead on a fantastic play by quarterback Tony Romo and receiver Dez Bryant and led Washington 14-6 with one half to go at FedEx Field.
On third down from the 14 yard line, Romo spun and eluded an unblocked rusher and then reset his feet to find Bryant in the back of the end zone. Bryant adjusted his route to find some open space and then made a spectacular catch to hold on to the football.
The play capped a 93-yard drive that was jump-started by a 43-yard DeMarco Murray cutback run that got the Cowboys out of a hole and gave them a first down at the 50 yard line.
The Cowboys' defense came up with a big play near the end of the half. The Redskins were deep in Dallas territory, but quarterback Kirk Cousins threw behind Santana Moss. Moss tipped it, and Cowboys safety Jeff Heath was there for the interception, ending the threat and letting the Cowboys take an 8-point lead into the locker room.
The Cowboys went into self-destruct mode, turning over the ball twice in the third period, and letting the Redskins take the lead 20-14 after three quarters at FedEx Field.
On the second Dallas possession of the half, Tony Romo threw an interception on an attempt to Dez Bryant. Bryant slipped on the play, but he appeared to be covered by DeAngelo Hall, who made the pick.
The Redskins capped off the ensuing drive with four straight Alfred Morris runs, the last of which was a four-yard touchdown gallop that put the Redskins up 20-14.
On the Cowboys' first possession of the third quarter, Tony Romo threw to fullback Tyler Clutts on what was supposed to be a safety valve pass; it was anything but. Clutts fumbled and the Redskins took over deep in Cowboys territory.
Washington cashed it in seven plays later when Kirk Cousins hit Pierre Garcon in front of Brandon Carr for an eight-yard touchdown on third down.