Energized by a raucous and record-setting FedExField crowd, the Redskins dominated the Dallas Cowboys in every facet of Sunday's game, winning 35-7 and enhancing their playoff hopes in the process.
Quarterback Mark Brunell threw four touchdown passes, including three to H-back Chris Cooley, to build a commanding lead in the first half. Clinton Portis rushed for 112 yards on 23 carries, the seventh time this season he has surpassed the 100-yard mark. Cooley finished with a team-high six catches for 71 yards to go along with his career-best three touchdowns.
On defense, the Redskins stuffed the Cowboys' ground game, allowing the front seven to tee off on quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who was sacked seven times. Phillip Daniels had a career-high four sacks, tying a team record for most sacks in a game.
Strong coverage by Shawn Springs and Walt Harris, both of whom entered the game less than 100 percent healthy, gave the Redskins' defense plenty of time to pressure Bledsoe. Linebacker Marcus Washington added two sacks, an interception and a forced fumble, and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin logged his first career interception to help set up the Redskins' first score of the game.
The Redskins got on the scoreboard early in the first quarter after the defense forced a turnover on the Cowboys' first offensive play.
Bledsoe dropped back to pass and threw a slant to tight end Jason Witten. Daniels leaped high in the air and tipped the pass. The ball fell into the eager hands of Griffin, who recorded his first career interception on the play.
The Redskins took over at the Cowboys' 21-yard line. Three plays later, Brunell found Cooley open in the left corner of the end zone. Cooley had to dive to his left to haul in the 8-yard pass and he held on as he tumbled to the ground for the touchdown.
The Cowboys responded with a drive of their own. Bledsoe drove the offense down the field by converting key third-down passes to wide receivers Keyshawn Johnson and Patrick Crayton.
The Redskins' defense stiffened in the red zone. Washington sacked Bledsoe for a 4-yard loss and then Bledsoe's third-down pass to Johnson fell incomplete. Billy Cundiff's 38-yard field goal was wide right, and the Redskins held on to their 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Brunell-to-Santana Moss combination, which was so successful in the Week 2 matchup between the Redskins and Cowboys, struck again. Brunell threw a 42-yard pass to Moss, who dove past cornerback Aaron Glenn for the catch at the Cowboys' 1-yard line.
Two plays later, Brunell found Cooley coming across the back of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 lead.
Midway through the second quarter, the Redskins mounted another scoring drive. After Dallas punter Mat McBriar lofted a 24-yard punt from deep in his own territory, Brunell quickly threw a wide receiver screen to Moss. The 5-10, 198-pound Moss found a seam in the Cowboys' defense and made his way along the right sideline to the Cowboys' 3-yard line.
On the next play, Brunell tossed a 3-yard pass in the flat to Mike Sellers for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
In the final minute of the first half, Washington picked off a Bledsoe pass and returned it to the Dallas 38-yard line. The Redskins used another screen, this time to Cooley, to score again.
Cooley broke loose down the right sideline and broke two tackles to waltz into the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown with 12 seconds left in the half, giving the Redskins a commanding 28-0 lead at the mid-point of the game.
On the first play of the second half, the Redskins continued their dominance when Daniels sacked Bledsoe for a 6-yard loss. One play later, Washington came in and jarred the ball loose from Bledsoe's hands, forcing a fumble. Daniels pounced, giving the Redskins' offense the ball at the Cowboys' 20-yard line.
Ladell Betts later scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to build the Redskins' lead to 35-0.
The Cowboys avoided a shutout with a fourth-quarter touchdown, but no matter. The Redskins had improved their playoff prospects significantly with the impressive win, while endangering Dallas's chances of making the postseason.
With two games to play, the Redskins are in sole possession of second place in the NFC East with an 8-6 record, two games behind the division-leading New York Giants. The Redskins will play the Giants next Sunday at FedExField.