AMERICAN FOOTBALL

Dallas Cowboys

Washington Redskins beat Dallas Cowboys to win NFC East title

Redskins back in business as the Seahawks, Vikings and 49ers also advance to the play-offs

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 January, 2013, 5:58am

With quarterback Robert Griffin III and fellow rookie Alfred Morris leading the way, the Washington Redskins beat Dallas 28-18 to capture the last NFL play-off berth.

In the final game of the regular season, Morris rushed for a career-best 200 yards and three touchdowns to help the Redskins claim the NFC East division crown in a must-win game against their bitter division rivals.

The victory was Washington's seventh straight, and their post-season berth was the reward for a remarkable turnaround since they opened the season with just three victories in nine games.

Morris finished the regular season with 1,613 rushing yards, surpassing the Redskins' single-season record of 1,516 set by Clinton Portis.

"My goal wasn't to break the record. My goal was to make the play-offs," Morris said.

"I couldn't have imagined to come in here in my rookie year and do what I've been able to do."

Griffin, still hampered by the lingering effects of a knee injury, completed just nine of 18 passes for 100 yards, but still rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo completed 20-of-37 passes for 218 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions as Dallas missed the play-offs for the third straight time.

Next week the Redskins will host the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the play-offs.

The Seahawks secured the NFC's fifth seed with a win over St Louis, while the NFC West crown went to division rivals San Francisco - who beat Arizona 27-13 and gained a first-round bye.

Green Bay were also trying for that bye, but fell short in Minneapolis, where Adrian Peterson narrowly missed the NFL's single-season rushing record but played a key role in a thrilling 37-34 Vikings win over the Packers.

Peterson rushed for 199 yards - nine fewer than he needed to break the record of 2,105 yards set by Eric Dickerson in 1984.

Peterson, a year removed from a career-threatening knee injury, said it was "bittersweet" to miss the record, but rejoiced in accomplishing the "ultimate goal" of reaching the play-offs.

Minnesota's victory spelled the end of Chicago's play-off hopes, after the Bears' win had extinguished the slim chances of reigning Super Bowl champions the New York Giants.

The Giants did what they could, routing Philadelphia 42-7. Shortly after they walked off the field, Chicago knocked them out with a 26-24 victory over Detroit - then the Bears saw their hopes end with the Vikings' win.

 


PLAY-OFFS SCHEDULE

(Hong Kong times)
JANUARY 6
AFC wildcard game 
Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) at Houston Texans (12-4), 5.30am
NFC wildcard game Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at Green Bay Packers (11-5), 9am

JANUARY 7
AFC wildcard game 
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at Baltimore Ravens (10-6), 2am
NFC wildcard game Seattle Seahawks (11-5) at Washington Redskins (10-6), 5.30am

JANUARY 13
AFC divisional game Wildcard game winners at Denver Broncos (13-3), 5.30am
NFC division game Wildcard game winner at San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1), 9am

JANUARY 14
NFC divisional game
Wild-card game winners at Atlanta Falcons (13-3), 2am
AFC divisional game Wild-card game winners at New England Patriots (12-4), 5.30am

JANUARY 21
AFC championship game
TBC
NFC championship game TBC

FEBRUARY 4
Super Bowl, New Orleans
AFC champions v NFC champions, 2.30am