Two years and 30 games into his return, Joe Gibbs finally got a complete victory.
Yesterday, in must-win No. 3 for the Washington Redskins, Gibbs saw his offense score 21 points off turnovers, his defense post seven sacks and his special teams win the battle for field position.
The result — Redskins 35, Cowboys 7 — was Washington’s largest margin of victory in the storied rivalry against Dallas and kept its postseason hopes alive.
“It was one of those nights you dream about,” Gibbs said. “The last two years, I can’t remember coming close to this. It was great preparation on both sides and special teams, and it was one of those nights where things went our way.”
If a dominating win over the Redskins’ biggest rivals wasn’t enough, there was even better news: With Atlanta’s loss at Chicago last night, the Falcons fell into a tie with the Redskins, Dallas and Minnesota for the final wild card spot (all at 8-6). The Redskins hold the tiebreaker because of their 8-2 NFC record.
The Redskins trail the New York Giants by two games in the NFC East, and the teams play Saturday.
“Dallas said it was a fluke that we beat them [14-13 in Week 2], and we came out with the mindset of proving them wrong,” H-back Mike Sellers said. “I think we proved our point.”
The Redskins swept Dallas for the first time since 1995. The Cowboys entered the season having won 14 of the past 15 meetings.
“We just couldn’t do anything well,” Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. “We lost our poise and played poorly. We were awful.”
The Redskins were anything but awful, and several individuals had career days:
A week after throwing three first-half interceptions against Arizona, Mark Brunell tied his career high with four touchdown passes (all in the first half), becoming the first Redskins quarterback to do so since Brad Johnson six years ago.
Chris Cooley, without a multi-touchdown game in his two-year career, caught three touchdown passes — 8, 2 and 30 yards — in the first half as the Redskins built a 28-0 lead.
“Coming in, it was the biggest game I had ever played in, and to play like I did feels great,” he said. “I’ll be on a high all week.”
Phillip Daniels, who entered with three sacks in 18 games with the Redskins, set a personal high and tied a team record with four sacks. The Redskins posted a season-high seven sacks, giving them 15 in their last four games.
“They max-protected a whole lot when we played them the last time, and it was 100 degrees,” Daniels said. “Today was our weather [44 degrees]. They stayed pretty honest for the most part, and we were able to get there.”