Cowboys present final hurdle to division title for Redskins

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The Redskins recognize the possibility of such disappointment and remain concentrated on avoiding it and continuing this magical run.

“That’s why I think you saw a locker room that was pretty under control,” Shanahan said, referring to the postgame atmosphere in Philadelphia. “They know we haven’t reached our goals yet, but we’re doing the things you need to do to get there.”

They’re so close, but the final hurdle is great. The Redskins beat Dallas 38-31 on Thanksgiving after the Cowboys scored 28 points in the second half. Starting running back DeMarco Murray and nose tackle Jay Ratliff did not play in that game because of injuries. Murray is expected to play in Sunday’s rematch; Ratliff’s status is undetermined.

And there’s the matter of containing Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. He had 145 yards and two touchdowns against Washington on Thanksgiving, and he had 224 yards and two scores against New Orleans on Sunday.

“They have an excellent offensive football team,” Shanahan said. “When you take a look at a team that throws for that many yards, you’ve got to take your hat off to them and the way they came back [against us].”

And so players will return to work Wednesday with knowledge and experience from their first game against Dallas, their adverse first half of the season and the momentum from this special run, and channel it all toward being crowned division champions.

“This is what we’ve been working for,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “We knew if we took care of our business, we could put ourselves in good position to not only make the playoffs but win the East. This is what we want, and we’re excited for next week.”

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