ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22: Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins looks for an open receiver against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day at Cowboys Stadium on November 22, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
And we're off…
After heading down to the Jerry Dome on Thanksgiving Day and beating the Cowboys, the Redskins find themselves right in the thick of things in the NFC East. This makes Washington's fourth straight wins over Dallas but unlike the previous three, which were decided by three points or less, the 'Skins dominated for nearly the entire game.
For the second consecutive week, quarterback Robert Griffin III threw four touchdowns. And like the Eagles, the Cowboys helped pad RGIII's numbers by letting Redskins receivers run uncovered through the defense. Aldrick Robinson hauled in a 68-yarder early in the second quarter and two quarters later, Niles Paul was so wide open that he was actually able to roll into the end zone from the 3-yard line.
Washington took a 28-3 halftime lead and then held on for dear life as Dallas mounted a furious Tony Romo-led comeback. The Cowboys scored 28 points in the final half but a late Redskins drive that took 11 plays and 5:20 off the clock, and ended in a Kai Forbath 48-yarder, sealed the deal.
Griffin ended the day 20 of 28 for 311 yards with 4 TDs and 1 INT. As has been the case all season, he had everything to do with the outcome.
“It just felt like we were out there showing not only ourselves, but the Cowboys, and everybody, what we were capable of,” Griffin said via the Washington Post. “Everybody showed up today ready to go, even with the short week. This is what we have to do: Be ready to play. I couldn’t be more proud.”
And Shanahan, who has some experience with legit franchise quarterbacks from his time with John Elway in Denver, offered this: “He’s kind of like Cool Hand Luke. He just handles himself and goes about his business, works extremely hard to prepare for a game. … He focuses on his job and doesn’t seem to let anything bother him. That’s why he has the success he has, because he’s very disciplined, very determined.”
Griffin didn't do it alone, obviously. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon looked like this big-play self for the first time in over a month, hauling in five catches for 93 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown reception in which he outran 11 Dallas defenders to the end zone.
Then there was Robinson, who caught his second touchdown bomb in as many games (apparently, the Cowboys didn't take time to watch the Eagles game film because it looked a lot like what happened last week).
“RGIII gave me a great ball,” Robinson said via CSNWashington.com. “Once I saw where he threw it, I knew I had to put my burners on to the play the ball. I ran as fast as I could and got it.”
But it's onward and upward, as they say. The Redskins are now 5-6 and if the Giants lose to the Packers on Sunday night, New York will come to FedEx Field in Week 13 with a one-game lead on Washington. Certainly no one was having this conversation after the 'Skins lost at home to the Panthers. Now, the division is wide open.
“I was really proud of our football team,” Shanahan said. “They played extremely hard. It was a little exciting in the second half. We had to make some plays there on that last drive, played eight minutes, had to get a couple first downs. Really impressed with [Forbath] to come up with the big field goal there in the last couple minutes of the game. . . . But more importantly, it was a game we needed, and really pleased with our total effort.”