The Washington Redskins (7-7) got their first winning streak of the year Saturday afternoon with a win against the Buffalo Bills (6-8), 35-25.
And then, in a game that had the Redskins snarking on Twitter, their division rivals in Philadelphia lost to the Arizona Cardinals -- leaving the Redskins on top of the NFC East and setting up a possibly decisive Redskins-Eagles matchup on the day after Christmas.
Sunday afternoon, 'Skins quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns – two to tight end Jordan Reed, one each to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. He also ran for a touchdown.
Jackson had six catches for 153 yards and Reed had seven catches for 84 yards.
Cousins also set a team record with this sixth game of more than 300 yards passing.
The defense held Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor to only 235 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor was sacked five times during the game, and he ran for 79 yards.
Bills running back Mike Gillislee, replacing LeSean McCoy, who was injured and did not return, had a 60 yard touchdown run.
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The Redskins control their own playoff destiny when they face the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys in the next two weeks. A win over the Eagles clinches the division, a playoff spot and a home game.
A loss Saturday doesn't necessarily kick the 'Skins out of the preseason, but their road to the playoffs would get a lot more bumpy. The Bills are out of playoff contention with the loss.
Here's how the game played out:
After a little confusion on the opening kickoff, the Redskins started deep in their own territory.
While the running game seemed to be sluggish, the passing game moved the team early with strikes to Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson fullback Darrel Young, and wide receiver Ryan Grant.
Running back Alfred Morris finally broke through some tackles to gain nine and get them the 20. A swing pass catch and run by Reed got the offense inside the 5.
The next play, Kirk Cousins threw a bit of a jump ball to Reed, who wrestled it away from a Bills defender for the score.
Redskins 7, Bills 0
Running back LeSean McCoy and quarterback Tyrod Taylor moved the ball well on the ground early in the drive. A third and long conversion got the Bills into Redskins territory.
Taylor was flushed out a couple of times, but his athletic ability was able to extend the play and get positive yards. However, a couple of incompletions stalled the drive.
A poor punt, 17 yards, gave the Redskins the ball on the 29.
Short passes by Cousins helped move the offense down the field as the first quarter ended. It appeared they would stall after crossing the 50 yard line, but they decided to go for it.
Helped out by a fourth down penalty by the Bills, Cousins found Jackson for 27 yards, down to the 5 yard line. The Bills defense stuffed a Matt Jones run, but Cousins decided to do it himself two plays later, getting into the end zone on a 13 yard touchdown run.
It is Cousins' fifth rushing touchdown of the season.
Redskins 14, Bills 0
The Bills offense couldn't find an answer to an aggressive Redskins defense. Buffalo was forced to punt after three plays, giving the ball back to the Washington on their own 44 yard line.
Cousins wasted no time, connecting with Reed for 24 yards, getting them into Bills territory. A power run by Alfred Morris and an out pattern by Pierre Garcon put the offense in the red zone.
Cousins found his favorite target Reed on a skinny post pattern and the Redskins get three touchdowns on three drives to open up the game in the second quarter.
Redskins 21, Bills 0
The Bills were having problems finding any positives, fumbling the ensuing kickoff and pinning themselves deep in their own side of the field.
However, an incomplete pass, a stuffed run and a sack had the Bills punting out of their own end zone. But they got a break after Jamison Crowder muffed the punt and the Bills offense got back on the field.
After a first down designed scramble by Taylor, a short run by McCoy and two dropped passes brought up fourth down. Taylor converted for the first and then scrambled for another first down.
Taylor was flushed out of the pocket, but he was able to convert for positive yards. The Bills brought in their other quarterback EJ Manuel, who also scrambled to get them inside the 5 yard line.
Showing a college option set, Taylor kept it, getting down to the 1 yard line. Two inside runs by McCoy were stuffed by a strong push from the Redskins defense. Going for it on fourth down, Taylor tried to hit Watkins on a fade, but the ball was overthrown.
The Redskins offense hit the field with 1:34 to go in the half.
It looked like the offense would just try and get out of the shadow of their own end zone. Morris found a seam on his second run, speeding off for 48 yards and getting the team into Bills territory with 24 second to go.
A catch across the middle by Jones set up a spike play, but Garcon didn’t get back to the line of scrimmage in time. The ensuing penalty ran out the clock for the half.
Redskins 21, Bills 0 - halftime
The Bills received the second-half kickoff, having deferred the decision after winning the coin toss.
McCoy was featured on the first two plays of the drive with a run and pass reception. After the tackle on the pass catch, he flung the ball in the air and grabbed his knee in obvious pain. He was able to jog off the field under his own power and still appeared in pain on the sidelines.
Mike Gillislee took McCoy’s place for two carries for 12 yards. Taylor had lots of time on the next play to find a crossing Watkins for 26 yards.
Karlos Williams took a turn in the backfield, gaining 18 yards on the next two rushes.
An incomplete pass into the end zone brought up third down and Manuel came into the game, trying to run a read option. It was stopped short, bringing up fourth down.
The Bills settled for a 32 yard field goal, cutting into the Redskins lead.
Redskins 21, Bills 3
Cousins wasted no time putting more points on the board, connecting with Jackson on a long pass. Jackson made a nifty move after the catch and ran the way in for the 77 yard touchdown play.
Redskins 28, Bills 3
The Bills offense needed to respond and they did. After an incomplete pass deep down field, Gillislee found a gap and open field on the fifth play of the drive to scamper 60 yards for the score.
Redskins 21, Bills 10
The Redskins offense seemed sputter a bit, forced to punt for the first time in the game after five plays. Cousins found Crowder for a short gain, but missed on passes to Jones and Jackson.
They punted the ball away to the Bills, who, after a penalty on the punt, started their drive on their own 15 yard line.
A 37 yard pass catch and run, which was challenged and stood as called, set up Taylor to throw a bomb to Watkins for 47 yards and a score. It only took two plays for the Bills to get 85 yards and draw closer to the Redskins.
Redskins 28, Bills 17
The offense tried to strike quickly, but Cousins pass to Jackson was just overthrown. A short pass to Crowder set up a third and short, which Morris converted on a straight ahead plunge into the line.
A sack pushed back the offense, setting up a second and 21. A short pass to Reed got them back to the original line of scrimmage, setting up another third down.
A penalty pushed them back for a long conversion, but Cousins found Garcon for 20 yards across the middle for a first down as the third quarter ended.
As the fourth quarter opened up, two short Morris runs set up another third down. Under intense pressure, Cousins was able to find Crowder for a 12 yard gain and another first down.
A short run by Jones was aided by a personal foul face mask penalty, taking the ball to the 12 yard line. A second run by Jones was also helped by a penalty, moving the ball to the 5 yard line.
During the drive, the team announced that Cousins set a team record with his sixth game of the season of more than 300 yards passing.
As if to punctuate the record, Cousins found Garcon on the next play for a short touchdown. It was Cousins’ fourth touchdown pass of the day.
Redskins 35, Bills 17
Taylor tried to get the Bills going, hitting on his first pass but off target on the next one. A holding penalty brought up a second and long, and a screen pass only gained a yard on the next play.
A third down completion came up seven yards short, but they decided to go for it. The Redskins came on the blitz, hitting Taylor as he threw an incomplete pass.
The Redskins took over on downs on their own 44 yard line.
Looking to chew up some time off the clock, Morris ran the ball on the first two plays of the drive. Jones ran the ball on the third play, but couldn’t get the first down.
The Redskins punted the ball for only the second time, pinning the Bills on the 10 yard line.
Starting 90 yards away from the end zone and just over 6 minutes to go in the game, the Bills tried to work a hurry up offense. A seven yard run, an incomplete pass, and the fifth sack of the game by the defense forced the Bills to punt again from their end zone.
Three short runs by the Redskins gave the ball back to the Bills, who moved down the field as the Redskins played a prevent defense to stop a quick score. At the 2 minute warning, Taylor passed and ran to get the ball down to the 24 yard line.
Taylor found Watkins on a nice pass and catch in the end zone for the score. After a two-point conversion, the Bills attempted an onside kick.
Redskins 35, Bills 25
Garcon grabbed the kickoff, and the team ran out the clock.