LANDOVER, Md. - Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris needed only 4 months to put the Washington Redskins in a place they haven't been this millennium - on top of the NFC East.
Led by a pair of rookies serenaded loudly and lovingly as "R-G-3!" and "Al-fred Mor-ris!," the Redskins claimed their first division title since 1999, beating the archrival Dallas Cowboys Sunday night, 28-18, in a winner-take-all finale to end the NFL's regular season.
First-round pick Griffin ran for 63 yards and a touchdown, and Morris - the out-of-nowhere sixth-rounder from Florida Atlantic - ran for 200 and three scores. He set the franchise single-season rushing record for the Redskins (10-6), who revived the season behind their quarterback's talent and leadership to win seven straight after their bye week. They are the first NFL team to rally from 3-6 to make the playoffs since the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1996.
Washington will host the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday, the Redskins' third consecutive playoff game against the Seahawks. They lost at Seattle in 2005 and 2007.
The Cowboys (8-8), meanwhile, will miss the playoffs for the third straight season, having stumbled in a make-or-break end-of-regular-season game for the third time in 5 years.
Tony Romo, who had a 55.9 passer rating, threw three interceptions - matching his total from the last eight games combined. A poor throw was picked off by Rob Jackson when the Cowboys had a chance to drive for a winning score in the final minutes.
Romo almost became the first Dallas quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards in a season, but his career is instead further tainted by post-Christmas disappointments. He also had Week 17 losses to the Eagles (44-6) in 2008 and the New York Giants (31-14) last year, as well as his 1-3 record in playoff games.
Morris finished with 1,613 yards, topping Clinton Portis' 1,516 in 2005. He was especially dominant in the Redskins' go-ahead drive in the third quarter, when six plays were runs by Morris and the other three involved fake handoffs to him. The touchdown came when Griffin faked to Morris - one of several times linebacker DeMarcus Ware was totally fooled by deception in the backfield - and ran 10 yards around the left end. It put Washington ahead, 14-7, in the third quarter.
The Cowboys answered with a field goal early in the fourth, but Morris' 32-yard scamper gave the Redskins a 21-10 cushion with 10:32 to play.
Trying to play catch-up, Dallas pulled within three on a 10-yard pass to Kevin Ogletree and a two-point conversion with 5:50 to play. But Morris' third touchdown, a 1-yard run with 1:09 left after Romo's third interception, sealed the win.