Cowboys Top Redskins, 24-23, Spoil London Fletcher's Home Finale

WI Web Staff | 12/22/2013, 5:30 p.m.
Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher waves to fans at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., on Sunday as he exits the field after the team's 24-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Washington's last home game of the season. Fletcher, a 16-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowler, is retiring after the season. (Courtesy of the Redskins' Instagram page)

For the second straight year, the Dallas Cowboys will take part in a winer-take-all showdown for the NFC East crown. This year, though, the Washington Redskins won't be joining them.

The Cowboys overcame two key second-half turnovers to defeat Washington, 24-23, at FedEx Field on Sunday, as Tony Romo's last-minute touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray capped a fourth-quarter rally from a 9-point hole.

Dallas (8-7), which has missed the playoffs in the past three seasons, will host the Philadelphia Eagles next week to decide the division winner.

The game will be the fifth time in the past six seasons the Cowboys have controlled their own playoff destiny in the final game of the regular season. They ultimately lost three of those games, including last year to the Redskins.

At the other end of the spectrum, the defending division champion Redskins are playing out the string in a season that started badly and ended worse. Their second one-point loss in as many weeks was the team's seventh straight defeat — a stark contrast to last year when they went on a seven-game win streak at season's end to secure a playoff spot.

One of the few bright spots for Washington (3-12) on Sunday was Pierre Garcon, who had 11 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. He eclipsed the team's single-season franchise record for receptions, previously held by Art Monk.

Coach Mike Shanahan, whose job security for next season is at the center of the team's turmoil, set a more dubious personal benchmark, as the loss guaranteed him the worst record of his 20-year career.

The loss also spoiled the final home game for four-time Pro Bowl linebacker London Fletcher, who is set to retire after next Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Fletcher, a 16-year veteran who has never missed a contest, has played in 255 straight games, including an NFL record for consecutive starts by a linebacker with 213.