Jim Zorn will go down in history as the only Washington Redskins coach with a perfect regular-season record at Texas Stadium.
Better yet, the Redskins are going into October as a legitimate contender in the NFC East.
Jason Campbell threw two touchdown passes and Clinton Portis ran for 121 yards, leading Washington to a 26-24 victory Sunday that gave the Dallas Cowboys their first loss and made the toughest division in the NFL even more interesting.
The Redskins came in with consecutive wins since a lousy performance in the opener, but there were still questions about how good they were. Going on the road to beat one of the most talented teams in football certainly improves their perception. For now, at least, Washington has turned the NFC East into a four-team race.
"It feels good watching our players take these strides," Zorn said. "The football team believes in what we're doing and that feels good."
A few weeks ago, there was doubt whether Zorn was the right guy to replace Joe Gibbs. Now, he's off to a great start, including being 1-0 against Washington's biggest rival and ending a 1-for-12 skid at Texas Stadium. With Dallas moving to a new stadium next season, the only way he'll coach here again is if it's in the playoffs.
"I've always said this is going to be a process," he said. "We have to maintain our composure after this win, too. We're not going to the Super Bowl next week."
The Cowboys of course weren't either if they had won, but with a soft October schedule, fans saw this as a gateway to an 8-0 start and an early November showdown with the New York Giants. Now, Dallas has to fix a running game held to 44 yards, a passing game that worked hard to get big plays out of Terrell Owens and a defense that had too many players on the field during a critical play midway through the fourth quarter.
"The reality of it is, you have the opportunity to go 16-0 every year in the regular season, but that's not realistic," said quarterback Tony Romo, 1-3 against Washington and 22-6 against everyone else. "We're a confident bunch. I think we'll come back next week with a lot to prove."
Romo was 28 of 47 for 300 yards with three touchdowns, but wasn't able to move Dallas (3-1) as well as the stats suggest. Two of his best drives came in 2-minute drills, with the second - an eight-play, 82-yard march that ended with an 11-yard touchdown to Miles Austin - giving the Cowboys a chance for a stirring rally.
A field goal away from the lead, Dallas went for an onside kick with 1:42 left. The ball came up high and catchable for receiver Sam Hurd but he wasn't able to hold it, losing the ball out of bounds. The Cowboys were out of timeouts, so the game was effectively over, causing team owner Jerry Jones to grimace on the sideline; wherever Redskins owner Dan Snyder was, he was certainly celebrating.
"Everybody has to look at the Redskins in a different light now," running back Ladell Betts said. "This is a great team. We can beat anybody. We can play with anybody. We proved that right now."
Campbell was 20 of 31 for 231 yards, Santana Moss caught eight passes for 145 yards and the Redskins made it four straight games without a turnover on offense. Shaun Suisham was 4-for-4 on field goals, none longer than 33 yards.
Washington's defense held what had been the NFL's most-explosive offense to its fewest yards and points of the season.
Marion Barber ran for only 26 yards on eight carries and Owens had seven catches for 71 yards, but none longer than 18. He did have a 10-yard touchdown catch that tied it at 17 early in the third quarter.
"It's no secret, when I get involved, we move the chains. When I don't, we're more stagnant in our offense," Owens said.
Washington01736-26Dallas7377-24 First Quarter
Dal-Witten 21 pass from Romo (Folk kick), :30.
Was-Thrash 3 pass from J.Campbell (Suisham kick), 10:25.
Was-Randle El 2 pass from J.Campbell (Suisham kick), 5:27.
Was-FG Suisham 20, 1:53.
Dal-FG Folk 36, :00.
Dal-Owens 10 pass from Romo (Folk kick), 12:26.
Was-FG Suisham 33, 7:31.
Was-FG Suisham 33, 10:48.
Was-FG Suisham 29, 3:22.
Dal-Austin 11 pass from Romo (Folk kick), 1:42.
WasDalFirst downs2221Total Net Yards381344Rushes-yards37-16111-44Passing220300Punt Returns4-413-14Kickoff Returns3-716-87Interceptions Ret.1-30-0Comp-Att-Int20-31-028-47-1Sacked-Yards Lost2-110-0Punts4-46.36-49.2Fumbles-Lost0-01-0Penalties-Yards5-303-15Time of Possession38:0921:51 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING-Washington, Portis 21-121, Betts 11-32, Randle El 1-5, J.Campbell 4-3. Dallas, Barber 8-26, Owens 2-11, Romo 1-7.
PASSING-Washington, J.Campbell 20-31-0-231. Dallas, Romo 28-47-1-300.
RECEIVING-Washington, Moss 8-145, Randle El 4-36, Cooley 4-28, Portis 2-14, Thrash 2-8. Dallas, Witten 7-90, Crayton 7-87, Owens 7-71, Austin 3-45, Barber 2-11, Bennett 1-0, Curtis 1-(minus 4).