Two big returns by Dwayne Harris put the Dallas Cowboys in position to beat the Washington Redskins Sunday night at AT&T Stadium, but two big turnovers by Robert Griffin III prevented Washington from coming back in a 31-16 loss.
Washington got a break from elite-caliber quarterbacks for two consecutive weeks thanks to last week's bye and week four's match-up against Matt Flynn of the Oakland Raiders the previous week.
It was time to put the hard hats back on playing against a Cowboys team coming off of a game in which Tony Romo set franchise-highs with 506 yards passing and five touchdowns against the Denver Broncos.
Romo and the Cowboys went straight to work against Washington's defense on the opening drive of the game going 80 yards in 10 plays capped by a four-yard touchdown run up the middle by DeMarco Murray.
Griffin was not to be out-done in the first quarter however, coming out on the next possession with the type of pep in his step that could only come from an extra week of rest.
He showed explosiveness during that drive on two runs totaling 22 yards, but the second of the two was a seven-yard draw that came two yards short of a touchdown forcing Washington to settle for a field goal.
Griffin finished the night with 77 yards rushing on nine carries.
The rest of the first half was a tug-of-war battle between the defenses until Harris took over on special teams returning a Sav Rocca punt 86 yards for a touchdown.
Up 14-9 at the start of the third quarter, following a Washington field goal, Harris struck again with a 90-yard kickoff return setting up a 15-yard touchdown pass from Romo to Terrance Williams.
Washington fought back and Alfred Morris closed the gap to 21-16 with a career-long touchdown run of 45 yards but that would be the last score for Washington.
Down 24-16 and trying to orchestrate a game-tying drive, Griffin was stripped of the football on his own four-yard line by Kyle Wilber who also recovered it.
Two plays later Joseph Randle punched the ball into the end zone from a yard out to give Dallas a nice cushion with barely under nine minutes left to play.
On Washington's ensuing drive, Griffin led the team down the field for 63 yards in six plays taking nearly four minutes off of the clock only to throw an interception in the end zone to seal their fate.
Santana Moss tripped on the play allowing Orlando Scandrick to intercept the pass uncontested.
Griffin went 19-of-39 for 246 yards and one interception on the night as his receivers had a hard time getting open- and when they did he didn't always put the ball where it needed to be.
Also, his offensive line struggled to keep him protected against a banged-up Dallas defense that played without DeMarcus Ware for much of the game yet recorded three sacks.
Offensively, Dallas totaled just 213 yards which was good enough to be Washington's best defensive effort to date.
Romo threw for 170 yards with a touchdown and interception on 18-of-30 passing.