Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys head back to work, won’t rest starters at Redskins

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and coach Jason Garrett helped the Cowboys claim their first NFC East title since 2009.
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and coach Jason Garrett helped the Cowboys claim their first NFC East title since 2009. S-T

After the NFC East champion hats were handed out Sunday, Jason Garrett gathered his team in the middle of the locker room. He encouraged the Dallas Cowboys players to enjoy the fruits of their labor until midnight.

Then, they were supposed to give away the hat to a loved one.

In a postgame celebration video released by the Cowboys, Garrett holds up a championship hat and says, “As good as this is, I think our sights are set a little higher than this. ... We’ve got work to do.”

The Cowboys took a picture to remember the moment. Now, it’s back to work.

Their dominating 42-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday gave the Cowboys their first postseason berth since 2009. Only six players remain from five years ago.

“I think guys were excited, and rightfully so,” Garrett said Monday. “It’s a long journey to get to this point. Your first goal is to win the division, and we started this thing a long, long time ago — off-season programs and OTAs, minicamps, training camp and traveling all over the world playing football games.

“... I think guys appreciated how we played yesterday to capture this thing. I think they had great emotion, real positive emotion afterward. It felt very much like a team, and that’s a positive thing. We gather that together, and say that was a really good moment for our team. Now, we put it aside and get ready for the next challenge.”

The Cowboys’ game against the Washington Redskins on Sunday stands virtually meaningless as far as postseason implications, including seeding. They most likely will earn the No. 3 seed with a home game the weekend of Jan. 3-4 against the loser of the Lions-Packers showdown.

The Cowboys, regardless whether they win Sunday, can earn a first-round bye with losses by both the Seahawks and Cardinals. Seattle hosts St. Louis, while Arizona travels to San Francisco.

Nonetheless, Garrett insists he will play his healthy starters Sunday. The Cowboys want to continue the momentum they’ve established the past three weeks in outscoring Chicago, Philadelphia and Indianapolis 121-62.

“Our football team — we need to play,” Garrett said. “We need to go play and play well.

“It starts with practice. It starts with our preparation, and then when the game starts go play as well as you can play.”

The Cowboys have won five of their past six games, and with a win Sunday, will go undefeated in December for the first time since 1993.

Garrett celebrated his first NFC East title as head coach in the suite area at AT&T Stadium before ordering pizza at his house at an impromptu gathering with friends and family.

“How about that? Pretty rambunctious,” Garrett said.

The Cowboys hope for more rambunctious celebrations in the next few weeks. This marks the beginning of the rest of their season.

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @NFLCharean

There’s a chance ...

It’ll be tough, but the Cowboys can clinch a first-round bye or even home-field advantage. Here’s how:

Home-field advantage

▪ Win, Cardinals loss/tie, Lions-Packers tie

First-round bye

▪ Win, Seahawks loss/tie, Cardinals loss/tie

▪ Win, Lions-Packers tie

▪ Seahawks loss, Cardinals loss

▪ Tie, Seahawks tie, Cardinals loss/tie, Lions-Packers game does not end in tie

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