LANDOVER - A sign in the Washington Redskins' locker room reads, "This is our home, our place, our victory!"
Consider the Redskins 0-for-3 in the matter of their signage, as the visiting Dallas Cowboys took over FedEx Field and their own destiny with a 27-0 thumping of Washington last night.
The Cowboys improved to 9-5 and moved closer to securing one of two NFC wild-card berths.
The Redskins (5-9), who have dropped 12 of the past 13 meetings with Dallas, suffered their first shutout loss at home since a 3-0 setback to the New York Jets on Dec. 11, 1993. It was also the Cowboys' first shutout victory in Washington since a 13-0 win on Nov. 21, 1971.
Those in the announced attendance of 70,284 who hadn't left the stadium by the end of the third quarter when Dallas led 17-0 saluted the Redskins' listless performance by tossing snowballs onto the field.
"They probably should've thrown a glacier out there," said a frustrated Fred Smoot, who earlier in the week had equated last night's game to the Super Bowl. "We stunk. We stunk the place up."
Added wide receiver Darnerien McCants (Arundel): "We just got whupped."
Coach Steve Spurrier was equally concise with his post-game comments: "I'm not very good at making excuses. They just kicked our tails. They're a better team than we are right now. That's just the way it is."
The Redskins achieved new lows in several categories. The 161 total yards of offense was a season low and the club's worst mark in Spurrier's two-year tenure.
Cowboys running back Troy Hambrick rushed for a career-high 189 yards on 33 carries. Two of his three 100-yard rushing games this season have been against Washington, which had surrendered a previous high of 167 yards to the Buffalo Bills' Travis Henry on Oct. 19.
And after three solid outings, quarterback Tim Hasselbeck fared badly, completing just six passes out of 26 attempts for 56 yards and throwing four interceptions - a franchise high shared by Sammy Baugh and Dan Sandifer. Hasselbeck finished with a quarterback rating of 0.0.
"It's not a real good answer, but I think that there are going to be bad nights," said Hasselbeck, who had three of the four interceptions hauled in by Dallas rookie cornerback Terence Newman. The three interceptions tied a Cowboys record set by Dennis Thurman on Dec. 13, 1981.
"I had a bad night tonight," Hasselbeck said. "You don't like for them to happen, and you don't want to have a lot of them. The thing is this, I'm disappointed about this loss, and I don't want anyone to feel or think that I don't feel that way."
Spurrier said he did not contemplate pulling Hasselbeck in favor of rookie backup quarterback Gibran Hamdan and said Hasselbeck would be the likely starter when the Redskins visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
"Right now, Tim is still our quarterback," Spurrier said. "Tim's set to go."
Hasselbeck's counterpart, Quincy Carter, wasn't exactly stellar, either: He completed just 10 of 24 passes for 108 yards, was sacked three times and earned a quarterback rating of 69.4.
But Carter did throw a 21-yard touchdown pass to fullback Richie Anderson on Dallas' opening drive and ran another one into the end zone for a 14-0 lead with 1:52 left in the second quarter.
More importantly, Carter - who fumbled three times but lost just one - did not throw a single interception and generally avoided the types of mistakes that contributed to Dallas losing three of their previous four games before last night's contest.
"We are coming off two hard losses, and it was very important for us to get a win tonight," Carter said. "And we did it on the road, which is even sweeter."
NOTES: Wide receiver Laveranues Coles did not catch a single pass last night. Coles, who entered the game as the NFL's seventh-leading receiver, said he could not recall the last time he didn't catch a pass. ... Washington linebacker Jessie Armstead sacked Carter in the first quarter, giving him a team-high 6.5 sacks this season.
Next for Redskins
Matchup:Washington Redskins (5-9) vs. Chicago Bears (6-8)
Site:Soldier Field, Chicago
When:Sunday, 1 p.m.
TV/Radio:Chs. 45, 5/WNAV (1430 AM), WJFK (106.7 FM)
Line:Bears by 4 1/2