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Redskins beat Cowboys 28-18 to win NFC East

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Redskins beat Cowboys 28-18 to win NFC East

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) On a night when rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris led the Washington Redskins to the top of the NFC East, team owner Dan Snyder sought out a long-suffering veteran during the postgame celebration.

``He said you've known how it's felt around here the last seven years,'' defensive lineman Kedric Golston said. ``So this is a sweet time.''

The Redskins are division champions for the first time since 1999, beating the Dallas Cowboys 28-18 Sunday in a winner-take-all end to the NFL's regular season. Washington (10-6) has won seven straight games and will host the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.

How long ago was 1999? It was six Redskins head coaches ago.

``I've been here for the 4-12, the bad times, almost being the joke of the NFL,'' said Golston, who came along in 2006. ``But to do this with this group of guys - the old and the new - it's good to be here.''

Certainly, Sunday night was mostly about the new. Morris, the out-of-nowhere sixth-round pick from Florida Atlantic, ran for 200 yards and had touchdown runs of 17, 32 and 1 yards. He was so dominant that the Cowboys - missing their five best run defenders due to injuries - fell hook, line and sinker nearly every time the Redskins faked the ball to him.

Morris finished with 1,613 yards for the year, breaking Clinton Portis' franchise single-season record of 1,516 in 2005. By the end of the game, the fans who usually chant ``R-G-3!'' for Griffin were trying out a new chorus: ``Alf-red Mor-ris!''

``I'll tell you what: Alfred Morris became a star tonight,'' Redskins tight end Chris Cooley said. ``He deserved it. He's a phenomenal football player.''

To which Morris answered: ``I'm never a star. I'll never be a star. Other people might think I'm a star, but I'm just Alfred.''

Griffin, seeking to regain his explosiveness after spraining his right knee four weeks ago, ran for 63 yards and a touchdown. With the running game working so well, he didn't have to throw much, completing just 9 of 18 passes for 100 yards.

``Move the chains,'' Griffin said. ``That's all they asked me to do.''

Washington is the first NFL team to rally from 3-6 to make the playoffs since the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1996.

The Cowboys (8-8), meanwhile, will miss the playoffs for the third straight season, having stumbled in a make-or-break end-of-regular-season game for the third time in five years.

``We have to look where we are within our division and see exactly how to approach a team with the good players like they've got and a good coach like they've got,'' Dallas owner Jerry Jones said. ``And we have a big challenge ahead of us. They are, of course, in the tournament, and we have to sit at home and think about how to get in the tournament. This is very disappointing.''

Tony Romo threw three interceptions - matching his total from the last eight games combined. A poor throw was picked off by Rob Jackson when the Cowboys had a chance to drive for a winning score in the final minutes.

``I feel as though I let our team down,'' Romo said.

Romo completed 20 of 31 passes for 218 yards, and his career is now further tainted by post-Christmas disappointments, including Week 17 losses to the Philadelphia Eagles (44-6) in 2008 and the New York Giants (31-14) last year. He's also 1-3 in playoff games.

``Your legacy will be written when you're done playing the game,'' Romo said. ``And when it's over with, you'll look back. ... It's disappointing not being able to get over that hump.''

The Cowboys also dealt with in-game injuries to receivers Miles Austin (left ankle), Dez Bryant (back) and Dwayne Harris (lower leg). Bryant, who had a torrid second half of the season despite breaking his left index finger, had four catches for 71 yards.

Washington's slow start this season prompted coach Mike Shanahan to dismiss playoff hopes and declare that the remaining seven games would determine which players would be on his team ``for years to come.''

Griffin and his teammates had other plans, and the coach quickly changed his tune. Now the Redskins will be playing in January.

``All odds were against us,'' Morris said. ``But we believed in each other.''

NOTES: Griffin set two more NFL rookie records. His 102.4 passer rating topped Ben Roethlisberger's 98.1 in 2004, and his 1.3 percentage of passes intercepted is better than Charlie Batch's 1.98 in 1998. Griffin had already set the league mark for rushing yards by a rookie QB (815). ... Washington also set a franchise record for fewest turnovers in a season with 14, fewer even than the 1982 team that played only nine regular-season games because of a players strike. ... The Redskins will be playing a third consecutive playoff game against the Seahawks. They lost at Seattle as a wild card team in the 2005 and 2007 seasons.

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

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Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.

RELATED: BEAL BOUNCED EARLY IN THREE-POINT CONTEST

Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.