Dallas 42, Indianapolis 7: Trouncing Their Way to the NFC East Title

For the first time during the Jason Garrett era, the Cowboys are heading to the playoffs.

For the first time during the Jason Garrett era, the Cowboys are heading to the playoffs.

Before Saturday, the Cowboys knew they had to beat Indianapolis to give them a chance to win the NFC East. This presumed Dallas needed to beat Washington next week as well.

The reason for this presumption? Surely the Eagles would beat the Redskins and Giants in the final two weeks of the season. Right?

Wrong. Philadelphia made numerous mistakes on Saturday and wound up falling to Washington, 27-24, on a late field goal.

So on Sunday, the Cowboys needed to beat a Colt team with little motivation to win. Indianapolis had already clinched its division title and could not improve its playoff seeding.

Dallas put the game away soon after most people found their seats. Tony Romo threw touchdown passes in the first quarter to Terrence Williams and Dez Bryant, followed by a third touchdown early in the second quarter to Cole Beasley.

A touchdown run later in the second by DeMarco Murray increased the lead to 28-0. The Colts barely put up a fight, and the game’s outcome was not in question during the entire second half.

Murray gained 58 yards on 22 carries while playing with his surgically repaired left hand.

Romo was nearly perfect, completing 18 of 20 passes for 218 yards and four touchdowns. When he threw a touchdown pass to Jason Witten in the third quarter, Romo surpassed Troy Aikman as the team’s all-time leader in passing yards. Romo now has 32,971 yards compared with 32,942 for Aikman.

The Cowboys could possibly earn a bye in the first-round of the NFC playoffs, but Dallas would need Seattle to lose or Green Bay and Detroit to tie. The more likely scenario is that the Cowboys will have the #3 seed and host a playoff game in two weeks.

 

Dallas 38, Philadelphia 27: A Signature Win

Dez Bryant was nearly unstoppable, catching three touchdown passes in the Cowboys' 38-27 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Dez Bryant was nearly unstoppable, catching three touchdown passes in the Cowboys’ 38-27 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

In October last season, I wrote a post noting how I had completely lost faith in Jason Garrett. Dallas had just lost a game to the Detroit Lions even though Dallas had the ball in Detroit territory with less than 90 seconds remaining in the game.

It looked as if the Cowboys might add another signature loss to Garrett’s resume. Dallas had a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter but watched that lead evaporate. When Darren Sproles scored with 5:42 left in the third quarter, the lead was gone.

What Dallas did on the ensuing drive after the Sproles touchdown could be a defining moment of the season. In four plays, Dallas moved the ball into Philadelphia territory. From the Eagle 44, DeMarco Murray made a tough run off left tackle and rumbled 21 yards to the Eagle 23. Tony Romo then hit Dez Bryant down to the 2, and Murray scored from there. The Cowboys did not trail again.

It was Murray’s second touchdown of the game. The Eagles contained him for the most part, but he made some critical runs when they mattered most.

The real hero on offense, though, was Bryant, who scored two touchdowns in the first half. After J.J. Wilcox recorded an interception in Eagle territory on the final play of the third quarter, the Cowboys were again in scoring position. Bryant scored his third touchdown to increase the Dallas lead to 11.

The Eagles never gave up and cut the Dallas lead to 35-27 on the next drive before holding Dallas to a three and out.

It looked as if Philadelphia had made a first down on the next drive, but tight end Brent Celek lost the ball on what was first called a first-down reception. The replay showed that he fumbled the ball. The Cowboys could not score a touchdown after taking the ball in Eagle territory again, but Dan Bailey’s field goal gave the Cowboys a 38-27 lead.

Bruce Carter put the game away by intercepting a Mark Sanchez pass with less than two minutes remaining.

At 10-4, Dallas controls its destiny. Wins over the Colts and Redskins guarantee an NFC East title. We need not discuss right now what happens if Dallas loses either of those games.

 

Dallas Cowboys: Ten Pivotal Regular Season Games, Part 6 (1991)

The Dallas Cowboys recorded perhaps the most pivotal regular-season win in franchise history by beating the Washington Redskins in 1991.

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Dallas 41, Chicago 28: 8-8 No More

The Dallas Cowboys jumped out to a huge fourth quarter lead before holding on for a 41-28 win over the Chicago Bears.

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Dallas Cowboys: Ten Pivotal Regular Season Games, Part 5 (1986)

This is the fifth part of a ten-part series focusing on ten pivotal regular season games in the history of the Dallas Cowboys.

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Philadelphia 33, Dallas 10: No Thanks

The Dallas Cowboys did not give their fans many reasons to give thanks on Thursday, falling to the Philadelphia Eagles in a 33-10 loss.

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Dallas 31, N.Y. Giants 28: A Spark from Another Unlikely Source

The Dallas Cowboys came from behind to beat the New York Giants, thanks largely to two key plays by receiver Cole Beasley.

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Dallas Cowboys: Ten Pivotal Regular Season Games, Part 4 (1975)

This is the fourth part of a ten-part series focusing on ten pivotal regular season games in the history of the Dallas Cowboys.

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Dallas 31, Jacksonville 17: Redemption Was Across the Pond

Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys scored twice in the second quarter to lead the team to a 31-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Dallas Cowboys: Ten Worst Performances by Backup Quarterbacks in Team History

Review the ten worst performances by backup quarterbacks in the history of the Dallas Cowboys.

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