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.