It was the combination of a near perfect day for quarterback Tony Romo and another outstanding rushing performance from running back DeMarco Murray that lead to the Dallas Cowboys big win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, 44-7. Romo started the game perfect going an amazing 13 for 13 passes. And the rookie Murray helped sealed the win by adding more grit and consistency from the offensive backfield.
The game started in Dallas’ favor quickly as Romo came out on fire. It took the Cowboys’ offense just 2:48 to drive 80 yards in five plays, ending with a spectacular leaping 34 yard touchdown catch by wideout Dez Bryant. Dallas jumped out to the early lead, 7-0, and never looked back.
The Bills offense’s first play from scrimmage resulted in a 10 yard loss due to a DeMarcus Ware sack on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. It was Ware’s 13th sack of the year.The Dallas defense forced the Bills to go three and out during their first series.
Romo would continue to burn red hot as he and DeMarco Murray would march the Cowboys down the field on their very next possession. That drive ended with Romo spinning away from Buffalo’s defensive rush to find an open Laurent Robinson in the end zone. Dallas extended their lead, 14-0.
After a failed 52 yard field goal attempt by Buffalo’s Dave Rayner, the hot Dallas offense would strike again. And this time it would once again be the Romo to Robinson connection for a long 58 yard bomb that resulted in another touchdown. Dallas up big, 21-0.
The Bills would answer back as Fitzpatrick found wideout David Nelson for a short three yard touchdown pass. After the score, Nelson ran all the way down the sidelines to find his girlfriend, a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. He embarrassed her and handed her the ball. She was obviously embarrassed by the act.
Unfortunately for the Bills, it would be a short celebration as the Cowboys’ new running back sensation would crash their party. Murray ran thorough the Bill’s defense and in for a short two yard touchdown just before halftime to give Dallas the 28-7 lead. Romo’s stats at the half were an astonishing 18 of 19 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns.
Beginning the second half, the Bills offense started to come alive again. A 20 yard run by RB Fred Jackson and WR Stevie Johnson’s first pass reception of the day highlighted the drive. But a fourth down attempt at a touchdown would be negated by a bad Fitzpatrick pass and some good pass defense by CB Alan Ball. The Bills would turn the ball over on downs without a score.
The entire second half of the game was mainly defined by Bill’s turnovers and Cowboy field goals. Rookie kicker Dan Bailey would hit three field goals for Dallas in the second half (45, 36, 31). And Ryan Fitzpatrick would be intercepted three times. Two of those interceptions were by CB Terence Newman. Newman ran one of those interception back for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Also turning over the ball was running back Fred Jackson, who uncharacteristically fumbled. It was recovered by the Cowboy’s Jay Ratliff. The final interception was made by CB Frank Walker and it essentially ended the game.
Romo had a great game going 23 of 26 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Murray also ran the ball well for the Cowboys adding in 135 rushing yards and a score. He also had six catches for 36 yards.
Laurent Robinson did an excellent job filling in for the injured Miles Austin. He recorded three receptions for 73 yards and two scores. Bryant also had a solid day with six receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. And TE Jason Witten had his normal reliable five catches for 37 yards.
On defense, the Cowboys must have been happy to have linebacker Sean Lee back from injury. Lee dislocated his left wrist in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago. He returned to play today with a club over his entire left hand. Despite the cast, Lee was able to co-lead the Cowboys in tackles with four.
It was a rough day for the Bill’s Fitzpatrick as he ended the day going 20 of 31 passes for just 146 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. The Bill’s Fred Jackson had a decent day on the ground with 114 rushing yards despite the loss. But their star wideout, Stevie Johnson, had just two catches for eight yards total.
Dallas improves it’s overall record to 5-4, and secures second place in the NFC East, as Buffalo drops down to 5-4. The Cowboys will play at Washington next week against the Redskins prior to spending Thanksgiving in Arlington to face the lowly Miami Dolphins.