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3 things we learned about the Cowboys

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Despite needing a touchdown to win and being without timeouts, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had a certain sense of calm borne out of experience.

“You have to feel comfortable in that situation,” Romo said.

That poise helped Romo find tight end Jason Witten on an 11-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds left, giving the Cowboys an unlikely 27-26 win over the New York Giants on Sunday night at AT&T Stadium.

The desperation drive covered 72 yards in just 1 minute, 27 seconds, completing Dallas’ rally from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit. Romo hit Witten in the middle of the field after fumbling the shotgun snap.

Romo was asked how quickly his eyes found Witten.

“Pretty quickly,” Romo said after his 24th comeback victory. “I think Jason is obviously a special player. He’s obviously close to me, and it’s a great feeling to be able to see him score that winning touchdown. He’s the best.”

Dallas extended its winning streak to eight games over the Giants in season openers and to five games overall in the series.

The win came at a cost for the Cowboys, however. Wide receiver Dez Bryant broke a bone in his right foot and will undergo surgery that will sideline him four to six weeks, coach Jason Garrett said. Even so, Bryant hopped around outside the locker room to congratulate his teammates after the win.

“That’s a tough loss,” Romo said of Bryant.

New York turned three turnovers into 17 points, but poor clock management on the last scoring drive likely cost New York the game. Quarterback Eli Manning threw a pass out of the end zone on third down to stop the clock when the Cowboys were out of timeouts.

Both Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Manning took the blame for mismanaging the clock.

What we learned about the Cowboys:

1. The Cowboys found their replacement for DeMarco Murray, and they didn’t have to look very far. Running back Joseph Randle doesn’t have the power and size to match the NFL’s leading rusher last year, but Murray’s former backup is shifty, versatile and running behind arguably the league’s best offensive line. Randle gained 65 yards on 16 carries and added another 42 yards on three receptions in his debut as the featured back.

2. Never count out Tony Romo. The veteran quarterback makes an art form out of fourth-quarter comebacks. His key is having done it before and remaining composed. “You have to stay calm in that moment of the game,” he said. His poise down the stretch, especially with injured wide receiver Dez Bryant out, made the difference.

3. Dallas can’t expect to be this sloppy with the ball and still pull out wins. The Cowboys’ three turnovers each led to New York scores. “Offensively, there’s a lot to clean up for us,” tight end Jason Witten said.

Etc.

–DT Tyrone Crawford signed a five-year contract extension Saturday. The deal is worth $45 million extension, with $25.7 million guaranteed, according to sources. The 2012 third-round pick was scheduled to become a free agent after the season. Crawford had three sacks, 29 quarterback hurries and 37 tackles last season. He finished with three tackles and one sack Sunday.

–WR Dez Bryant broke a bone in his right foot and will undergo surgery that will sideline him four to six weeks, coach Jason Garrett said. Bryant had a difficult opener even before getting injured. He left the game in the first half to get treated for dehydration. He finished with five catches for 48 yards.

–QB Tony Romo authored his 24th comeback victory by rallying the Cowboys from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit. Romo led a pair of long touchdown drives that both ended with passes to TE Jason Witten, including the game-winner from 11 yards out with seven seconds left.


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