NFL Wire News

Cowboys 42, Colts 7

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Tony Romo threw four touchdowns and the Dallas Cowboys clinched the NFC East title by blasting the Indianapolis Colts 42-7 Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.

Dallas improved to 11-4 going into next Sunday’s regular-season finale at Washington. The Cowboys, in the playoffs for the first time in coach Jason Garrett’s five-year tenure, are still in the running for a first-round bye.

Romo became the franchise’s all-time leader in passing yards, surpassing Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman. Romo set the record on a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten in the third quarter. The former undrafted free agent from Eastern Illinois has 32,970 career yards.

Romo completed 18 of 30 passes for 218 yards and found four different receivers for scores, including a 19-yarder to Dez Bryant. Romo led the Cowboys to touchdowns on their first four possessions.

Dallas running back DeMarco Murray played despite having surgery Monday on a broken left hand. The NFL’s leading rusher scored a touchdown and finished with 58 yards on 22 carries.

The Colts (10-5) didn’t have as much on the line with the AFC South title already sewn away, and little-to-no chance to beat out Denver or New England for one of the conference’s top two seeds.

Indianapolis was also without leading receiver T.Y. Hilton, who was resting a hamstring injury. The Colts are at Tennessee next Sunday in their final postseason tune-up.

Without his favorite target, Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck (15-22 for 109 yards and two interceptions) turned in his poorest performance of the season. Luck didn’t have a touchdown pass for the first time this season and left the game in the third quarter.

Luck came into the game leading the NFL in touchdown passes and yards.

Indianapolis avoided its first shutout since 1993 on running back Zurlon Tipton’s 1-yard touchdown catch from backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in the fourth quarter.

The Colts managed only 229 yards — 104 in the first half. Indianapolis turned the ball over three times.

Dallas had the game in hand in the first quarter after jumping out to a 14-0 lead thanks to a long drive and a botched fake by the Colts.

The Cowboys methodically drove 80 yards on their first possession to go up 7-0. Romo completed 5 of 6 passes on the march for 33 yards, and scrambled twice for another 21 yards.

Murray carried it seven times (for only 16 yards) before Romo hooked up with receiver Terrence Williams from 9 yards out for the game’s first touchdown.

Indianapolis had stopped the Cowboys on third down, but a taunting penalty linebacker Jerrell Freeman kept the drive alive.

After the Colts lost five yards on their first three plays, a fake punt had Dallas totally fooled. Punter Pat McAfee lofted a perfect spiral down the sideline, but wide-open safety Dewey McDonald dropped the pass and gave Dallas great field position on the Colts’ 19-yard line.

Romo took the gift and found Bryant on the ensuing play for a two-touchdown advantage.

The lead grew to 21-0 early on Romo’s third scoring strike. A skinny post plus poor tackling by Indy’s secondary enabled receiver Cole Beasley to find the end zone from 24 yards out.

Murray’s 1-yard dive later in the second period capped a 67-yard drive and essentially put the game away. Dallas set a season high for points in the first half by taking a 28-0 lead into the break.

Dallas backup quarterback Brandon Weeden tossed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Williams in the fourth quarter.

NOTES: Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (broken left hand) was active after being listed as questionable. He wore a protective covering over his hand after having surgery on Monday. RG Zack Martin was also active after not practicing all week. RT Doug Free (ankle) was inactive. … Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) was ruled inactive after trying to test the injury on the field before the game. Hilton leads the team with a career-high 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns but did not practice all week. … Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck came into Sunday leading the NFL in touchdown passes (38) and yards (4,492), while also committing the second-most turnovers (20).


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