ARLINGTON, Tex.—A crisp passing performance by quarterback Tony Romo enabled the Dallas Cowboys to push their record back above the .500 mark and remain within striking distance of first place in the NFC East. They used Romo’s passing to build an early lead and never looked back on their way to a 44-7 triumph over the Buffalo Bills here Sunday at Cowboys Stadium.
Romo completed his first 13 passes of the game. He threw three touchdown passes, two of them to wide receiver Laurent Robinson, as the Cowboys built a 21-0 advantage early in the second quarter. Tailback DeMarco Murray added a touchdown run on the Cowboys’ fourth drive and they led, 28-7, after a first half in which Romo completed 18 of 19 passes for 237 yards.
He finished the day with 270 yards on 23-for-26 passing accuracy. Murray ran for 135 yards as the Cowboys won their second straight game to improve their record to 5-4. They pulled to within 11 / 2 games of the first-place New York Giants in the NFC East pending the Giants’ result later Sunday at San Francisco.
The Bills’ record dropped to 5-4 with their second loss in a row. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a touchdown pass for Buffalo but also threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
The first three times the Cowboys had the ball, Romo completed all 11 of his passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Dez Bryant made a leaping catch above Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin on a lob from Romo for a 34-catch touchdown on the Cowboys’ opening possession.
The Bills, by contrast, began by leaving Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware unblocked for a sack on their first offensive play. Buffalo couldn’t manage a first down and punted, and Romo and the Cowboys struck again. On a third-down play from the Buffalo 5-yard line, Romo bought some time by scrambling to his left and zipped a pass to a wide-open Robinson in the end zone.
Kicker Dave Rayner missed a 52-yard field goal try for the Bills, and Robinson sprinted past cornerback Drayton Florence on the Cowboys’ next play. Romo’s throw was, of course, on target for a 58-yard touchdown.
The Bills responded when wide receiver David Nelson caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick. Nelson went to the sideline and handed the ball to his girlfriend, a Cowboys cheerleader.
Romo finally threw an incompletion on the Cowboys’ fourth possession of the day. But it didn’t matter as the drive still ended with a touchdown, this time on a one-yard run by Murray that made it a 28-7 game. The Cowboys added to their lead with a 45-yard field goal by place kicker Dan Bailey in the third quarter. Bailey connected from 36 yards after cornerback Terence Newman had an interception for the Cowboys on a deflected pass, and added another field goal in the fourth quarter. Newman scored on a 43-yard return of an interception with just less than five minutes to play.
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