HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS

Cowboys game changers: Too-good Tony Romo and back-in-action DeMarco Murray

Cowboys game changers: Too-good Tony Romo and back-in-action DeMarco Murray

Dallas Cowboys
Dez Bryant continues his hot streak with two touchdowns and nearly 100 yards.
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The Cowboys rode Tony Romo's best game of the season to victory over the Eagles 38-33. Dallas Cowboys/Facebook
DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys
DeMarco Murray looked about 80 percent healthy against the Eagles. He also looked about 80 percent better than Felix Jones. Dallas Cowboys/Facebook
Dallas Cowboys
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DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys

Did anyone really think playing the Philadelphia Eagles would be easy? Although the Eagles may have been in full collapse mode the week before, every Eagle played hard for the last and only reward left on a failed season: beating the Dallas Cowboys.

But Tony Romo was just too good to let it happen. The Cowboys offense nailed Philadelphia's coffin shut and kept a brief sliver of air open in their own. Wins are hard to come by in the NFL, and these game changers pushed the Cowboys over the top.

Romo finds a December groove
Tony Romo is notoriously bad in December. But even with five interception games under his belt this season, Romo has not changed his scrambling, gun-slinging ways.

 If Romo can keep the offense moving, the Cowboys end up in the playoffs, end of story.

Although the Eagles scored at will in the first quarter, Romo got in sync with all of his receivers and easily had his best game of the season.

Going 22 of 27 for 303 yards with three touchdowns and no picks is quite the stat line, as is passing Troy Aikman as the Cowboys' leading TD thrower (in nearly half as many career starts). But Romo's real success came off paper. By keeping plays alive with his feet, Romo gave receivers time to develop their routes. Romo's cross-field throw to Dez Bryant for a touchdown is a perfect example of a play created by the luxury of patience. 

If Romo can keep the offense moving, the Cowboys end up in the playoffs, end of story.

The DeMarco Murray factor
DeMarco Murray looked about 80 percent healthy against the Eagles. He also looked about 80 percent better than Felix Jones.

 For the first time in seven weeks, the Cowboys had a running game, and the offense thrived as a result.

For the first time in seven weeks, the Cowboys had a running game, and the offense thrived as a result. Murray turned nothing plays into seven-yard gains, and Romo didn't have to throw it 62 times to keep the Cowboys competitive. 

Although the 83 yards and one touchdown that Murray picked up were nice, the real benefit is what the presence of a run game did to the entire offense.

Down 17-24 in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys lined up on the Eagles' 27-yard line in running formation with two backs and everyone on the line except for Miles Austin. All signs pointed toward the run.

Romo faked hard on the hand-off to Jones; the linebackers bought run and came forward toward the line, and Miles Austin was left free on a slant across the middle for the touchdown.

If basketball stats were to ever apply in football, Murray would have earned an assist for that score.

Cowboys control the little things and win. Go figure. 
What do zero interceptions, zero fumbles, zero boneheaded plays and a relatively low dose of penalties get you in the NFL? A win. 

 Dez Bryant rode his hot streak to his third-straight all-star performance.

It may have been entirely unfathomable only a few weeks ago, but the Cowboys stayed consistent and error-free (minus that whole punt-return-for-a-TD thing) and came away with the win. 

Credit where credit is due
Dez Bryant rode his hot streak to his third-straight all-star performance, and Tony Romo is rewarding him with as many balls as he can handle.

Add an always-consistent Jason Witten to the mix, plus two nice grabs by the increasingly impressive Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley, and the Cowboys passing game was nearly unstoppable. 

Shame where shame was due
Doug Free was shouting "Bench me!" with every play, but Jason Garrett must not have been listening. I guess he was too busy planning his next timeout.

Between Free's penalty penchant and Garrett's timeout that set up an Eagles' field goal at the end of the first half, it's a wonder the Cowboys still got the win. 

Punter Brian Moorman was one failed onside kick away from being a household name this morning. Has he never seen last year's Giants-Eagles game?