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Backs Setting Up Third-Down Success

ARLINGTON, Texas --The Cowboys' offense was at its efficient best Sunday against Buffalo, scoring on seven of eight possessions (not counting the end of the half and game). A big reason was its season-high success on third down.

The offense converted 8 of 12 third downs (67 percent), compared to 2 of 7 for Buffalo (29 percent). Entering the game, the Cowboys had only a 35.4 percent success rate, down from 40.6 at this point last year and ranked 20th in the NFL.

The biggest factor was manageable down-and-distances. Six times the offense faced no worse than 3rd-and-5. Their three failed attempts were 3rd-and-8, 3rd-and-12, 3rd-and-16 and 3rd-and-2.

Credit running backs DeMarco Murray and Phillip Tanner for getting at least four-yard gains to set up five of those eight successful third downs.

So much easier for quarterback Tony Romo when he's not in 3rd-and-long; 28 times in the first eight games he faced 3rd-and-10 or worse.

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