IRVING, Texas – The parallels are obvious, even if no one wants to talk about them.
The Cowboys won their sixth-straight game on Sunday, downing a division rival, 31-21, largely thanks to dominant days by their franchise quarterback, their powerful feature back and their playmaking wide receiver – bedecked in a No. 88 jersey.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett laughed when asked about the similarities. He had no interest in comparing Dallas current trio of Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant to the famous Triplets of Cowboys lore – Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.
He did point out, however, that the blueprint works just as well in 2014 as it did in 1994.
"There was a pretty good formula for playing winning football back then – being able to run the football and spreading it around to everybody," Garrett said.
Just as it has all season, that formula started with another strong day by Murray. His 28-carry, 128-yard performance against the Giants made him the first running back in NFL history to run for 100 yards in seven-straight games to open a season.
"Teams are coming in trying to stop the run, so they have a lot of people down there," Garrett said. "There's a real emphasis on it. We're still finding ways to do it."
Murray sledded against a stacked Giants front for most of the afternoon, and he still found his way past the century mark – and into the end zone. His one-yard plunge in the fourth quarter gave him seven touchdowns on the season and put Dallas up, 28-14.
"It's hard to key on one guy in this offense," Murray said. "We have 88, 82 and 83 and obviously you've got Romo and all those guys."
The fact that Murray was set up on the one-yard line is a testament to that fact. One play prior, Bryant electrified a capacity crowd at AT&T Stadium with one of his best catches of the season. Battling tight coverage, he extended over his head to bring in a 25-yard floater from Romo, battling all the way to the pylon in the process.
"That's one of those that when we go back and watch the tape, we'll watch that one again and again and again," Garrett said.
Bryant essentially did whatever he wanted to the Giants, particularly in a dominant second half. He didn't find the end zone, but he put together nine receptions for 151 yards -- 136 of those coming after halftime.
With six-straight wins as evidence, it's a combination that's proving pretty hard to stop
"We're just grinding, we're just working and putting it on our shoulders," Bryant said. "The only way this offense is going to move, the only way this team is going to move is with us."
That seems like an understatement on this particular day. Romo did find Terrance Williams for an 18-yard touchdown – once again on a broken play – and he connected with Gavin Escobar for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
The fact remains: Romo looked to Bryant and Murray for 283 of the Cowboys' 423 yards on the day, which was roughly 67 percent of their production.
"We really have a bunch of guys that do things well," Romo said. "Obviously, DeMarco is playing at the highest level of his position and Dez is at the highest level of his potion."
The only thing higher than that level of play might have been the Cowboys' track record in clutch moments in that process. Romo completed 74 percent of his passes, and the Cowboys were 9-of-14 on third down – 64 percent. Romo threw 10 passes on third downs throughout the afternoon, and he converted seven of those.
"The one thing that stands out to everybody is that we are running the ball, but I think a big part of that is that this is the best we have ever been on third down. That is really changing the game," Romo said. "It is our ability to consistently stay patient and run the ball over and over again. If we continue to be good on third down, we can continue to get a lot of reps on the ground. That helps the whole process."
It all came to a close with another game-sealing drive. At some point in all of the past four games, the Cowboys' opposition has rallied – in this case it came in the form of an Eli Manning touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. to cut Dallas' lead to 28-21.
The response was cool and collected, and it once again involved all of Dallas big three weapons. Romo drove the Cowboys 49 yards in 10 plays. He completed both of his passes on the drive – both to Bryant – for 23 yards. On top of that, Murray ran seven times for 27 yards to set up Dan Bailey's 49-yard game-clincher.
"We are pretty good in those situations -- being able to come back or close out teams. I think that mentally, we feel pretty comfortable in that," Romo said.
It might not be a subject these Cowboys want to address, but it was a blueprint – and a result – that looked awfully familiar. With six-straight wins as evidence, it's a combination that's proving pretty hard to stop.