LANDOVER, Md. - Jason Garrett wanted to continue to build momentum for the playoffs and he did just that, possibly more, as the Cowboys steamrolled the Redskins 44-17 to end the regular season at 12-4 and 8-0 on the road for the first time in franchise history.
More history was made when DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant set franchise records on back to back plays midway through the first quarter. Murray's 32-yard scamper pushed him past Emmitt Smith for the single-season rushing record. He finished with 100 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown in the victory. Murray's 100-yard performance was his 12th of the season, the most ever in Cowboys history, tied for sixth-most in NFL history.
Bryant then caught an over-the-shoulder pass in the corner of the end zone for his second touchdown of the day, sending him past Terrell Owens for the single-season receiving touchdown record. His day was just as impressive: four catches, 99 yards and two touchdowns.
At 12-4, the Cowboys have proven to be serious contenders for their sixth Super Bowl in team history. Their playoff seed and who they will play is still undetermined by the time of posting, however their first game will be played at AT&T Stadium, which hasn't housed a playoff game since the first year it opened in 2009.
Dez Bryant's 23-yard touchdown catch, that was reversed from its original call, was his second of the afternoon and proved to be the score that put the game away. The Cowboys went up 17-7 at that point and scored on their ensuing
two possessions. Jason Garrett kept his starters in the game well into the third quarter and this thing was never seriously in danger.
The Cowboys lit up the scoreboard for 44 points. The most the Cowboys have scored all season long came in their finale. Dallas ended with a perfect 4-0 record in December and did it in dominant fashion scoring 41 against the Bears, 38 against the Eagles, 42 was hung on the Colts and now this. The four highest point totals this year all occurred in December.
Dan Bailey. The Cowboys fourth-year place kicker was once again automatic. 3-3 on his field goal attempts (36,36 and 23 yards) and was perfect on all five of his extra points, but what sent him over the top was the onside kick in the second quarter. Executed to perfection, Bailey used the inside of his right foot to guide it to the right side of the field where Barry Church recovered the ball. Dallas cashed in six plays later when DeMarco Murray marched into the end zone on a nine-yard touchdown run.
Unsung Hero II:
Let's give some love to Bruce Carter, who had arguably the best game of his career. Carter finished with 11 tackles, one for loss, two interceptions and two pass deflections. Carter's first multiple-pick game of his career gave him five for the season, giving him the team lead.
Don't Forget About…
Since 1970, seven teams posted perfect road records. Six of seven of them reached the Super Bowl. The Cowboys finished 8-0 away from home this season and are now in the tournament with an opportunity to run that stat to seven of eight to make the big game.