LANDOVER, Md. – It will be called the Cowboys' third drive of the game. But from a historical standpoint, it was rather record-breaking.
On two consecutive plays early in the first quarter, both DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant set single-season franchise records with their perspective positions.
First, Murray surpassed Emmitt Smith's rushing record of 1,773 yards set in 1995. Needing just 29 yards to break Smith's mark heading into the game, Murray was just 11 yards short before he broke off a 32-yard scamper late in the first quarter to the Cowboys' 23. Murray was congratulated by his teammates on the field and then went to the sideline where he was met with a series of head-slaps from his excited coaches and teammates.
Even Smith was ready for a quote about his fallen record.
"I couldn't be happier for him. He is very deserving of this recognition," said Smith, who is the NFL's all-time leading rusher with 18,355 yards. "This is something that I know DeMarco will share with the whole team, because he knows that they all had a hand in his success. I am proud of him because I know how hard it is to do what he did this year. I am also proud because I've watched him bounce back from some injury setbacks in his first few years. He's a worked through all that, and he deserves to have this record. I want him and the whole team to keep up this level of play and carry it into the playoffs."
But Murray was the Cowboys' newest record holder for just one play. On the next play from scrimmage, Tony Romo
lofted a pass into the end zone for Bryant, who had to turn his body around before hauling in a 23-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone. Initially, the pass was ruled out of bounds but Jason Garrett challenged the play and the call was reversed.
That score, which was Bryant's second of the game after he caught a 69-yarder on the previous possession, gave Dez 16 touchdowns this year, breaking the Cowboys' single-season mark for TD receptions in a season, passing Terrell Owens (15) in 2007.
Bryant's touchdown gave the Cowboys a 17-7 lead over the Redskins.
Romo's touchdowns passes also extended his NFL record to 41 consecutive road games with at least one TD toss.