Final

Bills 7

(5-4, 1-3 away)

Cowboys 44

(5-4, 4-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, November 13, 2011

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX 

1 2 3 4 T
BUF 0 7 0 07
DAL 14 14 6 1044

Top Performers

Passing: T. Romo (DAL) - 270 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: D. Murray (DAL) - 20 CAR, 135 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: D. Bryant (DAL) - 6 REC, 74 YDS, 1 TD

Defense steps up as Tony Romo, Cowboys embarrass Bills

Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tony Romo is finally healthy and now he's got a running game, too. Throw in an opportunistic defense and a kicker who hasn't missed since mid-September, and it's clear the Dallas Cowboys are headed in the right direction.

Just ask the Buffalo Bills.

Facing the best team he'll see for a month, Romo guided touchdown drives on his first four series, and Terence Newman returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown, sending the Cowboys cruising past the Bills 44-7 on Sunday.

Dallas (5-4) won its second straight and could be starting a big surge. Not only were the Cowboys clicking in all phases Sunday, they're going into a soft patch on their schedule. Their next three foes went into this weekend a combined 6-18.

"We needed a game like this," tight end Jason Witten said. "This needs to be the foundation of what lies ahead for this team."

The Cowboys scored their most points since Sept. 9, 2007, which was the first game that current coach Jason Garrett was coordinating the offense. They also enjoyed their most lopsided win since Oct. 22, 2000. This 37-point margin is bigger than any regular-season victory in Dallas with Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcells or Barry Switzer on the sideline.

"I think that's as good as we played against a team that's credible," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "I think overall -- the (run-pass) balance, feeling like we could create problems for their defense -- I haven't felt like that since Jason has been the head coach. It shows we are making improvement."

Romo put Dallas ahead 21-0 by throwing touchdown passes of 34 yards to Dez Bryant and 58 and 5 yards to Laurent Robinson. He hit his first 13 attempts and finished 23 of 26 (88.5 percent), setting the franchise record for single-game accuracy.

Romo didn't lead any more touchdown drives after those first four possessions, but he also didn't do anything to ruin what he'd built.

He had no interceptions and wasn't sacked, doing both for a second straight week. Being error-free Sunday was especially noteworthy because he was facing the defense that leads the NFL in takeaways and had the second-most interceptions.

"We are learning a little bit about who we are and what we can do and what we are capable of doing," Romo said.

Romo is clearly benefiting from the rapid development of rookie running back DeMarco Murray. He turned 20 carries into 135 yards and a touchdown and had 35 yards on six receptions. Murray was a concern of the defense all day, drawing enough attention to create open space for Romo in the secondary.

Murray also continued to show it's going to take a lot of guys to stop him as he made several highlight-worthy moves -- hurdling safety Jairus Byrd and, on another play, cutting back across the field to turn a likely loss into a 25-yard gain.

"They can't load the box on us and they can't double-team wide receivers," Murray said.

Another reason for Romo's crisp performance: He's finally over the broken rib he hurt in Week 2. This was the first game he played since then without a special vest for protection.

Buffalo (5-4) lost its second straight and third in four games. The rout made it an especially bitter homecoming for coach Chan Gailey and running back Fred Jackson. Gailey coached the Cowboys to the playoffs in 1998-99, his only two years on the job, and Jackson grew up in this suburb, at one time living on the property that's now Cowboys Stadium.

Gailey said he told the Bills they did little right, but that he still believes in them.

"We will regroup and continue to work to get better," Gailey said. "But you have to go do it. Nobody's going to give you anything in this league."

Ryan Fitzpatrick was 20 of 31 for 146 yards and a touchdown, a 3-yarder to David Nelson punctuated by Nelson presenting the ball to his girlfriend -- a Cowboys cheerleader.

Fitzpatrick helped make Cowboys cheerleaders happy all afternoon. He threw a season-worst three interceptions and converted only 2 of 7 third-down attempts.

This was the second straight ugly outing for Fitzpatrick, who recently signed a $59 million, six-year contract.

"We put in some good practice time and really thought we'd come out here and play well," Fitzpatrick said. "It's hard to even think ahead right now because of how embarrassing that loss was."

Dallas' defense was opportunistic from the start, with DeMarcus Ware sacking Fitzpatrick on Buffalo's first offensive play. The Cowboys racked up four turnovers, including a fumble by Jackson. The local kid still had a productive day, gaining 114 yards on 13 carries.

Game notes


Buffalo's previous worst loss this season was by 16 points, the previous Sunday. ... This was Romo's 21st game with three TD passes, breaking the record held by Danny White. White also had the accuracy record of 87.5 percent (21 of 24). ... The Cowboys haven't won three in a row since the end of the 2009 season. ... Buffalo C Eric Wood left with a knee injury in the third quarter and was to be evaluated Monday. ... Witten caught five passes, pushing him past Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome for the third-most catches by a tight end in NFL history. ... Cowboys rookie kicker Dan Bailey made three field goals to extend his streak to 21 straight, the third-best in franchise history.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ESPNDallas.com 

Team Stat Comparison

 
BUF
DAL
1st Downs2024
Passing 1st downs
715
Rushing 1st downs
88
1st downs from Penalties
51
3rd down efficiency
2-78-12
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays4961
Total Yards271433
Yards per play5.57.1
Total Drives1010
Passing136270
Comp - Att
20-3123-26
Yards per pass
4.410.4
Interceptions thrown
30
Sacks - Yards Lost
1-100-0
Rushing135163
Rushing Attempts
1735
Yards per rush
7.94.7
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-32-4
Penalties3-128-74
Turnovers40
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
30
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession25:2834:32

Passing Leaders

BUFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Fitzpat...20/311464.7131-10
DALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Romo23/2627010.4300-0

Rushing Leaders

BUFCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jackson131148.8019
Fitzpat...3206.7012
DALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Murray201356.8125
Tanner11292.608

Receiving Leaders

BUFRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Jones6518.501810
Chandler33411.30183
DALRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Bryant67412.31346
Robinson37324.32583

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBUFDAL
dalTD12:12Dez Bryant 34 Yd Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick) 07
dalTD03:05Laurent Robinson 5 Yd Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick) 014
SECOND QUARTERBUFDAL
dalTD12:17Laurent Robinson 58 Yd Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick) 021
bufTD08:16David Nelson 3 Yd Pass From Ryan Fitzpatrick (Dave Rayner Kick) 721
dalTD01:05DeMarco Murray 1 Yd Run (Dan Bailey Kick) 728
THIRD QUARTERBUFDAL
dalFG02:25Dan Bailey 45 Yd 731
dalFG00:16Dan Bailey 36 Yd 734
FOURTH QUARTERBUFDAL
dalFG05:11Dan Bailey 31 Yd 737
dalTD04:54Terence Newman 43 Yd Interception Return (Dan Bailey Kick) 744

Research Notes

Tony Romo was 23-for-26, completing 88.5 percent of his passes. That's the best completion percentage in a single game in Cowboys history, minimum 10 attempts, surpassing Danny White (87.5 percent, 1983 at Eagles)
From Elias: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo completed 88.5 percent of his passes and threw for three touchdowns in Sunday's win over the Bills. He's the fifth quarterback to hit both of those benchmarks since 1933.
  [+]
NEXT LEVEL: Tony Romo only threw three incompletions on Sunday against the Bills (26 of 29). He was even more solid on throws downfield, completing all 6 of his throws of 11 or more yards for 159 yards and two touchdowns, continuing a season long trend. Entering this game, Romo was ranked 4th in the league on these types of throws with a completion percentage of 52.1

ESPN Stats & Information