Cowboys keep validating with sixth win in a row

Gavin Escobar caught two TD passes in the Cowboys' sixth consecutive win.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Sunday was the type of game the Dallas Cowboys of recent, 8-8 vintage would have found a way to lose.

But these aren’t the same old mediocre Cowboys.

Owner Jerry Jones turned 72 Monday and his Cowboys, winners of six straight, turned back the clock — all the way back to their three-time Super Bowl-winning glory days of the early 1990s.

The Cowboys continued validating themselves as a legitimate NFC contender with their 31-21 defeat of the New York Giants. They were led by league rushing leader DeMarco Murray’s 128-yard, one-touchdown running on the day he became the first back ever to start a season with at least 100 yards rushing in seven straight games.

Did anyone envision this sizzling start with the 6-1 Cowboys coming off three straight 8-8 seasons and the third-worst defensive performance in league history?

“Our record is above what we could have expected,” Jones said. “But we have it and it’s a credit to a team that’s building in its confidence. The Giants had a lot to prove today. They were not happy with last week’s game (a 27-0 thumping by Philadelphia). So this was a big game for us.”.

It’s a simple, proven formula straight from the early 1990s of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin: Pound Murray behind an offensive line studded by three first-round picks since 2011 and open the throwing lanes wide for quarterback Tony Romo to pinpoint his targets downfield off play-action.

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“In the offseason, coach (Jason) Garrett stressed this and it’s the way we’ve evolved,” tight end Jason Witten said. “Everything comes off that running game.

“Now we just have to keep it going.”.

Murray averaged 4.6 yards per carry against a Giants defense stacked like cord wood in winter to stop him.

That opened up tight end Gavin Escobar for two touchdown catches and receiver Dez Bryant to strike for 151 yards on nine catches.

“Gavin played huge,” Witten said. “When you run the ball that way, it sets up play-action.”.

Romo hit 17-of-23 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns.

“I have to say, that may be the best game I’ve ever seen Tony Romo play,” Jones said. “He really was pinpoint with the ball and in protecting the ball.”.

Murray spent a long time in the trainer’s room getting treatment on the right ankle he tweaked on a second-quarter run that could have gone for a touchdown if it hadn’t bucked on him.

“It’s fine,” Murray shrugged.

Center Travis Frederick said Murray’s toughness set the second-half tone with the game tied at 14-all.

“He’s a tremendous back,” Frederick said. “He put himself in that position when you see that from a running back, it makes us committed to finish as an offensive line.”.

Does the offensive line feel pressure to keep Murray’s record run going?

“I feel pressure to continue to win,” Frederick said. “It’s really nice to say we’re a part of that record for Demo, but for the Dallas Cowboys, winning is what’s really important.”.

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Especially since the Cowboys haven’t captured a Lombardi Trophy since after the 1995 season.

Follow Jim Corbett on Twitter @ByJimCorbett.


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