|Date of game: 12/21/2014
Recap: Dallas vs. Indianapolis
Arlington, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Tony Romo threw for 218 yards with four touchdowns on 18-of-20 efficiency to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 42-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts, and help clinch the franchise's 19th NFC East title in the process.
Dallas (11-4), which just needed a win in one of its final two games after Philadelphia's loss to Washington on Saturday, captured the division crown for the first time since 2009.
The Eagles, meanwhile, have been eliminated from playoff contention.
"It's great to see the guys go out and play a really good football game when we needed it," Romo said.
DeMarco Murray was active even though he underwent surgery Monday on his fractured left hand sustained in last Sunday's win over the Eagles. Murray rushed for 58 yards on 22 carries with a touchdown.
"We really, really try to focus on ourselves and being our best in every opportunity we get," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.
Terrance Williams hauled in two touchdown passes, while Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley each had a touchdown grab in the Cowboys' third straight win.
The Colts (10-5), who clinched the AFC South last week, had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Andrew Luck threw for a career-low 109 yards on 15-of-22 passing with two interceptions before getting substituted for Matt Hasselbeck late in the third. Luck's 41.7 passer rating was the lowest of his career.
"Abysmal start," said Luck. "A lot of bad. Not much good if any."
Dallas had a very productive touchdown drive to open the game that was prolonged by a taunting penalty.
On 3rd-and-11 from midfield, Romo checked down to Lance Dunbar, who was dropped by Jerrell Freeman for a loss of four on the play. However, Freeman stared down Dunbar as he got up from the tackle which warranted the taunting violation. Five plays later, Romo capped the 15-play, 80-yard drive that spanned 8:24 with a 9-yard TD to Williams on a slant that gave the Cowboys a 7-0 lead.
Indianapolis went backward on its first possession, then Colts coach Chuck Pagano tried some trickery on fourth down. The punt team was sent out at the 19-yard line and punter Pat McAfee dropped back to pass. He lofted a pass to an open Dewey McDonald on the near sideline, but McDonald dropped the easy first down to give the ball back to Dallas in excellent field position.
Romo didn't wait long to punch another touchdown in, hooking up with Bryant for a 19-yard score following McDonald's blunder.
The Cowboys continued to add on with another scoring drive that bridged the first and second quarters. Bryant hauled in a 24-yard pass from Romo toward the end of the first. Later in the march, Beasley caught a crossing pattern, slipped under D'Qwell Jackson and raced into the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown to make it 21-0.
The Colts were forced into another punt following three more unsuccessful plays. Dallas proceeded to chew up 6:31 of clock with Murray capping the 10- play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Dwayne Allen then dropped his third pass of the half while wide open deep down the far sideline that would have given the Colts their initial first down of the game. Reggie Wayne finally gave the visitors a fresh set of downs on a swing pass with under six minutes to play in the half.
"I'm very, very disappointed," Pagano said. "They clearly outplayed us in all three phases."
Indianapolis moved past midfield for the first time with under a minute left, but Luck was intercepted by J.J. Wilcox in the back of the end zone to close the half.
The second half started how the first half ended with a Cowboys interception of Luck. Nick Hayden got a hand on a pass at the line of scrimmage and Anthony Hitchens hauled in his first career interception. Dallas went backward on the possession, though, and Dan Bailey missed wide from 52 yards out.
Romo's 15th consecutive completion was a 25-yard touchdown to Witten. That mark was a personal best for Romo, who also passed Troy Aikman (32,942) for the franchise lead in passing yards on the play.
Brandon Weeden relieved Romo in the fourth and hit Williams for a 43-yard touchdown, then Hasselbeck found Zurlon Tipton for a 1-yard touchdown pass with 5:24 remaining to account for the final margin.Game Notes
Dallas snapped a three-game home losing streak ... Cowboys right tackle Doug
Free was again inactive with an ankle injury ... The Cowboys have never
shutout an opponent while scoring 40-plus points ... Murray is 28
yards shy of Emmitt Smith for the most rushing yards in franchise history ...
The Colts were last shut out in a 38-0 loss to New England in 1993 ... Witten
had a team-high 90 yards on seven receptions ... Hakeem Nicks caught a team-
high nine passes for 72 yards in the loss ... Hasselbeck finished 15-of-21
for 126 yards with a touchdown.