Cowboys take their spot in playoffs

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Cowboys take their spot in playoffs

Tony Romo helped dump a bucket on Jason Garrett and playfully shoved him the same way the Dallas coach often does to his players.

The Cowboys had long since known their four-year playoff drought was over Sunday when they finally got to celebrate in the final seconds of a dominating 42-7 win over Indianapolis that clinched the NFC East title.

A special moment made perfect sense for the quarterback with a history of crushing late-season failures and a coach who kept getting Dallas to meaningful finales but couldn’t shake questions about his future because he couldn’t break through with a postseason trip.

“In so many ways, this is such a long journey and to get to a point to achieve your first goal of winning the division title, a lot goes into that,’’ said Garrett, in his fourth full season. “I think the way you play in securing that matters, and I thought we played really, really well.’’

Romo threw four touchdown passes and broke Troy Aikman’s franchise record for yards passing while the Cowboys (11-4) emphatically ended a three-game home losing streak, scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions.

Dallas had an opening for its first division title and postseason berth since 2009 because of Philadelphia’s 27-24 loss at Washington on Saturday. The Eagles were eliminated with the Cowboys’ win.

The Cowboys had already ended their three-year rut of 8-8 finishes that kept them out of the playoffs. But they had to keep winning to make sure they got in.

Romo led scoring drives of 80 and 75 yards, the latter ending on a 24-yard pass to Cole Beasley. He spun away from a shoulder tackle by D’Qwell Jackson and ran the final 13 yards to the end zone. The 34-year-old Romo broke Aikman’s record on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten, his teammate since they came into the league together 11 years ago.

“He’s obviously just got a special place in my heart,’’ said Romo, who has 32,971 career yards.

AP




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