After an agonizing five-season absence, the Cowboys are back in the playoffs — and as division champions to boot.
Led by a spectacular performance by quarterback Tony Romo, the Cowboys rolled to a 42-7 victory over Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Romo was splendidly efficient, completing 18-of-20 passes for 218 yards with four TD passes, three of which came in the first half as Dallas sprinted away to a 28-0 lead. And never, ever, did Dallas appear in any danger of giving up that lead.
With the win, the Cowboys (11-4) clinched the NFC East title. They are guaranteed of hosting at least one playoff game. They will be the only NFC East club in the postseason, as Philadelphia has now been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Cowboys made short work of the Colts (10-5), who saw their faint chances at a first-round bye go completely by the wayside. The Cowboys scored on their first drive, with Romo hitting wideout Terrence Williams for a nine-yard TD to give Dallas an early 7-0 lead.
And from there, Dallas poured it on against sloppy Indianapolis, which committed eight penalties and three turnovers and did not score until 5:24 left in regulation. By then, quarterback Andrew Luck had been pulled from the game as the AFC South champs looked ahead to January. And for as poorly as they played, the Colts will be one of 12 teams with a chance to win the Super Bowl.
So too will Dallas. And with Romo in sharp form and their defense holding up its end of the bargain, the Cowboys look like real contenders.
It’s enough to make 90s kids dust off their Apex One and Starter Dallas jackets. On Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys were back. And the NFC East, finally, is theirs once again.