Dallas Cowboys are on the road best travelled
As much as Tony Romo likes to play at the colossal AT&T Stadium late in the regular season and with a play-off seeding on the line, you will not see the Dallas Cowboys quarterback tapping his heels three times and saying: “There’s no place like home.”
The Cowboys (9-4) have quietly become road warriors this season, and if they can maintain their form away from home at the Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) on Sunday, control of the NFC East and hosting a first-round post-season game may be in their future.
The Cowboys have won all six of their road games this season, while every other team in the league has at least two road losses. Four of the past five teams to go a perfect 8-0 on the road went on to play in the Super Bowl.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the reason for his team’s success on the road has been the beefy linemen that have been a staple for the Dallas franchise since the 1970s.
For all the heat Romo has taken for not performing under pressure – especially in the play-offs – and how mediocre the Cowboys have been for an extended period of time, this 2014 group is different.
There have been some defensive improvements, but the offensive line has served as the foundation for the Cowboys’ ability to win football games.
It has protected Romo and opened holes for running back DeMarco Murray, who has amassed over 1,600 yards this season and is the league leader in rushing.
The days of Romo having to carry the Cowboys are over. It is now about Murray’s legs and the blocking of the offensive line.
That has allowed Romo to pick his spots, which has wide receivers such as Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams licking their chops.
But the Dallas offensive line has not been perfect. The unit was beaten up and largely embarrassed against Philadelphia in a 33-10 loss on Thanksgiving Day.
Only two weeks removed from that thrashing, the play-off picture is still wide open, as both teams are tied atop the NFC East.
A win would give Dallas sole possession of first place in the division and control of their postseason destiny. For a team that have missed the play-offs the past four years, the Cowboys would love to make the post-season without needing help from another team.
“The play-offs have started,” Romo said this week. “It’s here now. If we want to go somewhere, if we want to be something, we have to win right now.”
If they can win Sunday at Philadelphia, a match-up at home against the surging Indianapolis Colts could pose a problem the following week. After that, a trip to Washington in the final game of the regular season – and possibly another road win – could be just what the Cowboys need to win the division.
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Published: December 13, 2014 04:00 AM