ARLINGTON — Maybe Chris Christie is starting his presidential run early.

The Jersey guy grew up a huge Dallas Cowboys and a Roger Staubach fan.

Last week he sat with owner Jerry Jones in Philly and this week the New Jersey governor was in the suite with the NFL's all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith.

Not sure how Gov. Rick Perry or Gov.-elect Greg Abbott feel about this, but if the Cowboys keep playing the way they have the last two games then Jones should make sure Christie comes to every game. Christie can count on the Texas electoral votes if the Cowboys winning streak continues with him at the games. Well, he probably can count on them anyway if he is the Republic candidate, but it couldn't hurt.

Anyway, back to football.

The Cowboys followed up their impressive win against Philadelphia last week with an even more impressive showing against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, a 42-7 victory that clinched not only a playoff berth but also the NFC East title — their first since 2009.

After three straight 8-8 seasons and losing the game that would have clinched a postseason appearance the Cowboys (11-4) were all in on Sunday.

True, the Colts (10-5) had already secured their spot in the playoffs and they also did not play deep threat T.Y. Hilton (groin injury) nor injured right tackle Gosder Cherilus, but Indianapolis still had Andrew Luck.

These Cowboys were taking nothing for granted with the theme of the day #finishthefight.

They did just that with the dominating win, seizing the moment.

"We were prepared," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. "We practiced really well all week.

"Getting off to a good start was critical for us in this ballgame. The offense did that. That first drive was outstanding."

The Cowboys drove 80 yards on 15 plays that was topped off by Tony Romo's 9-yard TD pass to Terrance Williams.

That drive was kept alive when the Colts' Jerrell Freeman was called for taunting after a third-down stop.

Then the Colts had a huge opportunity to change the momentum when Dewey McDonald dropped a perfect pass from punter Pat McAfee at the Colts 35. Instead of having a first down, the Cowboys had the ball at the Indy 19.

"We practiced it all weeklong, all season long," McDonald, a safety, said. "You just have to look it in. … I didn't look it in. I took my eyes off of it for just a split second."

On the next play, Romo found Dez Bryant for a TD and the Colts may as well have left for Indy.

The snowball effect was in full force.

The Colts were held to 1 yard rushing for the game. One yard.

How could this be? As Elaine would say on Seinfeld, "It be."

This is the Cowboys' defense that was last in the league last year and was expected to be even worse this year. They completely dominated a very good Colts team.

And with DeMarco Murray playing just five days after having surgery, that showed how tough he is and how much this team wants to win. His attitude has spilled over to the remainder of the team.

"It was incredible," Romo said of Murray, who gained 58 yards and scored a TD. "Make no mistake, that was an uncomfortable thing he had to go through tonight. I'm just proud of him."

Murray told Garrett last Sunday night he would play against the Colts just hours after suffering the broken left hand. It was, however, not without some difficult moments.

"Yeah it affected me a little bit," Murray said. "It was hurting throughout the game but I made my mind up a long time ago that I was going to play. So I was happy to be out there (and) happy to do whatever I can do to contribute to this team."

The rest of the offense was a well-oiled machine from the offensive line to the QB.

Romo hit on 18 of 20 pass attempts for 218 yards and four touchdowns. Fittingly he passed Troy Aikman's franchise passing career mark when he hit good friend Jason Witten with a 25-yard TD pass in the third quarter.

Romo has thrown for 32,971 yards, 29 more than three-time Super Bowl champion Aikman.

"Looking back one day, it will be special because me and Jason have been through it all together," Romo said. "We literally were on the same bus together from the airport when we arrived in Dallas for our first rookie mini-camp. He obviously has a special place in my heart and I want more success for him than maybe anybody else on the planet. He deserves it and I want him to have it. For him to be the guy is just a bonus."

The Cowboys wrapped up the NFC East and put a bow on it.

Now, they look forward to the Washington Redskins next week and a home playoff game. There is still the possibility of a first-round bye.

This is quite a turnaround for a team expected to win maybe four to seven games.

The team was wearing T-shirts that read "Cowboys run the East," but if they continue to play like this, that script could include some Roman numerals in a few weeks.

Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 34 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

Recommended for you