Tony Romo benefits from running game

September, 22, 2013
9/22/13
7:32
PM ET
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Playing quarterback in the NFL is never easy, but Tony Romo’s job Sunday was easier than most days he has had since becoming the Dallas Cowboys’ starter.

Romo’s numbers were not staggering in the Cowboys' 31-7 win against the St. Louis Rams -- 17-of-24 passing, 210 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions -- but they were effective.

Romo was the biggest beneficiary of DeMarco Murray's afternoon.

[+] EnlargeDeMarco Murray
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsDeMarco Murray has feasted against the Rams defense, gaining 428 rushing yards in his past two games against St. Louis.
Murray ran for 175 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown. In the first two games the Cowboys ran the ball 39 times, however, only 34 were called running plays. On Sunday the Cowboys ran it 34 times for 193 yards.

“I think a lot of their plan was minimized because of it,” Romo said.

The last time Romo threw only 24 passes in a game that he started and finished was 29 games ago … against the Rams on Oct. 23, 2011 when Murray ran for a team-record 253 yards.

The only time Romo had three touchdown passes with fewer completions was the 2009 season opener at Tampa Bay when he had just 16 completions in throwing for 353 yards.

“Obviously when you run the football the way we ran it, it really makes your life as a quarterback that much better,” coach Jason Garrett said. “A lot of the burden is taken off you. When you can hand the ball off and have success and get in favorable down and distance situations and then you start getting favorable matchups in the passing game, it’s really the way you want to play.”

The Cowboys did not have a game last year in which they ran the ball more than they passed. Through the first two games Romo threw the ball 91 times and it was on him to make all of the plays.

“You’ll have one or two games like this and you’ll have one slanted the other way and you have to throw it more times than you want to,” Romo said. “That’s going to be part of the season, but it’s nice to just give them the ball and let those guys go.”

But it wasn’t like Romo just managed the game.

Garrett said Romo made “big-time” touchdown throws to Dez Bryant (fired over Cortland Finnegan), Gavin Escobar (threaded over linebacker Will Witherspoon), and Dwayne Harris (pinpointed over a cornerback).

It was the 29th three-touchdown game of Romo’s career. It was the 34th time he completed better than 70 percent of his passes. It was the 50th time he had a passer rating of better than 100 (137.4).

"I thought he saw things really well throughout the game,” Garrett said. “I thought he made some big-time throws … I thought he threw the ball where he needed to throw it and I just thought he was really comfortable.”

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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