Cowboys call on old, successful formula

IRVING, Texas – Tony Romo has been around the Dallas Cowboys long enough to know more than just the five Super Bowl wins, the Hall of Famers and the Ring of Honor members.

Romo has been around the Cowboys long enough to know how they played in the 1990s when Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin were winning Super Bowls.

To Romo, what the Cowboys did against the Chicago Bears last week -- a 41-28 win -- was Cowboys, circa 1995.

“This was a little bit like the old Cowboys in that you can throw it and run it,” Romo said. “Throw it a little bit more earlier and then late you can kind of hand off and get a lot of your carries that way. That was a good design.”

The Cowboys gained 397 yards on 62 plays. They ran for 194 yards on 35 carries, including two kneeldowns from Romo. DeMarco Murray was Smith with a career-high 32 carries for 179 yards. Romo was Aikman, completing 21 of 26 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns. Dez Bryant was Irvin with six catches for 82 yards.

Smith ran for a franchise-record 1,773 yards in 1995. Murray is on pace to break that record. Aikman had just 16 touchdown passes and Romo has 25 already but has been Aikman-like in his efficiency. Irvin had a career-high 10 touchdown receptions and had his fifth straight 1,000-yard season Bryant has 10 touchdown catches and against Chicago went over 1,000 yards for the third straight season.

In the first half against the Bears, Romo completed 17 of 21 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Murray had 16 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown.

In the second half Romo completed 4 of 5 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. His only incompletion came on a throwaway when under pressure.

In 1995 Aikman attempted 225 first-half passes, completing 156 for 1,871 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. In the second half and overtime, he completed 124 of 207 passes for 1,433 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions.

So far this season Romo has completed 144 of 207 passes in the first two quarters with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. In the second half and overtime he has completed 98 of 143 passes for 1,346 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions.

The Cowboys are attempting to re-create a similar formula this season. Those Cowboys finished 12-4. These Cowboys can finish 12-4 if they win their final three games.

Those Cowboys won the Super Bowl. What can these Cowboys do?