CHICAGO – Tony Romo has bigger goals for the Dallas Cowboys, so he wasn’t about to get too excited over securing a winning season.
To him, that was just one step.
DeMarco Murray ran for a season-high 179 yards and a touchdown, Romo threw for three scores and the Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 41-28 on Thursday night.
The Cowboys (9-4) made it look easy for most of the night against a struggling team that lost star receiver Brandon Marshall to a rib injury. Dallas clinched its first winning season since 2009 and guaranteed it will finish above .500 after three straight 8-8 finishes. But the Cowboys are looking for more, with an NFC East title and first playoff appearance in five years in sight.
“Other than the fact we still have all our goals in front of us,” Romo said when asked about clearing the eight-win mark. “I think that that’s more for you guys to do your 8-8 stuff.”
Led by Romo and Murray, Dallas rebounded from a blowout loss to the Eagles on Thanksgiving and pulled within a half-game of them with another showdown in Philadelphia next week.
The Cowboys took a 14-7 halftime lead and scored 21 unanswered in the third quarter before the Bears (5-8) rallied in the fourth.
With that, the Cowboys improved to a league-best 6-0 on the road, where they have won seven straight since a blowout loss at Soldier Field on a bone-chilling night last December.
Romo, who has been bothered by a bad back, kept checking down and completed 21 of 26 passes for 205 yards. His rating for the game was 138 coming off a rough outing against the Eagles.
Murray, the league’s leading rusher, carried 32 times. He also had 49 yards receiving on nine catches.
“Like a lot of great backs through the years in this league, oftentimes these guys get better the more touches they get,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. “I think he’s demonstrating that. He just has such a good feel for running the football.”
Dez Bryant had six receptions for 82 yards. Cole Beasley caught two touchdowns, and the Cowboys converted 7 of 14 third downs along with 2 of 2 fourth downs.
For the Bears, it was just another rough night in a disappointing season that will likely end with them missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.
Marshall’s injury was another blow for the Bears.
He was hurt taking a knee to the right side from the Cowboys’ Barry Church following a reception in the second quarter.
That happened moments after he made a spectacular 42-yard catch, juggling the ball with his right hand, to help set up a touchdown.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.