By CLARENCE E. HILL JR.
Tribune News Service
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tony Romo became Dallas' all-time leading passer while leading the Cowboys back to the playoffs in a celebratory 42-7 win over Indianapolis in front of a crowd of 91,899 at AT&T Stadium.
Dallas (11-4) clinch the NFC East title and made the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Romo completed 18 of 20 passes for 218 yards and four touchdowns. His career passing yardage is 32,971, moving him past Troy Aikman's mark of 32,942. The record-setting play came on a 25-yard, third-quarter touchdown pass to Jason Witten. Romo also had touchdown passes to Terrance Williams, Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley.
DeMarco Murray, who broke his left hand last week against Philadelphia, started the game and scored on a 1-yard run. He finished with 58 yards on 22 carries.
As the clock hit zero, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett received a Gatorade bath and Bryant ran to the end zone to thank and celebrate with the fans. Romo got on the public address system at midfield to also thank the fans.
Dallas moved into position to clinch a playoff spot after Washington upset Philadelphia on Saturday, dropping the Eagles to 9-6. Dallas closes the season at Washington next Sunday.
In front of a charged-up crowd, Dallas scored on its first four possessions.
On its opening possession, Romo threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Williams.
The drive covered 80 yards on 15 carries and took 8 minutes, 24 seconds.
The big play was on the drive was a third-down taunting penalty that kept the drive alive at the Colts' 37. Five plays after the penalty, Williams scored.
Murray, who broke a bone in his left hand last week, started the game.
After a touchback, Dallas stuffed the Colts on three plays. On fourth and 11 at the 19, punter Pat McAfee faked the kick and threw a pass to a wide open Dewey McDonald down the right sideline, but McDonald dropped the pass.
Taking over at the 19, Romo threw a touchdown to Bryant on first down to push the lead to 14-0 with 4:23 left in the opening quarter.
Following a second defensive stand, Dallas took over at its own 25 and scored seven plays later.
Romo threw a 24-yard touchdown to Beasley, who flipped D'Qwell Jackson on a slant route, before running into the end zone to make the score 21-0 early in the second quarter.
It was all clicking for Dallas in the first half as the defense forced another punt and the offense followed with touchdown.
This time the Cowboys covered 57 yards in 10 plays with Murray scoring on a 1-yard run to make it 28-0 with 6:32 left in the half.
Indianapolis finally came to life on offense and moved to the Cowboys' 22.
On second and 2 at the 22, Barry Church intercepted Andrew Luck in the end zone and returned the ball to the Dallas 37 on the final play of the half.
On the second play of the third quarter, Anthony Hitchens intercepted Luck after the pass was tipped by Nick Hayden.
The Cowboys stalled, mainly due to a third-down sack, then Dan Bailey missed a 52-yard field goal.
Dallas got the points back in a big way when Romo threw a 25-yard touchdown to Jason Witten for a 35-0 lead at the 4:41 mark.
The passing yards made Romo the club's all-time leading passer, moving him past Aikman.
The Colts went to backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and the results were basically the same.
Orlando Scandrick forced a fumble and George Selvie recovered as the game moved into the final quarter.
The celebration began to build when backup Brandon Weeden threw a 43-yard touchdown to Williams as the rout became 42-0.
The Colts added a late touchdown to prevent the shutout.