Cowboys Beat Dolphins

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Tony Romo is back … and so are the Dallas Cowboys.

Romo, back after missing seven games due to a broken left collarbone, helped Dallas snap its seven-game losing streak with a 24-14 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.

With the win, the Cowboys (3-7) are just two games behind the NFC East leaders, the 5-5 New York Giants.

“It felt good to get back and play football and help your team win,” Romo said. “We went up against a tough team, physical. It’s one of those teams you have to stand up and fight and outlast them, and our guys did that.”

As for his own performance, Romo was perhaps a bit rusty, throwing two interceptions.

But he redeemed himself with his second touchdown pass, a 16-yard game-winner to wide receiver Dez Bryant with 14:55 left in the fourth quarter. Romo finished with 213 yards passing, completing 17 of 27 throws.

“Tony made some plays at different times,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “The two turnovers are plays he wants to have back, but he made a ton of other plays.

“As the game wore on, he got more and more comfortable.”

The Cowboys are 3-0 this season when Romo starts. They are 0-7 without

Romo, who was injured on Sept. 20 on a hit by Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks.

Miami (4-6) was led by quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who threw two touchdown passes. He completed 13 of 24 passes for 188 yards and one interception.

Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell blamed the loss on mistakes — especially Miami’s nine penalties for 74 yards.

“(Dropped passes) and penalties really killed us,” Campbell said. “We really hurt ourselves.”

Each quarterback made a poor first-half decision, and both plays resulted in interceptions.

Romo, facing a blitz on a third-and-six at the Dolphins 12, lobbed a pass toward the end zone that was easily intercepted by cornerback Brent Grimes. It was Grimes’ third interception of the season.

Tannehill’s mistake was even worse. On a third-and-11 from his own eight, he tried to hit wide receiver Greg Jennnigs on a slant. But Tannehill didn’t see middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who reached up and intercepted the pass, trotting in for a 12-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Dallas lead.

It was the fourth interception of McClain’s five-year NFL career, and it was his first touchdown.

Dallas took a 14-0 lead with 1:08 left in the half. The Cowboys capped a 12-play, 93-yard drive with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams, who beat cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Brice McCain toward the back right corner of the end zone.

The drive may never have happened had it not been for a defensive holding call on Taylor, negating what otherwise would have forced a Dallas punt from its own four.

Williams and Bryant celebrated Dallas’ score a bit too much, however, resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That penalty and a short squib kick by Dallas gave Miami a short field to work with, and the Dolphins capitalized with a three-play, 54-yard touchdown drive.

Tannehill capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Cameron with only 16 seconds left in the half.

Miami tied the score 14-14 on a Tannehill 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenny Stills with 5:20 left in the third quarter.

After Bryant’s touchdown catch, Dallas increased its lead to 24-14 on a 30-yard field goal by Dan Bailey with 9:09 left in the fourth quarter.

The Dolphins had, is essence, one final shot with less than eight minutes left in the game. With a second-and-six at the Dolphins 46, Tannehill was sacked. On third and 13, Tannehill threw way short of the first-down marker, picking up 11 yards on a dump pass to running back Lamar Miller.

The Dolphins then punted on fourth and six and didn’t get the ball back until there were just 64 seconds left in the game.

Campbell defended his conservative choices on the aforementioned third- and fourth-down calls.

“I knew we would pin them back there,” Campbell said of his team’s punt, “and our defense would stop them.”

That plan did not come close to working for Miami, and the result was a Cowboys victory.

“That’s not my call,” Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry said when asked about the decision to punt. “As a player, you have confidence in your defense to go out there and get a stop, force a punt. That was the intention of the call. It just didn’t work out.”

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