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Since 1978, when the 16-game schedule was introduced, no 10-4 team has ever ended up missing the playoffs.
The Dallas Cowboys are 3-1 in the month of December against the Colts franchise.
The last time the Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts faced each other both having 10 or more wins was Super Bowl V.
The Colts have been 10-4 four other times in franchise history. All four times they made the postseason (1971, 1975, 1977, 2008).
Dallas has been 10-4 seven previous times in club history. Not only have all seven teams gone to the postseason, but 5/7 of those teams reached the Super Bowl.
This is the first time the Indianapolis Colts will play in AT&T Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys are 5-2 against the Colts franchise at home. Here is the breakdown by stadium:
Cotton Bowl: 1-1
Texas Stadium: 4-1
The Colts franchise is the eleventh AFC team to play in AT&T Stadium. New England, New York, Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Baltimore remain.
The AFC is 4-8 in AT&T Stadium, including Super Bowl XLV.
The Cowboys haven’t won a December home game since 12/16/12 when they beat the Steelers in overtime 27-24.
The last December road game the Colts have lost was 12/8/13 in Cincinnati where the Bengals defeated them 42-28.
The Cowboys haven’t swept the AFC since 1995 when they beat the Broncos, Chargers, Raiders, and Chiefs. The only other teams to go 4-0 against the AFC were the ’92 and ’81 Cowboys.
The Colts have never gone 2-2 against the NFC in consecutive seasons.
Romo only has one 300-yard game this season. Even in 2010, when a broken collarbone ended his season after six games, he had two such games.
Before 2014, the Cowboys had a .551 winning percentage (38-31) when Tony Romo threw for fewer than 300 yards. This year, the Cowboys have a .750 winning percentage (9-3).
This is the fourth time in Romo’s career that he has thrown fewer than 10 interceptions heading into the final two games of the season.
Romo is 18-12 against the AFC with a 10-5 record at home.
This is the third 10-win season of Romo’s career, tying him with Don Meredith and Craig Morton for fourth-most in the franchise.
Romo has only earned one roughing the passer call all season, the second-fewest he has had since 2009.
The last time Romo threw a December interception was 12/22/13 in Washington, but Dallas still won 24-23.
Romo’s streak for most December games without an interception is five, which was set during all of 2011 and through the first December game of 2012.
In the past seven December home games, Romo has only thrown two interceptions.
Romo is just .8 points away from tying Aaron Rodgers for the best passer rating in 2014 (111.2 to 110.4).
Out of the 32 number-one-overall picks in NFL draft history, Andrew Luck is the only one to lead his team to three-straight postseason appearances in his first three years.
Since 2012, Luck has led the Colts on 12 game-winning drives, which is second-most in that span. Luck trails Tony Romo and Russell Wilson, who each have 13.
Luck is the only Colts quarterback to rack up two division titles in his first three years as a starter.
The last starting quarterback the Colts had before the arrival of Peyton Manning was Jim Harbaugh, who incidentally coached Luck at Stanford from 2009-10.
Luck played Texas high school football at Houston Stratford. He is 2-1 in the state of Texas with all of the matches coming against the Houston Texans.
Luck’s first game of his career was in Chicago in 2012 against Rod Marinelli’s defense. The rookie went 23/45 for 309 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.
Against 4-3 defenses, Luck has a 19-8 record and an 86.2 passer rating. On average, he goes 23/39 for 272 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and takes 2.5 sacks.
Luck is 7-4 against the NFC with a 3-3 record on the road.
Luck has a 10-2 December record with a 4-2 record on the road.
Luck has the second-most intentional grounding calls of any quarterback taken in the 2012 draft onward with five. Only Robert Griffin III’s six are more in that span.
Luck has drawn four roughing the passer calls this season, the fifth-most in the league.
This is the latest point in the season that DeMarco Murray has suffered an injury since joining the Cowboys in 2011.
If Murray misses Sunday’s game -- and again, CowboysHQ.com has been reporting since Tuesday morning that the team is optimistic here -- then he will set the Cowboys single-season record for most rushing yards without playing all 16 games with 1,687. The previous mark was 1,486 by Emmitt Smith in 1993, who missed two games due to a contract holdout.
Last week, Murray had just 2.61 yards per carry, his third-lowest in a win. When Murray is held below three yards per carry, the Cowboys are 4-3.
Since 2011, the Cowboys are 6-1 when Murray scores a rushing touchdown in December compared to 1-7 when he does not.
Murray has rushed for 100 yards or more against a 3-4 defense 5/20 times in his career.
Jason Garrett is already 1-0 against the Colts franchise. He is also the first Cowboys head coach since Tom Landry to have coached two games or more against the Colts franchise. Here is how he compares to other Dallas Cowboys head coaches (where applicable):
Tom Landry: 6-3
Jimmy Johnson: 1-0
Barry Switzer: 0-1
Chan Gailey: 0-1
Dave Campo: 0-1
Bill Parcells: 1-0
Jason Garrett: 1-0
Garrett achieved his first 10-win season last week against Philadelphia, which only took him four full seasons to do so. Here is how long his wait took compared to other Cowboys coaches:
Tom Landry: 7
Jason Garrett: 4
Jimmy Johnson: 3
Barry Switzer: 1
Chan Gailey: 1
Bill Parcells: 1
Dave Campo: N/A
Garrett has an 8-6 record against the AFC with a 6-1 record at home.
Garrett is currently on a four-game winning streak against the AFC, the longest of his career, and the longest for the Cowboys since 2006-07.
Garrett is 4-2 in December against teams with winning records.
Garrett is 1-3 in penultimate games of the season.
Garrett is 5-8 in late afternoon home games since 2010 compared to 7-4 on the road.
Garrett is 19-16 at home versus 20-15 on the road.
Chuck Pagano is the 11th Colts head coach to have faced the Dallas Cowboys. If he defeats them this Sunday, he will join Weeb Ewbank, Don Shula, Don McCafferty, Lindy Infante, Jim Mora, Sr., and Tony Dungy as the only coaches to have defeated the Dallas Cowboys in their first try a Colts head coach.
Pagano is 5-4 against the NFC with a 2-2 record on the road.
With 10 wins this season, Pagano joins Ted Marchibroda and Tony Dungy as the only Colts head coaches to start off their Colts tenure with three consecutive 10-win seasons.
Thanks to Pagano, the Colts’ past three head coaches have earned two division titles in their first three seasons.
Every late afternoon game Pagano has coached in has been on the road, where he is 1-2.
Pagano is 11/16 on coaching challenges since becoming the Colts head coach in 2012.
In 1991, Pagano and Cowboys passing game coordinator Scott Linehan were assistant coaches at UNLV. Pagano was defensive coordinator and Linehan coached quarterbacks.
This is the eighth game in the series to be broadcast on CBS, the most by any network in the series.
Since CBS took over the AFC package, the Dallas Cowboys are 19-13 on that network. Overall, the Dallas Cowboys are 286-189-6 on CBS.
Since the AFC went to CBS in 1998, the Cowboys have won their full complement of AFC home games on CBS five times: 2002, 2006, 2008, 2011-12.
The Cowboys are 16-8 when Jim Nantz calls their games, playoffs included.
Dallas is 17-14 when Phil Simms calls their games, including postseason.
Sunday will be the second game in the series Nantz and Simms have called together, the most of any broadcast team.
Nantz will tie CBS’s Chuck Thompson for most games in the series as a play-by-play with three games called apiece.
Simms will untie himself from Don Meredith and set the record for most games called in the series with three.
In each of the Colts’ past two trips to Dallas, Phil Simms has been the color analyst for the broadcast.
Sunday will be Bill Leavy’s 15th Cowboys game refereed in his career, and Dallas is 7-7 when he referees their games. Here are the results:
2001 – @Cardinals, 10-17 – L
2002 – NYG, 17-21 – L
2003 – BUF, 10-6 – W
2004 – NYG, 10-26 – L
2004 – CHI, 21-7 – W
2005 – NYG, 16-13 – W
2006 – @PHI, 24-38 – L
2008 – CIN, 31-22 – W
2009 – @NYG, 31-24 – L
2010 – @NYG, 33-20 – W
2011 – PHI, 7-20 – L
2012 – WAS, 31-38 – L
2013 – @WAS, 24-23 – W
2014 – SEA, 30-23 – W
The Cowboys have won the penalty battle 6/14 times under Bill Leavy. Here are the results:
2001 – Cardinals: 5/27; DAL: 9/65
2002 – NYG: 6/48; DAL: 5/37
2003 – BUF: 1/5; DAL: 5/53
2004 – NYG: 9/60; DAL: 11/74
2004 – CHI: 7/45; DAL: 5/30
2005 – NYG: 6/32; DAL: 6/44
2006 – PHI: 3/67; DAL: 7/49
2008 – CIN: 7/44; DAL: 6/52
2009 – NYG: 2/10; DAL: 5/30
2010 – NYG: 8/69; DAL: 5/60
2011 – PHI: 5/47; DAL: 6/47
2012 – WAS: 5/41; DAL: 7/45
2013 – WAS: 8/44; DAL: 6/42
2014 – SEA: 9/58; DAL: 6/46
Bill Leavy has the second-lowest home team winning percentage of this year’s referees:
Ed Hochuli: .769
Gene Steratore: .769
Jerome Boger: .714
Jeff Triplette: .692
Tony Corrente: .615
Pete Morelli: .615
Bill Vinovich: .571
Walt Anderson: .571
Terry McAulay: .538
Craig Wrolstad: .538
Bill Leavy: .462
Brad Allen: .462
John Parry: .462
Carl Cheffers: .462
Walt Coleman: .385
Clete Blakeman: .385
Even in home teams having fewer penalties, Leavy is second-lowest:
Brad Allen: .769
Terry McAulay: .769
Tony Corrente: .750
Jeff Triplette: .692
Walt Coleman: .692
Bill Vinovich: .643
Jerome Boger: .643
Craig Wrolstad: .583
Walt Anderson: .571
Carl Cheffers: .500
Pete Morelli: .417
Gene Steratore: .385
Ed Hochuli: .385
Bill Leavy: .250
Clete Blakeman: .231
John Parry: .231
Leavy has refereed 10 Colts games in his time. Here are the results:
2001 – MIA, 24-27 – L
2003 – @NO, 55-21 – W
2003 – NE, 34-38 – L
2005 – PIT, 26-7 – W
2006 – @Titans, 17-20 – L
2006 – @Ravens, 15-6 – W
2009 – DEN, 28-16 – W
2010 – NYG, 38-14 – W
2012 – @NYJ, 9-35 – L
2013 – @Cardinals, 11-40 – L
The Colts have had fewer penalties than their opponents 6/10 times:
2001 – MIA: 9/65; Colts: 5/25
2003 – NO: 5/50; Colts: 2/20
2003 – NE: 6/52; Colts: 4/31
2005 – PIT: 10/62; Colts: 12/106
2006 – Titans: 5/34; Colts: 8/59
2006 – Ravens: 6/39; Colts: 3/19
2009 – DEN: 7/65; Colts: 4/20
2010 – NYG: 3/25; Colts: 6/55
2012 – NYJ: 8/110; Colts: 3/27
2013 – Cardinals: 9/84; Colts: 6/89
Under Bill Leavy, the Cowboys have won 4/7 challenges with opponents only winning 1/4. Leavy has also overturned only 1/6 Replay Assistant challenges with three of those decisions benefiting the Cowboys.
Similarly, the Colts have won 2/2 of their challenges while the opposition is 2/4. Replay Assistant is 2/6 on challenges with two of those calls benefiting the Colts.
Bill Leavy is a retired firefighter and police officer for the city of San Jose, California. Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, in Leavy’s first year as a referee, he was assigned the Rams-49ers game in Candlestick Park, where he wore a San Francisco Fire Department hat for the coin toss.
T.Y. Hilton has the most catches (214), yards (3,289), and touchdowns (19) of any other receiver in the 2012 draft class. Compared against the 2011 draft class, Hilton’s receptions would be third, his yards fourth, and his touchdowns fifth.
Hilton is fourth in the league with 1,345 receiving yards.
25 percent of Bryant’s 12 multi-touchdown games happened in December with three. Only in October has Bryant had more with five.
Bryant has an 11-game streak of catching a touchdown against the AFC. The last time Bryant failed to score a touchdown was on Thanksgiving 2011 Dallas hosted Miami in a 20-19 win.
Bryant is currently tied with Bob Hayes and Terrell Owens for the third-most touchdown receptions in a season with 13. In second place is Frank Clarke with 14, and T.O. sits at the top spot with 15.
Bryant’s 13 touchdowns currently lead the league by one. If Bryant can hold on to the lead through two more games, he will be the first Cowboy since Owens in 2006 to have lead the league in touchdowns.
If Jason Witten gets nine receptions Sunday, he’ll surpass Art Monk for 14th place in the NFL’s all-time receptions list with 941.
Since 2006, the Cowboys are 15-6 in December when a running back scores a rushing touchdown compared to 1-14 when they do not.
Tom Landry and Bill Parcells are the only Cowboys head coaches to defeat the Colts at home. Barry Switzer is the only Cowboys head coach to fail to do so.
Dallas is 4-8 against Texas high school quarterbacks in AT&T Stadium.
After playing the Cowboys this season, Dallas opponents are 2-11 the following week.
Colts linebacker Erik Walden was drafted by Dallas in the sixth round of the 2008 draft but never played a down for the club. His six sacks would lead the Cowboys this season.
Walden has 17 sacks for his career. Of the seven outside linebackers and defensive ends drafted by Dallas since 2009, all seven of them only add up to 16.5 sacks.
Opposing passer rating against the Indianapolis Colts is 85.5, the 13th-stingiest in the league.
The Cowboys defense has only surrendered 20 passing touchdowns, the ninth-fewest in the NFL. Right below them are the Colts who have only given up 21 this season.
Much is made about how bad the Colts run defense is, yet they give up the same yards per carry as the Cowboys with 4.3. So do the Bears, Vikings, Bengals, and Packers, who are all tied with Indianapolis and Dallas for eighth-worst in the league.
14.8 percent of the drives against the Cowboys defense end in a turnover, ranking fifth-best in the NFL.
Colts opponents have the worst average starting field position in the league at their own 24.4 yard line.
The Cowboys defense gives up 5.9 yards per play, the fifth-most in the league. Sitting at 10th-most are the Colts with 5.5.
The Cowboys defense is sixth in the league with fewest plays at 854. Per game, the Cowboys defense is on the field for 61 plays, a decrease from 68.4 in 2013.
Dallas is third in the league with 13 fumble recoveries behind St. Louis and Kansas City with both teams tied for first with 15.
Dallas leads the league in first downs surrendered with 388.
Indianapolis tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1991-93 and earned a ring for being part of the Super Bowl XXVII team.
Ring of Honor member Don Perkins, who was with Dallas from 1960-68, was drafted in the ninth round of the 1960 NFL Draft by the Colts. However, the Cowboys signed Perkins to a personal services contract so he would be a Cowboy when the NFL awarded Clint Murchison, Jr. the franchise. The NFL honored the contract, though Dallas surrendered a ninth-rounder in the 1962 draft.
Cowboys PR director Rich Dalrymple’s father played with Colts legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas in 1955 for the Pittsburgh-area semipro Bloomfield Rams, who ended up winning the Steel Bowl Conference Championship.
The Dallas Cowboys are 6-3 on 12/21. Here are the results:
1969 – WAS, 20-10 – W
1975 – @NYJ, 31-21 – W
1980 – PHI, 35-27 – W
1986 – CHI, 10-24 – L
1987 – @Rams, 29-21 – W
1992 – @ATL, 41-17 – W
1997 – NYG, 7-20 – L
2002 – PHI, 3-27 – L
2003 – NYG, 19-3 – W
The Dallas Cowboys have no birthdays to celebrate or deaths to remember.
Since an Eagles loss and a Cowboys win clinches the NFC East for the Cowboys, here are some bonus facts related to the crucial Eagles-Redskins matchup on Saturday:
The last time the Eagles mounted sweeps of Washington in consecutive years was 2003-04.
Carl Cheffers is the referee for that game. Eagles are 3-4 when he referees and have fewer penalties 3/7 times. Washington is 0-7 with Cheffers and have fewer penalties 4/7 times.
In the two times in 16-game seasons where Washington has been 3-11, they have never improved to 4-11. The last two times the Eagles have dropped to 9-6 (1991, 1981), they did so to playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys teams, not the NFL’s flotsam.