'Boys - Pats a Super Bowl Preview?

Ever since the Cowboys beat the Bears two weeks ago, people in Dallas have pointed to the Oct. 14 showdown with the New England Patriots.

It's considered by some to be a Super Bowl preview.

To get there, the Cowboys had to avoid the trap of facing the winless St. Louis Rams and then survive a Monday night matchup at the Buffalo Bills (1-3).

The Cowboys handled the first objective with 28 unanswered points between the second and third quarter en route to a 35-7 blowout victory against the Rams.

It was a game in which quarterback Tony Romo continued his impressive surge from Cinderella story last season to a possible MVP candidate this season.

Romo passed for 339 yards -- marking the third time in four outings he has surpassed the 300-yard mark this season. He also ran for a score and passed for three scores.

Romo's importance to the Cowboys was highlighted by a play in which center Andre Gurode snapped the ball over Romo's head on third-and-three from the 50.

Romo kicked the ball before finally picking it up at the 16 yard line. Running for his life and away from Rams defenders, he turned upfield. Thirty-eight yards later he had a Cowboys first down.

He finished the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run, turning a 7-7 game into a 14-7 halftime lead. It was no contest thereafter.

"When it (Romo's scramble) happened, it reminded me of (Roger) Staubach," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. "It was a miracle play. It jump-started us and the crowd."

The Cowboys moved to 4-0 on the season in what was their fourth double-digit victory in as many outings.

While Phillips compared Romo to Staubach, receiver Terrell Owens said Romo reminded him of Steve Young and Donovan McNabb for his ability to make plays with his arm and legs.

Linebacker Bradie James called him the magic man.

What's true is that Romo is the main man in what is an explosive Cowboys offense. The Cowboys have scored 151 points, the third most for the first four games in team history.

The 502 yards of offense against the Rams were the most by a Cowboys team since 1999.

What shouldn't be overlooked going forward is the Cowboys are starting to get healthy again on defense. Cornerback Terence Newman is back after missing the first two games with a torn right plantar fascia. And linebacker Greg Ellis made his season debut against the Rams after missing the first three games because of his surgically repaired torn left Achilles.

Ellis had 1.5 sacks against the Rams and will team with linebacker DeMarcus Ware to form a formidable pass rush tandem.

"There is no doubt we have improved with Ellis and Newman back," owner Jerry Jones said. "It makes me feel good about our defense and we have been impressive. We also have help on the way with Tank Johnson."

OTHER NOTES: WR Patrick Crayton's 184 receiving yards against the Rams marked his second career 100-yard game. It also is the highest receiving yardage output of his career, surpassing the 104 yards he had at Arizona last Nov. 15. The 184 receiving yards marked the 14th best receiving yardage day in club history. Crayton's seven catches establishes a single-game career-best, passing his previous mark of six at Arizona. All seven of his catches went for first downs, with five of those catches coming on touchdown drives. With touchdown catches of 59 yards and 37 yards, it was the first multiple-touchdown game of his career.

* LB Greg Ellis made his season debut against the Rams and recorded his first sack of the season. It was Ellis's first game action since suffering a torn left Achilles' tendon at Arizona last Nov. 15. He added a half sack to mark his 14th career multiple sack game.

* RB Julius Jones scored a rushing touchdown in the second quarter against the Rams. It was his first touchdown of the season and first rushing touchdown since he had a 77-yard rush for a score against New Orleans last Dec. 10.

* WR Terrell Owens now has 820 career catches, allowing him to pass Steve Largent (819) into 13th place on the NFL's all-time list.

* QB Tony Romo became the 10th quarterback in club history to reach 4,000 career passing yards with 339 yards against the Rams. It marked his second-most passing yards in a game and was also the sixth 300-yard outing of his career, ranking him fourth in club history behind Troy Aikman (13), Danny White (10) and Don Meredith (seven) for career 300-yard games.

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