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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott threw three touchdown passes, two to Dez Bryant, in the first game with Tony Romo as his backup, and the Dallas Cowboys set a franchise season record with their ninth straight win, beating the Baltimore Ravens 27-17 on Sunday.
The Cowboys (9-1) punted on their first four possessions — a first this season — against the NFL’s No. 1 defense. They marched 92 and 88 yards on their first two drives of the second half to break a 10-10 tie. Both drives ended with TD passes to Bryant , who had six catches for 80 yards.
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Romo, who broke a bone in his back in a preseason game, was active for the first time since Thanksgiving last year, and was the Dallas backup for the first time in 10 years.
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The 36-year-old never took off his baseball cap, although he was watching with interest as medical personnel surrounded Prescott after the rookie went down hard on a late hit by C.J. Mosley after throwing his first touchdown pass , to Cole Beasley in the second quarter.
Prescott bounced off the bench moments later and finished 27 of 36 for 301 yards for another 300-yard game a week after his first. He was 14 of 15 in the second half after the sluggish start for the Dallas offense.
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The Ravens (5-5), who lost to Dallas for the first time in five games in franchise history, controlled the tempo most of the first half. Baltimore stayed close on Joe Flacco’s 5-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter to Steve Smith, who became the 14th player with 1,000 career catches.
But Dallas’ third possession of the second half took more than six minutes before Dan Bailey’s 21-yard field goal for a 10-point lead with 1:50 remaining.
NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott broke the Dallas club rookie rushing record of 1,007 yards set by Tony Dorsett in 1977. That’s the same year the Cowboys set the previous franchise mark with an 8-0 start. Dallas won the Super Bowl that season.
Elliott had 97 yards to give him 1,102 this season.
GET HIM THE BALL
Elliott didn’t have a touch in the second quarter, but had 10 for 70 yards in the third. That included an 8-yard catch when he did what’s becoming his customary hurdle over Tavon Young, one of the cornerbacks filling in with Jimmy Smith sidelined by a back injury.
1,000 FOR SMITH
Baltimore receiver Steve Smith’s 1,000th career catch came on the first play of the second half, a 22-yarder over the middle. His 999th was a toe-tapping gem on the sideline in the first half and held up after a review challenge from Dallas coach Jason Garrett. The 16th-year pro finished with 99 yards on eight catches, putting him at 1,005 for his career.
BY THE NUMBERS
Terrance West had an 18-yard run for Baltimore’s first touchdown and 42 yards rushing at halftime, but one carry for zero yards in the second half. … Flacco was 23 of 35 for 269 yards.
Ravens: A key NFC North matchup with Cincinnati in the first of consecutive home games. Surging Miami follows.
Cowboys: Annual Thanksgiving game against the most traditional of opponents: the Redskins. The Cowboys will have a chance for big cushion over Washington and Philadelphia in the NFC East, with Giants hanging closer in second place.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler
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