SCHUYLER DIXON, AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — If Tony Romo really is becoming the second option in the Dallas offense, he’s perfectly happy handing the leading role to DeMarco Murray.
“I love that kid,” Romo said after the two paired up to produce all four touchdowns in the Cowboys’ sixth straight victory, 31-21 over the New York Giants on Sunday. “He really exemplifies everything you want in a player. He’s hard-working. He’s humble. He’s a team-first guy. He’s talented. He’s explosive.”
And now Murray is the first running back in NFL history to start a season with seven straight 100-yard games, breaking Hall of Famer Jim Brown’s 56-year-old record. Murray ran for 128 yards and a late touchdown that came after a replay reversal, which denied Romo his fourth touchdown pass.
“I think we did it as a group,” said Murray, the NFL rushing leader with 913 yards. “It’s hard for me to accept this individually.”
Romo settled for three scoring tosses, and the Cowboys (6-1) kept rolling after beating Super Bowl champion Seattle on the road last week. It’s their best start since winning six of their first seven on the way to a 13-3 finish in 2007, when they were the top seed in the NFC before losing to New York in their first playoff game.
“I think our record is above what we could have expected, but we have it and it’s a credit to a team that’s building in their confidence,” owner Jerry Jones said. “That wasn’t the same team that went to Seattle, that came home from Seattle, and I know this team, the Giants, had a lot to say, a lot to prove today.”
Eli Manning had three touchdown passes for the Giants (3-4), who have lost road games to the NFC East’s top two teams in consecutive weeks. New York now has two-game skids on either side of a three-game winning streak.
“We’ve lost a couple important games in a row, but we have a lot of games to play,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “We’re going to have to do something about it. Our consistency has to be there.”
Second-year Dallas tight end Gavin Escobar had his first two-touchdown game, and Dez Bryant finished with a season-high 151 yards receiving. Romo was 17 of 23 for 279 yards with an interception.
Bryant was the one who had the touchdown taken away when he stretched his left arm over the goal line as he was being tackled by Prince Amukamara. The call was overturned on review, and Murray scored on the next play for a 28-14 fourth-quarter lead.
Murray didn’t return in the first half after falling down in the open field on his longest run before halftime, a 21-yard sprint around right end. He spent a few minutes with trainers on the sideline but didn’t leave the field.
The fourth-year back from Oklahoma returned in the second half and broke Brown’s record on a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter after a 15-yard carry put him on the verge of setting the mark. His 28 carries marked the second time this season there were more Murray runs than Romo passes.
After the Giants pulled within seven on Odell Beckham Jr.’s second touchdown catch, Murray had seven carries on a time-killing drive to Dan Bailey’s 49-yard field goal for a two-score lead with 1:05 to go.
“You’ve heard me say this thousands of times,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Bell cow, whatever you want to call him. We’re going to hand him the ball. And we believe in that. He’s certainly capable of handling that.”
New York tight end Larry Donnell had team highs of seven catches for 90 yards but fumbled twice. The first one set up Murray’s touchdown and the second clinched the Dallas victory in the final minute.
Beckham was starting in Victor Cruz’s place in the Giants’ first game since their star receiver was taken off the field in tears when he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in last week’s 27-0 loss at Philadelphia.
“It’s definitely hard not having him out there,” said Beckham, who had four catches for 34 yards. “Just his presence. It’s something where all the receivers just have to step up now and fill his shoes.”
The first score for Beckham was a 9-yard catch for a 7-all tie in the second quarter. The Giants went ahead less than 4 minutes later on Manning’s 27-yard pass to Daniel Fells on the first play after Bryant fell on a deep route, giving Amukamara an easy interception that he returned 38 yards.
NOTES: Manning was 21 of 33 for 248 yards. … Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (strained calf) and LB Jon Beason (toe) were injured in the first half and didn’t return. … Brown’s streak of six straight 100-yard games to start 1958 ended when he had 83 yards on 21 carries in a loss to Detroit. … Cowboys LB Justin Durant forced the clinching fumble by Donnell and recovered the first one.