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December 16, 2012

Cowboys continue December turnaround after years of struggling in that month

With the team's 27-24 overtime win over Pittsburgh, Dallas is 3-0 in December and has assured itself of a winning record in that month for the first time since the 2001 season. That represents a marked turnaround for a franchise with a combined mark of 26-39 in December games for the past 15 seasons, including this year’s 3-0 stretch.

“This has been particularly gratifying,” said owner Jerry Jones, who has seen the surge elevate the Cowboys (8-6) into a share of first place in the NFC East. “We’ve thought we’ve had some pretty good teams that might not have not have had a winning December.”

But it is this team, which has 12 players on injured reserve and another (NT Jay Ratliff) who will not return unless the team makes the playoffs, that has found a way to get on a roll in the final month of the regular season. Dallas is 5-1 in its last six games, with the lone loss coming against Washington, 38-31, on Thanksgiving Day.

"We're battling and peaking," said quarterback Tony Romo. "If you find ways to win, it's a great thing ... We need name tags (because of excessive roster turnover). A couple of the guys earlier, I said, 'Great job, No. 20.' I know his name is (Michael) Coe now. But there are a bunch of guys who just got here that are playing and getting a bunch of minutes.

"We got in a hole early (with a 3-5 start). From that point on, you feel like every game you're playing in is for your playoff life. So, our team has had to have that attitude and we've taken that approach. We will continue to do that."

_ Jimmy Burch  

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