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(Reuters) - Quarterback Tony Romo was back near to his best following back surgery as the Dallas Cowboys dominated the New Orleans Saints to record a 38-17 victory in Arlington, Texas on Sunday.
Romo threw three touchdown passes, two to wide receiver Terrance Williams, and completed 22 of 29 passes for 262 yards.
Dallas went 8-8 last season, but Romo said this year's team has a strong work ethic that is reaping dividends.
"We're a different team this year," he told NBC television.
"Not everyone know a lot of the guys' names but they play hard, play aggressive and they work their butts off every day, as hard as I've ever seen it. I think it's showing up in the games."
A week after coming back from a 21-0 deficit to beat the St. Louis Rams, the Cowboys made a sizzling start and never gave the Saints a chance.
Dallas set the tone with their opening possession, when they made an 80-yard drive in 12 plays that culminated in a touchdown throw by Romo to Williams.
It only got worse for the Saints in the second quarter as the Cowboys scored two more touchdowns and piled on 17 more points to take a 24-0 lead at halftime.
New Orleans got on the board with a field goal early in the third quarter, but did not score again until the final quarter, with two quick touchdowns but Romo and Dez Bryant connected on an 18-yard pass to snuff out any hopes of a late fightback.
Reporting By Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury