Cowboys rock Eagles
AP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) ” Soon after Terrell Owens finished taunting fans by flapping his arms in the end zone, there weren’t many people left in the stands to boo.
T.O. stuck it to the Philadelphia Eagles again. He tortured the secondary and tormented the crowd.
Nearly two years to the day Owens was banished from the Eagles, the star receiver caught 10 passes for 174 yards and one touchdown to help the Dallas Cowboys dismantle Philadelphia 38-17 on Sunday night.
Tony Romo threw three TD passes, Marion Barber had 106 total yards and one score and NFC East-leading Dallas improved to 7-1 for the first time since 1995, their last Super Bowl winning season.
“It was gratifying, but the most important thing is we came in here and got a win,” Owens said. “I just wanted to come here and show these guys this is what I do. When I played here, I made plays and nothing is going to change.”
Desperately needing a victory to have any hope of defending their division championship, the last-place Eagles (3-5) were dominated on both sides.
It’s the worst start for Philadelphia since Andy Reid became coach in 1999. Reid had a tumultuous week, missing practice Thursday to be in court with his two oldest sons. A judge sentenced Garrett and Britt Reid to prison and likened Reid’s home to a “drug emporium.”
Owens, of all people, had sympathy for his former boss who kicked him off the team on Nov. 5, 2005, following a series of incidents, including repeated criticism of quarterback Donovan McNabb.
“It’s tragic for him to go through this,” Owens said. “I can’t do anything but wish him well.”
Right from the start, it was clear Reid and the Eagles were in for a tough night.
McNabb fumbled on the first play from scrimmage, and the Cowboys converted it into their first score, a 2-yard run by Julius Jones.
Owens had a key 23-yard catch on third-and-6 during that drive, just one of several big plays he made.
Unlike his visit to Philadelphia last year, T.O.’s second trip to Lincoln Financial Field since he was booted off the team he helped reach the 2004 Super Bowl was merely an afterthought.
There were no mock funerals in the parking lot or derisive chants in the stands. Even the boos lacked venom.
“There’s a lot of love in those boos,” Owens said with a wide smile. “The fans love me here.”
Once the Cowboys went up by 14 late in the second quarter, Owens tried to incite the rowdies. He strutted along the sideline, gesturing and yelling at the crowd behind the bench.
But the disappointed Philly faithful were too angry at their own team to worry about Owens’ antics. So, they directed their hostility at the Eagles as they ran off the field.
It got uglier after halftime when Dallas increased its lead to 28-7 on the first drive of the third quarter. Owens turned a short pass from Romo into a 45-yard TD catch.
Known for his flamboyant celebrations, Owens didn’t rub it in all that much. He just flapped his arms again the way he used to when he was catching passes from McNabb.
After Jason Witten caught a 20-yard TD pass to make it 35-10 in the third quarter, the stadium emptied. No one wanted to stick around and watch Owens celebrate anymore.
“It was just one of those nights,” Eagles defensive end Trent Cole said. “A team came in here and beat us on our own home field. It’s tough.”
Romo, who last week signed a six-year, $67.5-million contract extension, finished 20-for-25 for 324 yards and had one interception. He became the first quarterback the Eagles didn’t sack this season.
After Brian Westbrook’s 3-yard TD run tied it at 7, Romo tossed a 1-yard TD pass to Tony Curtis to give Dallas a 14-7 lead it never relinquished.
Philly’s defense got a turnover late in the second quarter when Lito Sheppard stepped in front of Romo’s pass to Patrick Crayton and intercepted it at the Eagles 8.
However, McNabb was picked by Ken Hamlin three plays later and Barber ran in from the 5 to give Dallas a 21-7 lead.
No team had scored more than 21 points against the Eagles in the first seven games, and a revamped defense had allowed just eight touchdowns in 77 possessions.
Dallas had its way, racking up 437 total yards.
Westbrook tied a team record with 14 catches for 90 yards. Don Looney also had 14 receptions for Philadelphia at Washington on Dec. 1, 1940.
McNabb was harassed often and hammered into the ground a few times. The five-time Pro Bowl QB was 27-for-46 for 264 yards, one TD, two interceptions and he was sacked three times.
While the Eagles try to figure out how to save a season that began with high expectations, the Cowboys are getting ready for an important matchup at the New York Giants (6-2) next Sunday.
“There’s no room for error,” McNabb said.
Notes: Cowboys coach Wade Phillips appointed Owens one of the captains for the game. … Owens moved into 12th place, ahead of Jimmy Smith, on the all-time list with 12,445 yards receiving. … Sheppard left with a knee injury and didn’t return.
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