Cowboys Beat Jets, Improve To 10-1, Set Stage For Packers
Friday, November 23rd 2007, 11:03 am
By: News On 6
IRVING, Texas (AP) Tony Romo took a few minutes before the Dallas Cowboys' traditional Thanksgiving Day game to watch Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers on television. Next week, Romo will only have to look across the field to see one of his childhood heroes. And the quarterback who grew up in Wisconsin will be trying to beat the team he still cheers on for the outright NFC lead.
With their methodical 34-3 holiday victory over the New York Jets, the Cowboys improved to 10-1 for the first time in team history. That kept them even with Green Bay, which won at Detroit earlier in the day.
``It'll be a fun game next week. Obviously it's important in the NFC,'' Romo said. ``Anytime you play in a big game, it's enjoyable. The fact it's the Packers is exciting for me. ... I still root them on, although slowly I'm starting to root against them.''
The NFC showdown that has been looming is finally the next game for the Cowboys and Packers.
Since their loss to still-undefeated New England, the Cowboys have won five straight games. Romo and Co. have reached 10 wins faster than any other team in the history of the franchise that has won five Super Bowl titles.
Green Bay stretched its winning streak to six games with a 36-27 victory at Detroit. The three-time Super Bowl champion Packers are 10-1 for the first time since 1929.
``I could have never anticipated that we'd have that matchup with the Packers,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.
``It's exciting. I think Tony, he never gets too excited about anything, but obviously that's his childhood hero,'' tight end Jason Witten said. ``The picture is bigger than that, the showdown, both teams being 10-1 and what all goes with that.''
Romo led the Cowboys on a game-opening touchdown drive, then later threw scoring passes to Witten and Terrell Owens, the second a 22-yarder with 6:12 left in the game. That gave Romo 29 TDs, matching Danny White's single-season team record with five games still to play. Romo finished 21-of-28 for 195 yards.
Terence Newman had a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown, the first in his five seasons, to put the Cowboys up 21-0 midway through the second quarter.
Coming off a victory over AFC power Pittsburgh, the Jets (2-9) quickly reverted to the form that lost their previous six games.
Kellen Clemens, who ended 12-of-27 for 142 yards, was sacked on each of his first two series and New York didn't cross midfield until its final drive of the second quarter. Things were so bad that at the 2-minute warning, Jets coach Eric Mangini challenged the spot of a third-down play, hoping to trim a yard or two off fourth-and-3. He didn't get an inch.
And all that came in New York's good half. After intermission, the Jets didn't get a first down until there was 5:19 left in the game, part of a drive that ended on a fourth-down completion inside the 1-yard line.
``We weren't able to get into a groove,'' receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. ``Once we fell behind, they pretty much did whatever they wanted.''
The 31-point margin was a season high for both teams. Dallas also did not allow a touchdown for the first time this season.
``I thought it was a solid, solid game,'' Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. ``We played well throughout. That's the way we need to play at home.''
Owens had six catches for 65 yards and upped his touchdown streak to five straight games. He has 13 TDs, matching his NFL-leading total from last season and coming within one of the team record. He failed to extend a four-game run of 100-yard games, but didn't care.
``Man, the most important thing is that we won,'' Owens said. ``I think we're headed in the right direction.''
The Jets fumbled away the kickoff after Dallas' opening TD. They then had four punts and an interception with only three first downs before driving for a field goal right before halftime.
``We couldn't handle the big stage,'' safety Kerry Rhodes said of the holiday outing on national television. ``We didn't play good enough to win. It's indicative of our season.''
Dallas now starts preparing for a game that will determine NFC supremacy for now. For later, it could mean home-field advantage in the playoffs, and the possibility for the Cowboys to play at home in late January rather than a postseason trip to frigid Green Bay or somewhere else.
``We made history today,'' Bradie James said. ``It really doesn't matter if we don't go and win the Super Bowl.''