When Tony Romo and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys starters were on the field in the preseason opener, all that Super Bowl talk certainly seemed relevant.
That makes it easier to look past the disappointing play after the starters sat.
The Cowboys lost 31-17 Saturday night at San Diego, which scored 24 consecutive points after Romo and Co. were flawless in their only series. There were two Dallas turnovers that led to Chargers touchdowns and three pass interference penalties that aided scoring drives.
``Overall, I feel like we obviously didn't play well as a team,'' coach Wade Phillips said. ``I was disappointed that some of them (nonstarters) didn't do better.''
Encouraging, though, was how the Cowboys' No. 1 offense and defense looked for the brief time they played two weeks into training camp.
San Diego went three-and-out on the opening series of the game. Tank Johnson, who joined the Cowboys for the second half of last season after serving an NFL suspension, sacked Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers on the drive.
Romo then completed all three of his passes for 33 yards and Marion Barber - the clear-cut starter after Julius Jones left in free agency - ran four times for 24 yards. Fullback Deon Anderson capped the eight-play, 54-yard drive with a 2-yard scoring plunge.
``We were pretty efficient,'' Romo said. ``We've been having a good training camp. We're excited to come out and play with the confidence we've had so far. ... We have so many veterans, when we step on the field, we feel confident we should score.''
There are super expectations for the Cowboys after they matched a team record by winning 13 games last season. They return all of the NFL-record 13 Pro Bowl players from that team.
Seven of those Pro Bowlers are on offense: Romo, Barber, receiver Terrell Owens, tight end Jason Witten and offensive linemen Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis and Flozell Adams.
The only change in the starting offense from last season's bitter finale, the home playoff loss to the New York Giants, was Anderson at fullback. Anderson ended last season hurt, and the Cowboys started the playoff game with two tight ends.
Maybe the Cowboys and Chargers get to play again - in February. San Diego made it to the AFC Championship game last season and, like the Cowboys, has super expectations this year.
Adam ``Pacman'' Jones, who may not know until Sept. 1 if he will be fully reinstated from his NFL suspension, played in his first NFL game since the 2006 season finale for Tennessee.
Jones, who didn't start at cornerback, drew one of the pass interference penalties, got beat by Chris Chambers on a 21-yard pass and missed a couple of tackles. Jones had one tackle.
``I haven't played football in a year, so it's a little cool. I love competing. It won't be like this for long,'' Jones said. ``I just have to work on my tackling. I think everything else will come along. I did OK guarding people for being out for a little while.''

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