|No longer undefeated, Cowboys still confident and like odds of super rematch|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 15 October 2007 12:13|
Sure, they're disappointed about missing a chance to prove themselves against one of the NFL's best and losing a rare meeting of 5-0 teams.
Still, the Cowboys expect to see the New England Patriots again this season, when the outcome will mean more than remaining perfect in mid-October.
``If they make it to Arizona, we will see them again. Seriously, I'm not backing down from that statement,'' receiver Patrick Crayton said Monday, a day after a 48-27 loss to the Patriots.
Terrell Owens wasn't in the locker room Monday, but said after the game, ``We'll see them down the road.''
Well, there's only one way that can happen. The Patriots and Cowboys, the only teams to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span, both have to make it to Super Bowl XLII in Arizona on Feb. 3.
While nobody else from the Cowboys proclaimed a super rematch as strongly as Crayton and Owens - ``I hope we play them again,'' coach Wade Phillips said - it was clear the loss didn't shake their confidence.
``The goal is to get to the playoffs, and win enough to get where want to be, and we're still on course to do that,'' Greg Ellis said.
``We're still 5-1. No, it wasn't beautiful and we got spanked a little bit,'' Bradie James said. ``One game is not going to define you. ... Our confidence hasn't wavered. We still have opportunities to be successful, and that's what we're going to do.''
While denied being 6-0 for the first time since 1983, when Tom Landry was coaching, the Cowboys' 5-1 record is matched in the NFC only by Green Bay.
New England is the lone NFL team with more than five victories. Indianapolis (5-0), the only other undefeated team, is coming off a bye week and will host the Patriots in three weeks.
For now, the Cowboys don't have to compare themselves with the AFC powerhouses, their only remaining regular season game with an AFC team is Thanksgiving Day with the New York Jets (1-5). They just need to take care of themselves in the NFC.
``You still have to look at it as a season. Right now, we're 5-1, there aren't many teams in the NFC that are 5-1,'' Phillips said. ``It's disappointing, this one game we've lost, but we've got to go forward.''
The Cowboys are home again Sunday against Minnesota (2-3) before their bye week. After the break, they play their three NFC East foes in consecutive weeks, going to Philadelphia and the New York Giants before hosting Washington. The Redskins are the first of three home games in 11 days, including the holiday game and a game the following Thursday night against the Packers.
Dallas, whose last Super Bowl came a dozen seasons ago, hasn't won an NFC East title since 1998.
The Cowboys overcame a 14-0 deficit against the Patriots and went ahead 24-21 on Crayton's 8-yard TD catch on Dallas' opening drive of the third quarter. It's the only time this season the Patriots have trailed after halftime, and the first time they allowed more than 17 points.
New England scored on its last five drives (three touchdowns, two field goals), and has won every game by at least 17.
Phillips refused to call the Patriots a measuring-stick game.
``It was an important game for us. I don't measure them,'' Phillips said. ``We had our opportunities and we fought back. I know the score doesn't look like it, but certainly I think everybody can feel like we were right in there, except for those penalties.''
Dallas trailed 31-24 on the opening play of the fourth quarter when Marion Barber easily converted a fourth-and-1 near midfield. However, a holding call, one of 12 penalties against the Cowboys, wiped out the play and forced a punt.
The Pats' go-ahead touchdown came after a pass interference call in the end zone in the third quarter.
Phillips wasn't interested in questioning those two calls publicly.
``I got beat,'' he said, ``but I don't want to get fined.''