IRVING, Texas (AP) -Jason Witten kept running, undeterred that his helmet had been ripped off his head. Tony Romo proved to be just as good as a $67.5-million quarterback and Terrell Owens got to celebrate with an old wing-flapping dance.
Determined and dominating, the Dallas Cowboys (7-1) began their stretch of three consecutive division games with an overwhelming 38-17 victory at Philadelphia, where they hadn't had a lot of success in the past.
``A big step forward for us. ... To beat them in Philadelphia was a big step for us,'' coach Wade Phillips said Monday. ``We played real solid everywhere.''
Yes, things were much different Sunday night for the Cowboys after losing seven of their past eight games in Philadelphia (3-5).
``It was fun. It reminded me of high school. We were a dominant team,'' defensive end Marcus Spears said. ``It's going to be over by the third quarter, and the only people left in the stands are the families and the die-hard fans.''
At the midpoint of the season, it appears that the NFC East title will go through Dallas.
The Cowboys, whose only loss is to undefeated New England, can take another substantial step Sunday when they play at the New York Giants (6-2) in a rematch of the season opener Dallas won 45-35. New York has won six games in a row and is coming off its open date.
``Obviously, they've gotten better since week one and so have we,'' Owens said. ``I think right now we're starting to really define ourselves and really trying to work offensively, defensively, and special teams-wise, the whole team. So we can kind of solidify ourselves and separate ourselves.''
After the Giants, the Cowboys return home for a Nov. 18 game against Washington (5-3), the team Dallas also ends the regular season against on the road Dec. 30.
There weren't many Philadelphia fans left to see Witten's career-best 53-yard play in the fourth quarter. The tight end ran the final 30 yards without his helmet, which was ripped off when he caught the ball between two defenders who tried unsuccessfully to drag him down.
By then, Owens already had his 10 catches for 174 yards, both highs for his two seasons with the Cowboys.
Right after halftime, T.O. turned a short pass from Romo into a 45-yard TD and a 28-7 lead against the team that nearly two years to the date had banished him. When Owens scored, he flapped his arms the way he used to when catching passes from Donovan McNabb, but didn't even draw much response from the fans disgusted at their own team.
The stadium really started to empty after Witten's 20-yard TD catch in the third quarter made it 35-10.
``It got pretty empty in there,'' safety Ken Hamlin said. ``To have a quiet stadium when you're on an away game, that's pretty good.''
In Romo's first game since last week signing his big contract, one that could keep him with the Cowboys through at least 2013, he completed his first nine passes before taking a deep shot. Romo finished 20-for-25 for 324 yards, his fifth 300-yard game already this season, with three touchdowns.
``My side of it didn't really do anything,'' Romo said. ``It's nice, but I'm still waiting for something to be different in my life. I want some really cute girl just to come up to me and be like, 'You're rich, let's hang out!' But it hasn't happened to me yet.''
Notes: CB Anthony Henry returned after missing three games with a high ankle sprain. He had an interception, his fifth, and is again tied for the NFL lead. ... The Cowboys are at least 7-1 for the 10th time in franchise history. The last time was 1995, their last Super Bowl season. ... The 14 points Dallas scored in the first quarter Sunday were one more than the team had in the first quarter of the first seven games combined.

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