GOLDBERG ON FOOTBALL: The "great" Cowboys dominate the NFC Print
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Sunday, 11 November 2007 16:27
NFL Headline News

 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Wade Phillips' comment wasn't what anyone expects in the super-cautious world of NFL coaches. But after his Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants 31-20 Sunday, Phillips couldn't quite contain himself.
``We have a great offense,'' he said. ``We don't have a good offense.''
No coach in midseason uses the first G-word. Very few use even the second: ``good.''
Listen to Bill Belichick mumble into a microphone after a win and you'd get the impression his Patriots were 0-9, or at least 3-6, instead of 9-0.
Phillips, obviously, is the anti-Belichick. He says what he thinks.
The Cowboys-Giants game was about as important as it gets these days in the NFC, the weaker of the NFL's two conferences, especially at the top. New York had lost its first two games, including a 45-35 defeat in Dallas on opening night, and then run off six straight wins. The Giants could have tied the Cowboys for first place in the NFC East with a victory.
Instead, Dallas is two games ahead plus a tiebreaker, two wins in which the Cowboys clearly established they are a better team. They have one more major obstacle ahead, a Nov. 29 game at home with Green Bay, the conference's other 8-1 team.
Frankly, it's hard to see the Packers beating them because to beat the Cowboys you have to outscore them, and Green Bay doesn't have the offensive weapons the Giants have.
This game was a good example why the Cowboys are better under Phillips than they were under Bill Parcells. They have Tony Romo from the outset, and he threw four touchdown passes on Sunday, using his mobility to neutralize the dynamic pass rush that was one of the main reasons New York turned its season around.
For three years and 4 1/2 games, Romo sat. For the latter part of that period it was because unless he's desperate, Parcells prefers experience before anything else, including talent.
Parcells finally got desperate at halftime of the Cowboys' game with the Giants in Dallas last season and inserted Romo after the immobile Drew Bledsoe had been beaten and battered and gave away the game with turnovers in the first half.
Romo couldn't rescue that one, but after he pulled out enough games to get Dallas into the playoffs and get himself rewarded 53 weeks later with a $67.5 million contract. He justified that and more on Sunday.
Naturally, Romo was asked if the money had affected him; he has beaten Philadelphia and New York on the road since signing the deal.
``You don't play the game for money,'' he replied. ``You play for the love of football and to win.''
With Romo, that is not a cliche. At least it doesn't appear to be. He plays the game with the spontaneity and the athletic ability of a young Brett Favre, who just happened to be his idol growing up in Wisconsin.
And he plays it with much of Favre's ability.
His first touchdown pass, on the game's first drive, was positively Favre-like.
On second-and-10 from the Giants 15, he was flushed out of the pocket to the right and started to scramble up the field. As he reached the line of scrimmage, he saw third-string tight end Tony Curtis standing alone in the left corner of the end zone - the opposite side of the field - and threw across his body for a touchdown just before he crossed the line of scrimmage.
The other special offensive player, of course, is Terrell Owens, who caught two long second-half TD passes after being held to three catches for 31 yards in a first half that ended tied at 17. He finished with six catches for 125 yards and those two TDs, and once again said all the right things - no fodder for the folks waiting for what many expect is the inevitable T.O. explosion.
Don't expect it to come. Owens seems much more content with Romo and Phillips than he has been with any coach and quarterbacks since ... he was at Tennessee-Chattanooga in 1995?
So Dallas moves on.
Is it better than New England? No. Not after being beaten at home by New England 48-27 after leading 24-21 in the third quarter.
But surely better than anyone in the NFC.
Let Wade Phillips use that ``G'' word right now. He deserves it.
 

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