IRVING, Texas (AP) -As the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers prepare to meet Sunday, folks in both locker rooms might be saying, ``Remember the Rams.''
OK, so it's not the most original thing. But it sure is apt. And the twist is that the rallying cry means opposite things to each team.
For the Cowboys, their game against St. Louis marks the low point of this season, a 20-point loss that wasn't even that close in a game they were expected to win. Thus, the reminder is all about staying humble.
Strange as that might seem for a club that hasn't won consecutive games since September, Dallas is ripe for an inflated ego.
Maybe fans can think that way. Players can't, at least not if Dallas coach Wade Phillips can help it.
``We lost to St. Louis, that's all I have to say,'' he said.
For further emphasis, Phillips could note this score from last Sunday: 49ers 35, Rams 16.
Or, if he really wants to rub it in, he could note that San Francisco led 35-3 against a team Dallas trailed 34-7.
Beating St. Louis was huge for the 49ers. It was their first victory under interim coach Mike Singletary and the throttling performance came a week after they'd blown a late lead over Arizona.
Thus, ``Remember the Rams'' means picking up where they left off. So far, they've already been climbing a step every week, going from ugly home loss to narrow defeat on the road to lopsided victory. Beating an over-.500 team on the road would be the next step on the Singletary progress chart, the kind of thing that'll help when he lobbies to have ``interim'' dropped from his title.
It's worth noting that San Francisco's three wins have come against teams that are a combined 4-26.
``I want to see our guys go out week in and week out and compete and try to get better every day, every game,'' Singletary said. ``That's really important for us. There's a place we want to go and we want to look at ourselves and be proud of what we're establishing.''
nt to college at Baylor, about an hour and a half away. His coach there, Grant Teaff, remains a mentor and close friend, and will be in the stands watching for the first time since Singletary took over. Plus, Singletary interviewed for the Dallas job before last season, when Phillips ended up getting it.
He insists none of it will matter Sunday.
``I think it's an opportunity to come in and to compete against a very good football team,'' the Hall of Fame linebacker said. ``We just have to make sure that on this end, we prepare as best we can.''
Singletary isn't San Francisco's only change. The 49ers have a new quarterback, too, with Shaun Hill replacing J.T. O'Sullivan since the coaching change.
Pushed by offensive coordinator Mike Martz and bolstered by running back Frank Gore, Hill was chosen the NFC offensive player of the week for his performance against the Rams. Now he's got to prove it wasn't a fluke against a defense that's coming off its best performance of the season, limiting Washington to two first-half scoring drives, both on short fields, in a 14-10 victory.
The good news for Hill is that Martz called a great game against them last year, when he was with Detroit. The Lions led 27-14 before falling 28-27.
team where the T.O. phenomenon was born.
Although this is his fifth season away, it will be only the second time he faces the 49ers. Few former teammates remain, but San Francisco fans certainly remember when No. 81 was on their side.
Owens doesn't have a 100-yard receiving game this season and hasn't even cracked 70 in October or November. He was sent home from team headquarters Wednesday because of flulike symptoms. It seems unlikely this would be his breakout game - but, with T.O., that could mean the time is right.
Romo also should be better than he was last week, his first game in a month. He's more comfortable throwing with a splint protecting the broken pinkie on his passing hand, although he's also lobbying to play without it. The Cowboys haven't scored more than 14 points the last five games after averaging 29.2 the first six games.
``If we can execute and protect and do some of the things that I think we can, we've got a good chance to put some points on the board,'' Romo said.
With Dallas moving to a new stadium next year, this will be San Francisco's final visit to Texas Stadium.
While the Redskins, Giants and Eagles have been far more frequent foes, the 49ers and Cowboys have played the most memorable games against each other, both franchises often being on the upswing at the same time.
972 (preceding Dallas' first-ever Super Bowl title) and January 1994 (preceding the second championship of the Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin era).

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