The Dallas Cowboys came out as flat as Gwen Stefani. But the second half was a different story as the Cowboys roared back and thumped the Houston Texans 34 - 6. This after Houston led at halftime 6-3. Dallas was in danger early of following up one debacle with another, but the Dallas defense came up large, Terrell Owens finally got going, and the Dallas offensive line started blocking. Once the Texans couldn't get to Drew Bledsoe using the blitz, the Cowboys talent margin overwhelmed the Texans.
Interceptions by Greg Ellis and Anthony Henry gave the Cowboys short fields in the 3rd quarter, and Dallas took advantage with a Terrell Owens TD and a Marion Barber TD. Terrell Owens also capped off a 68-yard march with a TD on a fade pattern, a pattern the Cowboys should've been using much earlier in the season. The play takes advantage of Owens' size and strength. Owens even caught a TD pass from Tony Romo late in the 4th quarter, giving him three for the game.
Julius Jones passed the century mark again with 106 yards rushing on 22 carries. JJ showed more of his new-found running acumen, using patience to set up his blocks and making good, decisive cuts. Marion Barber was also running hard on a drive late in the 3rd quarter that ended up with Barber scoring a TD.
Drew Bledsoe played better than last week and did the one thing Parcells asked him to do, don't turn the ball over. Bledsoe didn't look particularly sharp early, but he did play within himself and managed two TD's, both to Terrell Owens. In the first half, the Cowboys offensive line was still struggling with the blitz, but unlike last week, they made adjustments at halftime and gave Bledsoe more time to throw. Consequently, Bledsoe had a good second half and the Cowboys ran away from the Texans. He finished 17 of 28 for 168 yards, 2 TD and no turnovers. He also connected on 60% of his passes, an improvement.
But the story of the day was the emergence of Terrell Owens. It didn't start out well, as Bledsoe was locked on Terry Glenn and Patrick Crayton for much of the first half. But as the second half unfolded, Bledsoe got Owens more involved. Bledsoe threw a beautiful fade pattern to Owens in the corner of the endzone and he muscled his way free of the CB and made the catch. On his second TD, Bledsoe threw it a little short, but in a good spot, and Owens worked his body around the defender to make the catch. He capped off his 3-TD performance by catching a short Tony Romo pass. Owens got wide open by running behind the line on a drag pattern and ended up in with no one around as Romo lofted the ball to him. Owens finished with 5 catches for 45 yards, the same number of yards he had last week, but this time added 3 TD's.
The Cowboys defense was stifling after the first drive of the game when the Texans went down the field for a FG. That drive was aided by 3 facemask penalties, which has to be some kind of record. The Texans ended up with only 34 yards rushing on the day, forcing them to become one-dimensional. The Dallas secondary recovered from a terrible performance last week and held the Texans out of the endzone. The Dallas defense has also started to get turnovers on a regular basis but they are still struggling to get a consistent pass rush.
On a day when they had to have a win, the Cowboys got it done. After starting slow, they steamrolled the Texans. As I said this week, they needed this win badly to calm some of the choppy waters and this should go a long way towards that. More importantly, Terrell Owens had a great day, got his TD's, and will probably be content for at least a week. If the Cowboys are smart, they'll keep Owens happy as best as they can. If Owens is smart, he realize he's on a team that could do something this year, and keep his mouth shut.