Taking a spin around the media coverage this morning of the Cowboys 38-28 win over the Falcons, the word character keeps coming up. The Cowboys showed the ability to stay within the moment, they didn't allow the negative thoughts of "here we go again" enter their mindset after the Falcons stormed back from a 14-0 deficit to take a 28-21 lead. Instead, the defense showed resolve and Romo and Barber led the offense.
"I think the team showed a lot of guts," Parcells said. "They fought hard. I was really proud of them."
Said owner-general manager Jerry Jones, "If you take what happened last week and then get behind, a lot of people might have hung their heads. This was big. It showed character. I'm impressed."
Count me impressed, too. As I was sitting in the stands after the Falcons scored a TD to go up 28-21, there was a feeling of doom that started to spread among the Cowboys faithful. We were all looking at each other like death-row inmates just after our final meal. All that was left was for the priest to console us on our way to the gallows. But the governor called in and gave us a stay of execution. Maybe that should be Romo's nickname, The Governor, because time and time again, he saves this team from execution. In fact, he saved our season from the gallows months ago.
Most impressive to Parcells was the 11-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter, including six consecutive runs by Barber -- the last one into the end zone.
Indeed, that last drive was a thing of beauty. Take the ball, drive right down the field, eat up the clock, score a TD, and send the other team to the gallows.
"We had a spy on him all night," said linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who returned a Vick interception 41 yards for a touchdown in the first half. "We played well...well enough to win."
Well enough to win. I like that, just keep playing well enough to win.
The defense still had a bad game, in the 2nd and 3rd quarters the Falcons looked like they were going to blow us right out of the stadium.
True, we need to tighten things up. One suggestion might be to fall on a fumble in traffic instead of picking it up, but at least Ayodele was trying to make a play. When it counted though, the defense stepped up.
Yup, Pat Watkins started the game at FS, and was often relieved on nickel situations by CB/safety Nate Jones. It looks like Parcells has decided to play Keith Davis on special teams and specialty defenses, like goal line, and let Watkins/Jones handle the FS position. There was another rookie who had sort of a breakout game.
"People were getting on me about what have you done," Carpenter said. "Everything comes with time. Everybody matures differently."
Carpenter did a great job of staying home when Vick would bootleg, he made tackles when he was supposed to, and he showed his versatility by adding another position to his knowledge bank; defensive tackle. That's right, on certain nickel plays Carpenter was lined up as a defensive tackle on the right side. He was dropping off the line and spying on Vick in some of those situations. Here's to Carpenter finally making contributions.
We'll take that as an affirmative. What did Romo have to say?
Terrell Owens had a splendid game. He scored 2 TD's, one of them a very difficult catch in the corner of the endzone. Both TD's came against nemesis DeAngelo Hall. And what we didn't know was Owens is injured.
Owens has torn tendons in his right ring finger. Jones said that had Owens elected to have the surgery, he'd be out for the rest of the season. But he would have full use of the upper portion of the finger.
"He will not be able to bend the upper joint on that right hand," Jones said. "He decided rather than be out for the year to not be able to bend that finger for the rest of his life. He felt strongly about staying with the team."
Said Owens, "I'm doing this for my team."
Nice, Owens is taking one for the team. But - how many times do I write a `but' after praising Owens - he did something totally classless in the game. He spit in DeAngelo Hall's face.
Hall was yapping all night, but no matter what he was saying, there's just no excuse for spitting in another man's face. You just don't do it. After all, wasn't it Owens himself who told us in his latest book about how someone spitting in his mouth as a youth scarred him for life? Of course, Hall is a grown man and this won't scar him at all, but Owens should know that this is a taboo you just don't do. But, as I wrote a few days ago, Terrell is a 24-hour truth serum; he didn't even lie about it after the game.
"I got frustrated and I apologize for that," Owens said. "It was a situation where he kept bugging me and kept getting in my face."
Marion Barber is "The Closer". When the Cowboys need to drain the clock and pound the ball down a defense's throat, they go to MB3. Bill Parcells has another nickname or two for MB3.
Parcells was joking because he's fond of his No. 2 back because he's no one-hit wonder.
Parcells has a nickname for Barber - "Droopy," because of the dour look on his face.
They could also call him the Sphinx, because he rarely talks to the media. But he did have this to say after the game.
Well, that's something, but let's got to Lou Polite for more on MB3.
Better, that's getting to the essence of MB3. But Parcells puts it this way, in the ever-colorful language of Tuna Talk.
But the ultimate compliment to the offense was paid by Falcons' defensive tackle Rod Coleman.
"They get into a rhythm," Coleman said, "and they kind of come at you in waves. Once they string a few plays together, and their confidence gets going, they get a look about them, that's like, 'You can't stop us now.' There came a time tonight, man, when we saw that look. [I] wished to hell we hadn't."
I love it. That's an offense that plays with confidence and reflects their leader, Tony Romo. Bradie James also liked what the offense did.
So after all that, we have a team that is back on the upswing, one that has put the Saints' loss behind them and went on the road to win a huge game. The confidence is back.
"When it was time to make plays and win the game, we were stepping up to the plate," linebacker Bradie James said.
This week, let's give the last word to the Tuna.