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Spying on Carpenter has more on Bobby Carpenter playing some defensive tackle as a spy.

When asked earlier this week if the Cowboys would use a spy to shadow Vick, Parcells told a reporter he would have to "come to the game" to find out.

As it turned out, the Cowboys used rookie linebacker Bobby Carpenter to keep a close eye on the Falcons elusive quarterback.

Playing the most significant role of the season, Carpenter was often used on the nickel defense, lining up initially as a defensive tackle.

"Sometimes I would drop off in coverage and then sometimes I did get in there and rush," Carpenter said. "I'd try to mix it up a little bit. But I thought we did a pretty good job on him."

Vick did rush for 56 yards to break the NFL's single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback, giving him 990 this season, surpassing Chicago's Bobby Douglass (968 in 1972).

"But he really didn't have that big, long run that he usually has," said Carpenter, who finished the game with 1½ sacks and two tackles. "He was effective and he did a good job passing, too. But I thought we did a good of keeping him in front of us for the most part."

Carpenter and DeMarcus Ware teamed up to corral Vick on a key sack in the third quarter, and the rookie from Ohio State got Vick down by himself with a sack early in the fourth.

"It felt good to get in there and really contribute," Carpenter said. "I haven't been able to say that much this year. But this was a big win for us, so I'm glad I was able to help out."

Nice to see Carpenter contributing more. He had a couple of nice pass rushes against the Saints, and now he got involved as a spy in the nickel and he had 1.5 sacks. Solid stuff from the rookie. I'll break down his game in detail in the film review later today.

The playoff picture has cleared up some for the Cowboys. For one, we know we're in. Next, if we can beat the Eagles, we got the NFC East.

The Cowboys are still in first place of the NFC East by one game over the Eagles, who will play a Christmas Day game at Texas Stadium, in all likelihood for the division title. If the Cowboys win, they will clinch the division, having a two-game lead on the Eagles with one to play.

Next, hope the Saints lose one of their last two games so we can snatch the #2 seed. They've got a big one next week in New York against the Giants, and the Giants will be desperate to hang on in the wild-card chase. Plus, Strahan might be back for them. By the time we play Monday night, we'll know if they won or lost. That Philly game could be for more than even the NFC East.

John Clayton already has the story line down for the Philly game.

Get ready for a Terrell Owens Christmas Carol. The ghosts of T.O.'s past are coming to possibly spoil the Cowboys' NFC East celebration.

If the Cowboys lose to the Eagles on Christmas Day, the NFC East lead falls into the hands of Philadelphia, the team that T.O. ripped apart last season.

Get it? Christmas day, the Eagles ... but wait, there's more:
When McNabb went down, the Eagles turned to Jeff Garcia, the quarterback T.O. verbally trashed before he started trashing McNabb.

Oh no, it's ghost #2, Jeff Garcia. Wait, aren't there supposed to be three ghosts? Bah humbug!

I guess we just wait to see what the league does to T.O. for his classless and vulgar act last Saturday.

The league office said Sunday it is investigating the incident.

In a first-round playoff game last season, Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was disqualified from the contest for spitting on Tampa Bay tailback Michael Pittman in the third quarter, and subsequently fined $17,500. Former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski, playing for the Denver Broncos at the time, was fined $7,500 in 1997 for spitting on San Francisco wide receiver J.J. Stokes.

Hopefully, just a fine. DeAngelo Hall is upset; you can read his comments in the article.

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