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For A Change Cowboys All Riled Up

38-17. And really, if numbers mean anything, the game wasn't even that close. The Eagles outgained the Cowboys, 315-240. They held the Cowboys to a measly 53 yards running - their fewest since the third game of the 2004 season. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo would complete just 13 of 36 passes, his worst completion percentage of the season (36.1), intercepted him three times, sacked him a season-high four times and became the only team Romo failed to throw a touchdown against when playing more than a half last year. 

  In fact, it was the first time in 54 NFL regular-season games the Cowboys failed to score a touchdown 

  The loss didn't sit well with the Cowboys, who to that point of the season had only been beaten by New England. And while the Cowboys rallied to beat Carolina the following week, even though they lost Terrell Owens in the second quarter with a high ankle sprain, many wanted to identify this as another December slide since they lost the season finale at Washington when not playing their starters much more than a half. 

  Then they lose the first playoff game to the Giants, and no matter what, all fingers started pointing to that Philadelphia loss for the reason 13-3 turned into such season-ending sorrow in the playoffs. 

  "When we looked at it, we beat ourselves," Romo would say, probably causing the Eagles to grunt some, just as they certainly did after hearing Pacman Jones' comment about their season-opening 38-3 victory over St. Louis, minimizing their NFL-leading offensive effort by saying, "They beat the Rams, dude." 

  The Eagles certainly will disagree with Romo's assessment for his career-low 22.8 QB rating, yep, even worse than the five-interception game at Buffalo on a Monday night. They will brag about the pressure they put on Romo, and claim he is just another in a long line of Cowboys quarterback who don't play well against them.  

  They will claim they have discovered the secret to stopping Romo, since he has generated only 13 points in two of his three starts against them, evidently the 38-pointer notwithstanding. 

  Wonder if they remember Romo bruising the thumb on his throwing hand in the third quarter, and even though he would not use the swelling thumb as an excuse, several balls he delivered coming out of his hand quite weird. 

  Now it wasn't as if Romo was doing a silent burn this past week when having to answer questions about the Eagles and how they dismantled the Cowboys offense last year. But he certainly wasn't being his normally cooperative self, actually becoming quite obstinate at one point, saying, "They're good . . . we have some real good players here." 

  Or this? 

  "I don't think it was any more than what it was," Romo deflected those who wanted to suggest the Eagles have unlocked the key to stopping Romo. 

  Detect a measure of seething still going on? 

  Yeah, 10-6 has not been forgotten, nor the residue. 

  And if nothing else, the indelible memory of that loss just has to be Philadelphia running back Brian Westbrook kneeling on their pride, scooting 24 yards from the Cowboys 25 to the one, and with the Cowboys out of timeouts, purposely falling to the ground at the doorstep of the end zone so the Eagles could kneel out the final two minutes - making sure the Cowboys did not unearth another of last year's patented miraculous comebacks. 

  "The thing I remember about that game," Spears says, "we couldn't get nothing going." 

  That the Cowboys remember is the operative word surrounding this game, one that if, as Spears maintains, "is blow for blow early, you're in for an all-nighter." 

  So maybe for a change the Cowboys will not treat this as just another in a 16-game season. Maybe they have something to work themselves up with, more so than just bracing for another one of these NFC East smack-downs against a team imbedded with deep-seated animosity toward them. 

  If not, heck, let's find out where Wade Phillips will stop for breakfast Monday morning. Grandmothers have a way of delivering the message.               

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