apparently the Cowboys had seen enough from Newman in practice to let him shadow Moss, or should we say the "Cowboys Killer."
Put a checkmark on that decision. Newman blanked Moss all night, limited the Redskins receiver to five catches while he picked off one of his own.
Phillips and the coaching staff challenged Newman and he responded.
How about the team's offensive approach? There weren't night and day differences, but a few new wrinkles that you expect with two weeks to prepare.
We saw a lot more sweeps and pulls in the running game. The last time around, we all remember the 11 rushing attempts - eight for Marion Barber, two for Terrell Owens, one for Tony Romo and none for Felix Jones - against the Redskins. But that wasn't the case on Sunday.
In fact, the Cowboys not only ran the ball, but used Barber on the outside more than we've seen all year.
We saw Terrell Owens go in motion a lot more and they tried to get him in space. We saw Owens, Roy Williams and Jason Witten all lined up on one side during a second-half drive.
Hey, we even saw a double-reverse, hot-potato-here-you-take-it, type of play with Roy Williams and Terrell Owens with Marion Barber and (gulp) Romo lead-blocking?
Ok, so maybe that was a little much. First of all, we have to take about five seconds and get 10 yards backwards before we can get started going forward. Secondly, I just went 1-2 without my franchise quarterback and the game he returns I've got him lead blocking down the field? No thanks.
Still, you like the imagination. And you have to remember that the passing conditions in Washington were limiting. The wind was swirling and your quarterback, despite his return, still wasn't 100 percent. For the circumstances of the game and the situation, the Cowboys called a good game - conservative, yet still productive.
And then with the game, and maybe even the season on the line, the Cowboys put together a drive for the ages.
The best part about it was how simple it was. Barber to the left, Barber to the right, Barber up the middle, Barber to the left, to the left again, and AGAIN. And I'm not even done, but you get the point. The Cowboys kept feeding the ball to their monster, and kept chewing up yards in the process.
So many times it seems coaches try to outsmart themselves. *Well, they all know we're going to run the ball on fourth-and-goal from the one with our Pro Bowl back . . . so we're gonna shock 'em with a tight-end fade. *
Not this time. The Redskins couldn't stop Barber, so the Cowboys kept giving it to him.
And when they faced fourth-and-one from the 17, there didn't seem to be much hesitation. A few players said there was a debate on the sidelines between the coaches on whether to kick the field goal or go for the first down.
The head coach is always the tiebreaker. He went for the first down, and guess what? Another run to Barber and a sweep to the right at that. It was a fitting end for Phillips, who seemed to have the right answers on that night.
I'm not saying voters need to start changing their Coach of the Year ballots or anything like that. But if we're gonna criticize for every loss and every mistake, then let's make darn sure we point out the good decisions as well.