Scoring Is All That Matters

Julius Jones' tippy-toeing 26-yard performance.

Slap Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn on their backs, the two starting wide receivers combining for 165 receiving yards on five catches apiece, not to mention Jason Witten, chipping in another five for 56 yards. All those who have been waiting for Owens to make a difference, this is for you: Two touchdown grabs, including the 51-yarder to put the Cowboys up 21-14 after the Falcons (7-7) erased a 14-point deficit.

And while we're at it, go ahead and just hug Martin Gramatica, who began the climb out of that 28-21 hole with a 48-yard field goal after the Cowboys had lost eight yards on consecutive plays.

Telling you, offense wins. Championships? That's to be determined, but if the Cowboys are going to give themselves a chance, then scoring 38 points sure can cure what ails ya.

Parcells, he doesn't agree.

"If we have to do that, we're not going to go far," Parcells barked. "Why would I think that?"

Well, Bill, because:

  • Your defense has now given up 70 points in two games, and 90 in the past three. That's 30 a game.
  • Your defense has given up 1,308 yards in the past three games. That's 436 a game.
  • Your defense allowed some Mike Karney to score four touchdowns on Sunday and some Justin Griffith to score two, and nearly three, the next Saturday. That's six touchdowns by fullbacks.
  • Your defense, getting gashed by plays of 61 yards and 50 last Sunday, follows that by giving up plays of 52 and 43 and 26 this Saturday, while allowing Ashley Lelie to catch his first touchdown pass as a Falcon, Vick to match his career high with four touchdown passes and Griffin to score as many touchdowns Saturday night as he had all season.
  • Your defense now has yielded nine touchdown passes in the past two games and 11 in the past three. That's nearly four a game in the past three.

So until your defense figures out how to cover a back out of the backfield, especially in the red zone, and also figures out how to cover a tight end down the hash, and figures out how to get to the quarterback when blitzing, then I'm guessing you best keep hitting your average that's now climbed to 27.6 points a game.

And, as you should know, having now scored 387 points with two games remaining, the eight times the Cowboys have tallied 400 points in a season they have had a winning record - which the Cowboys are assured of now in back-to-back seasons for the first time since (drum roll please, 1995-96) - and have qualified for the playoffs.

"At halftime we knew we were going to have to take that game over, and our offense did," Witten said. "We've been saying we have to finish drives at the end of games, because too many times we get three instead of seven."

That right there might have been the most impressive part of this offensive performance, leading by a tenuous 31-28 with 8:50 left and the ball at their own 20 after the defense finally halted the Falcons' streak of scores on four consecutive possessions with its second consecutive stop.

With the pressure on, and on just this game, but the season, Romo was magnificent. He hit Glenn on a tough 19-yard throw over his shoulder to get the Cowboys to their 41. He patiently sat in the pocket and fired to Witten in traffic for 14 more, moving the ball to the Atlanta 46. Then to Glenn for 11 more.

And while Barber got you out of your seat from then on, running six consecutive times for the final 35 yards on this 80-yard jaunt, Romo reminded you why you fell in love with him after those first five starts.

"This game is fun, isn't it?" Romo asked me in a near-deserted locker room afterward. "I was out there in the middle of that drive, just thinking how lucky I am to be playing this game.

"You know, at the end of the half, when they scored that touchdown (21-21), you just knew it was going to be one of those games (you had to score a lot of points).

"You just got to stay in it until the end."

The Cowboys did. They survived. Now they're likely in this season to the end.

How far away is that end?

Their offense will answer that.

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