Losing was not an option

There's no way to clinch an NFL playoff berth in September. But the Cowboys didn't want to find out if the same is true of the prospect of playoff elimination three games into the regular season.

The Cowboys, who dropped two games the team had a chance to win in the final minutes to the Redskins and Bears, simply couldn't fathom the thought of going into the bye this week with a record of 0-3, two games behind first-place Philadelphia.

Now they don't have to.

The Cowboys might have saved their season with a 27-13 victory at Houston. The team performed up to expectations and the product was much closer to what the players — and their owner — had envisioned in the preseason.

"We had much at stake here," owner Jerry Jones said. "Two losses in a row was very disappointing. To open the season with two losses was the third- most disappointed I've been since I've owned the team. We had our backs against the wall with our bye week coming up. If we didn't get it done, here, it would be five weeks of the NFL season without a win. That was very much etched in my mind."

Jones is no longer talking openly or with great confidence about the Cowboys making a Super Bowl run — as he had through the offseason and early summer — and becoming the first team to play in a Super bowl at their own stadium.

But he is feeling good about this team's chances, and even better about the resolve to get it done when they needed it most.

The Cowboys had much more than their backs against the wall last week. Opening the season with two losses resulted in player meetings, a change in the practice schedule and emotional pregame speeches. The Cowboys were a desperate team and played like they were not going to be denied.

Coach Wade Phillips never doubted the Cowboys would right themselves and get a win — they just had to.

"(Losing) wasn't a possibility in my mind," Phillips said. "It was an emotional week. All these things come together. Now you have to back it up. But I thought we were ready. Our team came out and showed the way we can play."

At 1-2, the Cowboys are tied with the Giants and Redskins, one game behind the NFC East-leading Eagles (2-1). The Cowboys next game is against the Titans Oct. 10 at Cowboys Stadium.

"We played with fire," linebacker Bradie Jame said. "We were relentless. We wouldn't be denied. You don't want to go to the bye week with a loss and be 0-3. We wanted to get a win. It was a total team effort."

CowboysHQ Top Stories