Terry Glenn Hitting His Prime

On the way to the team bus, Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn carried two of his three touchdown balls from Sunday's 38-7 victory against the Lions in a clear plastic bag.

He said he forgot to get the first ball from the official. One of the remaining two is a gift for Cynthia Gwinn, the mother of Glenn's best college friend and teammate, Jason, who was killed in a car accident during Glenn's sophomore year at Ohio State.

Gwinn used to tease Glenn, while she carpooled the two players around, that if he ever caught a bunch of touchdowns in a game he had to give her a ball.

He is finally making good because he finally had a multiple-touchdown game in the NFL.

"Yeah, I think I am," the Cowboys' 29-year-old receiver responded confidently when asked if he felt he was just hitting his prime. "It's been a while."

His personal Sahara was not the only dry spell to end Sunday.

Glenn's three-touchdown performance was the first by a Cowboys receiver since Michael Irvin did it in 1992. And the victory marked the first time the Cowboys beat the Lions since, you guessed it, 1992. Irvin, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith were manning all of Dallas' key offensive positions then and, not surprisingly, that season ended in Pasadena, Calif., with a Super Bowl trophy.

Nobody is saying Glenn, Quincy Carter and Troy Hambrick are as good, but the Cowboys' offense looks pretty real and the team is 5-1.

"That doesn't mean anything," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said, sticking to his standard line.

He is not convinced because a.) It is too early, and b.) Their five consecutive victories have come against teams with a combined record of 9-21, including a 1-5 Detroit team. Yes, the Lions are awful and beating them is not a sign of anything more than the Cowboys taking care of business. Next week against Tampa Bay will be a much better indication. But the Lions were just as awful last season. The Cowboys were simply worse. Especially on offense. So Sunday is progress. Especially on offense.

"We were better, but we've got to get better than that," said tight end Dan Campbell, who said Dallas had been dancing a dangerous line on offense by playing just well enough to win. "Because I'm telling you we have the capability of being a dangerous offense."

If they are not there, they are close. Offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon has them performing like an in-step marching band.

The running game, led by Hambrick, averaged 3.1 yards a carry Sunday and accounted for 134 of the Cowboys' 331 offensive yards. Carter has proved to be better than a bus driver, finishing Sunday's game with a personal-best 133.3 quarterback rating. And the Cowboys' receivers have been beyond superlatives.

What can you say about a group that, when Joey Galloway is held without a catch, still accounts for 198 yards and three touchdowns?

"It is a big advantage," Carter said. "You might key on one guy and the others will be open. We've got a lot of options in our offense."

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