Tuesday News & Notes

Final news and notes out of Valley Ranch from the 2004 season.

* QB Vinny Testaverde finished the season with 3,532 passing yards, the third-highest single-season total in club history. Testaverde surpassed Troy Aikman (3,445 in 1992) and fell just 54 yards short of Roger Staubach's 3,586-yard season from 1979. Danny White holds the club's single-season record with 3,980 passing yards in 1983.

* WR Keyshawn Johnson fractured his left ankle early in the second quarter after sliding awkwardly to make an 18-yard catch. He was helped off the field, then carted to the locker room for X-rays. His only catch on Sunday gave him 70 for the season and left him 19 yards short of the 1,000-yard mark. Johnson will have surgery on Tuesday. He said he will be ready to go in eight weeks.

"I was trying to cut back and I just didn't get my foot out," Johnson said. "But I'll be fine. I won't be out long. But I've never been knocked out of a game before, so it's disappointing."

* TE Jason Witten caught eight passes for 77 yards and finished the season with 87 receptions, second in the league among tight ends behind Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez, who caught 14 passes Sunday and finished with 102 receptions.

* LB Dat Nguyen's interception Sunday gave him a career-high three this season. That's the most for a Cowboys linebacker since Dexter Coakley had four in 1999.

* OG Tyson Walter suffered a sprained left wrist on special teams in the first half.

* DE Greg Ellis was unable to reach double digits in sacks after getting off to a hot start. Including Sunday, Ellis had one sack in his final five games to finish with nine.

* DE Marcellus Wiley had one sack on Sunday to push his disappointing season total to three. He maintains that he was "lied to" about what position he would play and what manner he would play it. Although he is under contract for next season, when asked, "Do you want to come back, yes or no?" Wiley said, "Or."

* RB Julius Jones is a clearly a prime-time running back. He rushed for 149 yards Sunday night against the Giants for an ESPN audience to go with his 198 yards against Seattle on Monday Night Football (Dec. 6) and his 150 yards on Thanksgiving Day against the Bears.

But not only did Jones rack up the rushing yards against the Giants on Sunday night, he made some plays in the passing game, too, catching five balls for 46 yards, giving him 195 all-purpose yards.

"I thought I did some good things tonight," Jones said. "But it wasn't enough if you don't win. I think we've got some things we can take into the offseason. But it's disappointing we didn't get the win."

Jones, who missed eight games with a shoulder injury suffered in Week 2, finishes his rookie year with 819 rushing yards (102.3 yards per game) and seven touchdowns.

* OG Andre Gurode did not start the final game against the Giants, giving way to Ben Noll. It's no surprise. Coach Bill Parcells had been rather blunt about Gurode's poor play all season. Until Sunday, Gurode had started 13 games at right guard this season, missing only two back in September because of a sprained knee suffered in the season opener.

But Parcells has been clearly unhappy with Gurode's mental mistakes and penalties. Against Philadelphia two weeks ago, Parcells pulled Gurode after he gave up a sack, replacing him with Matt Lehr, who had his own share of problems against the Eagles. Gurode did finish that game but has continued to struggle, according to Parcells.

Gurode, a second-round pick (38th overall) in 2002, has one more year remaining on his four-year contract.

* WR Patrick Crayton, fresh off his game-winning touchdown grab last week against Washington, had another big night. The seventh-round draft pick and former college quarterback shook off an interception he threw on a reverse pass early in the first quarter to haul in a career-high five passes for 58 yards.

* FB Lousaka Polite, signed off the practice squad last week, made his NFL debut and played extensively both on special teams and on offense. He caught a four-yard pass in the third quarter and was the lead fullback on Julius Jones' touchdown run. The 15-play scoring drive in the third quarter, consuming 9:39 and ending on a Vinny Testaverde TD pass to Jason Witten, was the second-longest scoring drive the Cowboys have had all year.

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