Much Needed Win Sets the Stage for Philly

The soap opera that is the Cowboys returned to the football field last Sunday against the Titans. After a week of Terrell Owens drama -- it was a much-needed respite.

The Cowboys took advantage of the breather with a 45-14 blowout victory against the winless Titans.

It was so easy that owner Jerry Jones was signing autographs for a raucous contingent of Cowboys fans with eight minutes to go in the game.

"That was a first," Jones said. "That was an inordinate number of Cowboy fans in that area. I just wanted to do it. I went nuts."

Consider events of the past week -- receiver Terrell Owens being hospitalized due to accidental overdose of pain killers and the ensuing media controversy, and what lies ahead -- Owens' much-anticipated return to Philadelphia, and Jones and the Cowboys are entitled to go nuts.

Owens, who spent two years in Philadelphia before being unceremoniously dumped last season, has pointed to this game since signing with the Cowboys in March.

He is looking for vindication from being made the scapegoat for the Eagles' poor play last season and being made the villain in the battle with quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Owens declined to discuss the Eagles Sunday, saying there will plenty of time for that.

Owens was simply thankful for being back on the field. He caught five passes for 88 yards in the game -- just days after having to deny reports that he attempted suicide.

"This is what I do," Owens said. "I do whatever to get back on the field. Last week was some unfortunate situations. I just feel blessed and thank God for giving me another opportunity to come out here and play football. Regardless of all the critics and everybody speculating, once I step on the football field, it's all football."

Being back to football was just what the doctor ordered for this team -- especially considering they hadn't played since Sept. 17 because of a bye, and then had to endure Owens' situation.

The Cowboys feasted on a hapless Titans team that started rookie quarterback Vince Young for the first time.

The 45 points were the most for the Cowboys since they beat the Cardinals 48-7 in 2000.

They rushed for 217 yards, including 122 by running back Julius Jones.

It was the most rushing yards by the Cowboys since 2003.

With the Eagles looming next, it was a much-needed easy win. The Cowboys know things won't get any easier.

Following the Eagles, they face the Giants and Texans at home before three straight road games at Carolina, Washington and Arizona.

"I'm happy to get any win on the road, especially like that," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "We didn't get anyone hurt seriously, so that's what you call a pretty good day in NFL. I'm going to go home have something to eat and relax. I'm not getting into next week now."

Parcells doesn't have to get into next week. Everybody knows what next week is about -- more drama. They are bracing for it.

"Hopefully, this is the start of something good for us," cornerback Aaron Glenn said. "We have a huge game next week, which I expect every star out there to be at the game or watching the game. This is something we're all looking forward to probably more than the others."

News & Notes
* RB Julius Jones rushed for 122 yards, the Cowboys' first 100-yard rushing game of the season. It is the fifth 100-yard rushing game of his career. The Cowboys are 4-1 when Jones tops the century mark.

* WR Terry Glenn caught two 13-yard touchdown passes from quarterback Drew Bledsoe as he continued to feast on defenses concentrating too much on Terrell Owens.

* LB Bradie James recorded his first career interception against the Titans, returning it 15 yards for a touchdown.

* C Andre Gurode had to leave the Titans game after being stepped on by defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Haynesworth kicked Gurode in the back and then stomped on his head. Gurode received 24 stitches. He should be able to play next week. * K Mike Vanderjagt was inconsistent on kickoffs against the Titans and may not have the duties next week. He also missed a 26-yard field goal in the game.

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