Cowboys Romp Texans Notes

Terrell Owens will always be T.O. -- dramatic off the field and spectacular on it.

You have to take the good with the bad.

The Cowboys understood when they signed Owens to a three-year, $25 million contract in March that they would have to take the good with the bad.

But they were admittedly gambling that he would prove to be such a difference maker on the field that they could put up with the occasional drama.

Unfortunately, there hadn't been much good associated with Owens through four games, as he was off to his worst start since 1999.

He has made weekly headlines since training camp. He missed 21 practices in preseason camp with a strained hamstring. On August 25, he missed a team meeting, a rehab session and was late for an offensive meeting. He was subsequently fined $9,500. He suffered a fractured hand in a September 17 game against Washington. Ten days later, Owens was hospitalized after suffering an accidental painkillers overdose.

Then came last week when Owens complained about his role in the offense, following last week's disappointing loss to the Eagles, and then he got into verbal confrontation with assistant coach Todd Haley.

Add in the Cowboys' own disappointments -- an up and down season and the struggles of quarterback Drew Bledsoe -- and owner Jerry Jones said it was one of the toughest weeks of his tenure.

"This past week was in my top four or five of the toughest weeks we have had," Jones said. "It took us a while to get over the Philadelphia loss. It was an opportunity to point the finger. It was just a tough week."

The lowly Texans provide the perfect tonic in a 34-6 Cowboys victory Sunday.

Parcells said it was a win the team sorely needed. It was also a game Owens needed, as he caught three touchdown passes to help spark the victory.

It marked his 25th multiple touchdown game of his career, tying him for fourth most in NFL history.

It was also the first time he scored three touchdowns in a game since he caught three against the Cowboys at Texas Stadium as a member of the Eagles in 2004.

"It was a lot a fun," Owens said. "Hopefully this is a stepping stone for us. I just want to help my team win. I'll let my play speak for me."

Owens wasn't fined for the altercations with Haley, according to Jones. And Haley won't be fined either.

The two hugged on the sideline following Owens' first touchdown but they won't be going out the dinner either, Owens said.

This is not the first time Owens has had an incident with an assistant coach. In San Francisco, he had a sideline tirade on offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.

Last season in Philadelphia, he was suspended for one week in training camp after a heated dispute with coach Andy Reid that followed a shouting match with current Vikings head coach Brad Childress, who was then the Eagles offensive coordinator.

Owens reportedly told Childress not to speak to him unless he's spoken to.

"I can focus," Owens said of his dealings with Haley. "He is my coach. I respect him. He respects me. We don't have to go to lunch together. That's all that needs to be said and done."

The question for the Cowboys is whether this is the end of the drama and the beginning of something special for Owens in the Cowboys.

Considering their tough upcoming stretch, they Cowboys (3-2) certainly hope so.

They have a NFC East showdown against the Giants (3-2) Monday night followed by road games at Carolina, Washington and Arizona.

The Cowboys got a break Sunday when the NFC East leading Eagles (4-2) lost to the Saints and the Redskins (2-4) lost to the Titans.

"I am happy we were able to win," Parcells said. "We have a real tough stretch of games coming up. We have to win at home."

PLAYER NOTES
* P Mat McBriar recorded a 75-yard punt, tying the second longest punt in club history. McBriar finished the game with a 56.8 yard average on four punts (47, 75, 56 and 49 yards), the highest single-game punt average in club history.

* QB Drew Bledsoe threw the 250th touchdown pass of his career. He finished the game with two touchdown passes, giving him 251 for his career -- the 13th best figure in NFL history. Bledsoe posted a 101.5 quarterback rating Sunday, his second best of the season.

* RB Julius Jones picked up 106 yards rushing, giving him 2,306 for his career and moving him past Roger Staubach (2,264) into eighth place on the club's all-time rushing chart. He also recorded his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game, the first three game streak by a Dallas back since Emmitt Smith in 2000.

* LB Greg Ellis recorded the third interception of his career.

* CB Anthony Henry recorded his first interception of the season.

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