'Boys 'Shut Out Lights' In Philly

Very interesting to hear that the Eagles watched game tape of Romo, T.O. and JuJo interspersed with tidbits and music from the movie "Rocky,'' the implication being that the skill-position ‘Boys might be cut down to size by an assertive punch in their mugs.

Using the same logic, technology and movie-collection references, maybe Dallas should now watch film of the Eagles interspersed with clips from "Dumb and Dumber,'' "Napoleon Dynamite'' and "Titanic.''

Because the Cowboys made Philly look funny and stupid, weak and weird, and pretty much dead. It was a twisted Sunday night in Philadelphia, a 38-17 Cowboys blowout that vaults the NFC's best team to 7-1 while keeping the padlock on the 3-5 Eagles and their status as the last-place team in the NFC East. Heck, even the themes of the NBC telecast were weird; the sideline reporter's breathless mention of Philly defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's film-watching gimmick seemed apropos of nothing. And that NBC-wide "green'' ecology kick that saw Bob Costas and crew turn off the studio lights in order to save energy? Well, yeah, but. …

You'll notice that the one HUGE light left on in the studio was the one that illuminated the "Toyota'' billboard? And when NBC went live to bundled-up anchorman Matt Lauer so he could provide a "green'' report from the Arctic Circle. … how much energy is gobbled up by sending a whole TV crew – limousines and jets, lights and cameras and satellite power – to the end of the friggin' world!?

Of course, it could be that the network needed to provide some distractions for the average viewer bored by Dallas' dominance. For the purpose of brevity, I won't detail the sharp work of every Cowboy in this outing; doing so would mean shimmying all the way down the totem pole to Isaiah Stanback, the very last man on the Dallas roster, who made his NFL debut with a sweet kickoff return.

Instead, let's just go with those three Cowboys whose spirits (and faces) the Philly Philmcrew wanted broken, Romo, T.O. and JuJo. How poorly did the Eagles fare in their quest?

Tony Romo could've been caught here with his pants down. Just signed a $67.5 mil contract. Increasing pressure. Against a team that had his number last year. Close proximity to the likely-inflamed lap of Britney Spears. Yeah, caught with his pants down.

But Romo flirted with perfection, completing his first 10 passes before settling for 20-of-25 for 324 yards, three TDs, one bad interception but overall, a 141.7 QB rating. He was guarded by a truly dominant offensive line and benefitted from help from everyone from third-string tight end Tony Curtis (a TD catch) to The Helmetless Horseman, Jason Witten (a TD on three catches for 77 yards, including a long gallop sans hat.)

And Julius Jones? Well, Philly can pretend it limited Dallas' starting running back. All he did was score the game's first TD on a tough inside run on third-and-goal, catch three balls for 22 yards and rush 13 times for 57 yards. Solid enough. But of course, we all know that JuJo is only half of Dallas' backfield story. Julius' work was supplemented by split-timer Marion Barber III. Add up the JuJo/MB3 damage: 29 carries, 113 yards, six receptions for 72 yards, and two rushing TDs. Better than solid. As for Terrell Owens? Maybe Owens cranks up the intensity against his old mates. Or maybe he's wound as tight as that slick-and-shimmering bodysuit he wears in pregame warm-ups. (Note to T.O.: Man, that's thing's so tight it looks like you might've bought it from Baby Gap.) Who knows? Owens knew. He caught 10 for 174, both Owens-as-a-Cowboy bests. His mockery of the Eagles included the waving of a Philadelphia souvenir towel, the flapping of his bird-like arms and catches that mattered: four of ‘em for 20-plus, three of ‘em converting third downs, one of ‘em for a score.

And his teammates knew. "He didn't talk too much about it,'' Romo said. "But this one meant a lot to him.''

Obviously, it meant a lot to everybody wearing those "unlucky'' blue uni's.

The Eagles grew frustrated enough, early enough, that it only took until five minutes left in the third quarter before they triggered their first fight and unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty. That causes John Madden to utter a statement that tied together Philadelphia's incompetent play with NBC queer coverage:

"This is one,'' Madden said, "where the dish could run away with the spoon here.''

No, I don't have any idea what he was talking about either. But now maybe the Eagles players, four games out of first place, can quit pretending "the road to the NFC East title goes through Philadelphia.'' And maybe the head coach should go guide, hug, or spank his kids. And maybe the assistants should cleverly intersperse their films with something more fitting than music and tidbits from "Rocky.'' … I dunno? Maybe Madden's on to something. … Maybe nursery rhymes?

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