Owens, Cowboys Get Last Laugh

Ten minutes before Sunday's kickoff, the Washington Redskins emerged from the locker room and gathered at midfield, jumping up and down on the large blue star that adorns Texas Stadium.

It was a move reminiscent of Terrell Owens years ago.

However, it was Owens who had the last laugh, catching four touchdown passes and leading the Dallas Cowboys to a 28-23 victory over the Redskins.

Dallas (9-1) remained two games ahead of the New York Giants in the NFC East and stayed tied with the Green Bay Packers for the best record in the conference.

Minus defensive backs Carlos Rogers and Sean Taylor, the Redskins' secondary was able to keep Dallas' big-play offense in check in the first half before Owens exploded in the second half.

Owens indirectly took a shot at former Dallas coach Bill Parcells, who retired after last season and was replaced by Wade Phillips.

"I've definitely been able to elevate my game," Owens said. "I attribute my success to a head coach who came in and changed some things and an offensive coordinator (Jason Garrett) who has utilized me to the best of my ability."

Three of Owens' four TD receptions - which tied a Cowboys' franchise record - came after the intermission.

"We were able to make adjustments when we got them in certain coverages," Phillips said. "I told Jason Garrett that we might need to hurry it up to get more plays because they are going to be very methodical and try to keep the score around 7-3 or 7-7."

The Redskins (5-5) nearly spoiled Owens' spectacular day, reaching the Cowboys' 19-yard line with under two minutes remaining, but defensive back Terence Newman sealed the win with an interception.

"It was one of those things that can happen when you're trying to make a play," Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell said. "I probably should have just tucked the ball and ran as hard as I could toward the end zone."

Washington opened the scoring after taking the ball at its own 41-yard line following a missed field goal by Dallas.

Showing fresh legs despite their numerous injuries, the Redskins moved methodically down the field and reached the end zone on Campbell's 19-yard TD pass to tight end Chris Cooley.

The Cowboys were unable to mount anything on their two first-quarter drives, but on their first possession in the second quarter, the offense came to life.

Quarterback Tony Romo relied almost exclusively on the short passing game, hitting tight end Jason Witten three times for 16 yards and Owens three times for 32 yards, including a 4-yarder that tied the game at 7-7 with 1:21 left in the half.

"They tried to put a lot of safeties over the top and tried to shade the linebackers and we did a great job adjusting to it," Owens said.

Shaun Suisham kicked a 45-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to give Washington a 10-7 halftime lead.

But two major calls by the officiating crew in the third quarter helped give Dallas the lead for good.

With the Cowboys facing a 2nd-and-6 at their own 27, Romo's pass over the middle appeared to be intercepted by Redskins linebacker Rocky McIntosh, who returned it inside the 5-yard line.

Phillips challenged the call and replays showed the ball had hit the ground, giving the Cowboys renewed life.

"I went with the recommendation from the booth there," Phillips said. "Coach (Paul) Pasqualoni said that he may not have caught it and I realized that with the ball on the 3-yard line, we'd be in dire straits and we might need to challenge that one."

On the next play, Romo looked long for wide receiver Patrick Crayton. The pass was underthrown but Washington safety Reed Doughty was called for a 51-yard pass interference penalty, taking Dallas down to Washington's 22-yard line.

Three plays later, Romo hit a streaking Owens in the end zone for 31 yards, giving Dallas a 14-10 lead.

"We had multiple schemes back there and we tried to do the best we could but Owens is a very talented guy and there were just able to find him a few times on us," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said.

Romo finished 22-of-31 for 293 yards with the four touchdowns.

"We made too many mistakes, especially early on that put us in a little bit of a hole but we fought back in the second half," Romo said. "It's a testament to Owens that he can get open down field and it's nice to see that we can still attack down the field when teams are going to put a lot of people back there."

The Redskins answered with an eight-play, 50-yard drive and closed to 14-13 on Suisham's 39-yard field goal.

It took Romo and the Cowboys only six plays to pad their lead. He hit Sam Hurd for 13 yards and Witten for 23 yards before hooking up with Owens for his third touchdown of the day.

Owens again beat Shawn Springs in a play that looked remarkably like his second touchdown - only this time from 46 yards - to put Dallas ahead, 21-13.

Owens finished the day with eight catches for 173 yards. It was his third straight 100-yard receiving day and moved him past Art Monk into 11th place on the NFL's all-time receiving yards list.

It also was Owens' fifth consecutive game with at least one touchdown catch.

While Washington closed the gap to 21-16 on Suisham's 44-yard field goal, the Owens' show wasn't over.

His fourth touchdown of the day came on a 52-yard pass from Romo for a 28-16 lead midway through the final quarter.

"I think one of the differences is that teams have gone away from double-teaming him as much," Romo said. "We have so many weapons that if they double him we'll go to Witten for 100 yards."

Still, the Redskins did not go quietly, closing to 28-23 on Campbell's 5-yard TD pass to Santana Moss.

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