As Good As it Gets

Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens has said Sunday he is playing as well as he has ever played and is as happy as he has ever been.

He credits that to the welcoming environment fostered by coach Wade Phillips compared to what he endured last season under Bill Parcells and receivers coach Todd Haley.

Owens truly is in a happy place following a four-touchdown performance against the Redskins. He caught eight passes for 173 yards. He called it possibly his best game ever because his team needed it.

Three of the touchdowns came in the second half after the Cowboys trailed 10-7 at halftime. The final three covered 31, 52 and 46 yards. He had a four-yard touchdown reception in the first half.

"This is one of the greatest games I really feel like I've played in and coming through in the clutch for my team," Owens said.

Owens has been coming through the Cowboys of late. He has four straight 100-yard games. He has caught least one touchdown pass in each of his last five games.

He said he likes putting on a show on big stages, so stay tuned for another on Thanksgiving Day against the Jets.

Owens said he is raising his game to another level and that's all about helping the Cowboys get to Arizona for the Super Bowl.

The Cowboys are 9-1 for the just the third time in franchise history. They are still on track for their first Super Bowl berth since the 1995. The Cowboys remain tied with the Packers for the best record in the NFC and second best record in the NFL.

They all but clinched the NFC East title with six games left in the season. Because of the season sweep, they have a virtual three-game lead on second place Giants (7-3). They also own all the tie-breaker advantages on the Redskins (5-5) and the Eagles (5-5).

Save for a major tank job, the Cowboys will win their 20th division title, the first since 1998.

"So that was an important step for us," Phillips said. "It's one step toward winning the division. With six games left we got a good lead."

It all sets up a showdown with the Packers for home-field advantage on the NFC playoffs on Nov. 29. It will be the third game for the Cowboys in 11 days. So there is no rest for the weary. But they will get 10 days following the Packers game before they face the Lions on Dec. 9.

The Cowboys are in their current situation largely because of Owens, who is no longer disgruntled. Owens is not only a big part of what seems to be a Super Bowl run in Dallas, but has been a good teammate as well.

Tight end Jason Witten said Owens is someone everyone wants to be around and Owens wants to be around every one -- which is different from last year.

"He is playing dominoes, he is fun," Witten said. "He is enjoying. He is just another one of the guys. He is more open. He wasn't bad last year but he was guarded. He has let his guard down. He is one of the teammates."

Owens attributes it partly to the new coaching staff. Phillips has fostered a fun, loose and welcoming environment while making sure offensive coordinator Jason Garrett gets him the ball as much as possible.

Owens said he's playing stress-free football for the first time in years.

But Owens said some of the change came from within.

"That is me maturing and me growing up," Owens said. "Obviously a lot had to do with the coaching staff last year. That's no secret. But I have toned down some of the things I have had to say.

In the past it was out of frustration. With these coaches, I don't have to do that. They understand the player I am and what I can do."

POSTGAME NOTES: WR Terrell Owens caught four touchdown passes against the Redskins. It tied a club record. He now has 12 for the season and at least one in each of the last five games. In 26 games as a Cowboy, he has 25 touchdowns.

--QB Tony Romo has thrown four touchdown passes in back to back games and he now has 11 touchdown passes since signing the six-year $67 million contract.

--LB DeMarcus Ware had a sack and forced fumble against the Redskins. He now has nine sacks for the season.

--CB Terence Newman has made a habit out of killing the Redskins. He snuffed out a late rally on Sunday with an interception at the 12 yard line. Six of his 14 career interceptions have come against the Redskins.

--OG Leonard Davis played the entire game against the Redskins after suffering an ankle injury Wednesday in practice. Davis did not use the injury as an excuse for giving up his first sack of the season.

CowboysHQ Top Stories