Bottled up all season, and his frustration starting to show, Owens broke out with seven catches for 213 yards to help the Cowboys beat the San Francisco 49ers 35-22 Sunday and continue what's looking like the start of a playoff push.
Owens' total was the second-most of his career, behind only the 283 yards he had in the 2000 game in which he caught an NFL-record 20 passes, back when he played for the 49ers, and tied the fourth-best in Cowboys history.
It was the most in the NFL since Philadelphia's Kevin Curtis had 221 in September 2007 and the most by a Dallas player since Tony Hill had 213 against Philadelphia in 1979.
"You can see, he's still got it," quarterback Tony Romo said. "He's a fantastic player."
While Owens' big day should help cut some tension in the locker room, the better news for the Cowboys (7-4) was having consecutive victories for the first time since starting 3-0. With sputtering Seattle coming to Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving, Dallas could go steaming into December in prime position for a wild-card playoff berth.
The Cowboys also should feel good about the way the defense played when the game was close and about Romo having another efficient performance in his second game dealing with a splint covering the broken pinkie on his passing hand.
Romo was 23-of-39 for 341 yards and three touchdowns. He probably will only need the protection for one more game.
The 49ers (3-8) were coming off their first win under interim coach Mike Singletary and had a great chance to break the game open early, facing first-and-goal from the 4 on consecutive drives in the first quarter.
But the defense limited them to only a pair of field goals. San Francisco's next drive inside the 20 also resulted in a field goal, then a drive that started on the Cowboys' 17 lasted only one snap, an interception in the end zone. Dallas' lead swelled to 32-9 before the 49ers got into the end zone.
Shaun Hill was 21-of-33 for 303 yards, but couldn't muster the same spark that made him the NFC's offensive player for the week for his play in a victory over St. Louis last Sunday. He was sacked four times, two on consecutive plays inside the 20 in the first quarter.
Owens had gone 13 games without cracking 100 yards, hadn't topped 89 all season and was held to 38 or fewer the past five games. Earlier this week, he told the NFL Network's Deion Sanders, "It's not that I can't play, it's the system in which I'm in."
Both he and the system worked just fine Sunday.
T.O. started with a 75-yard touchdown catch, grabbing the ball over two defenders around the 20 then bullying his way into the end zone. His next reception went for 45 yards. Add in a 52-yarder in the third quarter and Owens had three of his five longest catches of the season in this game.
He was at 197 when Romo threw him a quick pass at the line of scrimmage. Owens got only 2 yards, so he was stuck at 199. A few series later, Romo hit Owens on a slant. He juggled the ball but held on for a 14-yard gain that put him over 200. He got up triumphantly, clutching the ball as if he planned to keep it. He gestured toward the bench and accepted congratulations from Romo as the achievement was announced in the stadium. The seven catches tied his season high.
"The demise of Terrell Owens was greatly exaggerated," Dallas coach Wade Phillips said.
Dallas' Nick Folk matched his career high with four field goals. San Francisco's Joe Nedney made three and missed a 53-yarder.
Isaac Bruce and DeShaun Foster had the touchdown catches for the 49ers. Frank Gore was held to 26 yards rushing on 14 attempts.
'Boys Roll Over 49ers
CowboysHQ Top Stories
Cowboys Monday: A Clinch + A FlexFRISCO - Cowboys Monday: A Playoff Clinch + A TV Flex
Cowboys 1st and 10: Fixing Thursday NightEach weekend I provide 10 quick hits on the Dallas Cowboys. I provide my thoughts on how the NFL can fix the Thursday night schedule issue and ensure teams don’t have to do what…
CowboysHQYesterday at 9:01 AM
Moving Men: Cowboys Plans For Roster ChangesMoving Men: Come Inside CowboysHQ.com For The Cowboys Roster Plans Regarding Jaylon, McFadden, Collins, Rico and Tapper
CowboysHQYesterday at 6:49 AM
Welcome To Playoff Football, Dallas CowboysDallas managed to slip out of Minnesota with a 17-15 victory that serves as the Cowboys' introduction to 'playoff football'
CowboysHQSaturday at 1:54 AM
Cowboys Rob the Bank 17-15, Improve to 11-1The Dallas Cowboys earned their 11th win of the season, but read below to see how it wasn't in a pretty fashion whatsoever.
CowboysHQThursday at 9:43 PM