No Demise Here

Wade Phillips said it best. Rumors of Terrell Owens' demise have been greatly exaggerated.

No kidding.

Owens caught seven passes for 213 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown, in the 35-22 victory against the 49ers. The 213 yards were 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 when he was with 49ers. It was the fourth best in Cowboys history, tying Tony Hill's 213-yard effort against Philadelphia in 1979.

The performance came after a week of controversy from Owens, who was on pace for his worst season since 1999.

He complained during a sitdown interview with Deion Sanders on the NFL Network that coordinator Jason Garrett's offense was the problem not an aging Owens, who will turn 35 in December.

"Every time I say something it's controversial," said Owens. "I wanted to back it up. I wanted to come in and show I can still play. They unleashed me."

What actually happened was that the 49ers play soft zone coverages in the secondary, allowing Owens to run freely off the line. He has struggled this season because defenses have double covered him with press on the line and a safety over top.

He was free against the 49ers, who ran mixed coverages in an effort to stop the Cowboys ground game and keep tabs on receiver Roy Williams and tight end Jason Witten on the other side.

"We really didn't change (the game plan)," quarterback Tony Romo said. "It was the looks he got. This morning ... there was some newspapers out with an article that someone said TO wasn't doing very good anymore. ... But you could see he's still got it. He's a fantastic player. They didn't want to do anything special to take him out of the game. They ran a lot of coverages, but nothing that said 'we're going to take him out'. They (were) one of the first teams in a while that decided to do that and we tried to take advantage of it."

The Cowboys took complete advantage and now, in addition to Owens' demise being greatly exaggerated, the same can be said about the Cowboys.

After losing four of six and seeing their Super Bowl-or-bust season on the verge of implosion, the Cowboys have now won two straight since Romo came back from a broken right pinky.

"We're getting the swagger," linebacker Bradie James said. "We put ourselves in a hole and we're definitely digging ourselves out of it. But everybody's back; the morale is back, the confidence is back and everybody's playing well."

They have a chance for a three-game win streak Thursday against the hapless Seahawks (2-9).

The Cowboys are tied with the Redskins and Falcons for the final wild-card playoff spot at 7-4.

But they suddenly like their chances of making a run with five games to go.

The Cowboys have a 10-day layoff following the Seahawks game but then play at Pittsburgh, home against the Giants and Ravens and end the season at Philadelphia.

"We are going one game at a time and the next game is most important to us and that's the big thing," coach Wade Phillips said. "We are just looking at ourselves and trying to do well and if we do well, everything will take care of itself."

Said owner Jerry Jones: "The only thing I'm focused on is getting to the playoffs. It would really kill me on a personal basis and every fan just as much if we have this team, this makeup of this team and don't get in the playoffs. That would be one of the big disappointments. I think this team has a chance of getting in the playoffs and beating some pretty good teams.

TRENDING: The Dallas defense yielded just 26 rushing yards against the Redskins, the fewest this season, and the fewest since giving up just 19 against Philadelphia (10/9/05). The 1.7 yard-per-rush average allowed was the lowest since allowing 1.8 against Arizona (10/5/03). It was third time in the last four games that the Cowboys have yielded less than 100 yards rushing.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm really just enjoying the process now. I'm starting to get the feeling back where I think I know what I'm doing. I feel confident when I'm out there. I think this team can continue to get better. We've got a big game coming up on Thursday. Now all of a sudden, this is the most important game of the year. This one is going to mean a lot. ... We've put ourselves in a position to make a run. But the time is now." -- Cowboys QB Tony Romo.

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