How good is Tom Brady? According to the team Brady and Moss dismantled last Sunday, No. 12 is deserving of the accolades heaped upon him from the media. Even though Tony Romo heard the comparisons of his own play to that of Hall of fame quarterback Brett Favre leading up to the New England game, it was Romo who grudgingly admitted the Patriots signal-caller out shined him.
"He is a great player and he managed the game well today," a disheartened Romo said after the game.
"You never know what you're going to get with a Belichick coached team. They did a Phenomenal job is getting us into a position where everything's just covered."
Romo's performance lagged his average of 300 yards passing heading into the contest, but he didn't play poorly. Romo complete 18 of 29 passes for 199 yards two touchdowns and an interception.
New England worked on shutting down Dallas' playmakers and it showed. Terrell Owens managed just 6 receptions for 66 yards and one score. Hardly the type of "getcha popcorn ready" performance Owens promised leading up to the game.
Terrell Owens Quiet Respect
"There were some opportunities for us, but we just didn't make the most of it," Owens said in his postgame press conference.
Owens still felt as if Dallas was New England' sequal despite the score.
"They're a good team," the Dallas receiver began. "I wouldn't say they're the best. They beat us today, I tip my hat off to them." Owens also implied that Dallas could have done better had they just made a few more plays or if the refs didn't make some of the calls that went against them. "If we don't make the critical mistakes such as penalties, then you know, we were very well in this game. Also, there [were] some questionable calls during the course of this game."
Was Owens expressing sour grapes? Possibly. When asked about the subject of the laminated sign hanging in his locker referencing the original 81 (Owens) and the "other" 81 (Randy Moss), Owens refused to take the bait.
Question: What are your thoughts on the way Randy Moss played?
Owens: "Next question."
Phillips Felt Officials Were The Reason
Dallas head coach Wade Phillips was also the subject of much pre-game controversy regarding his comments of the Patriots videotaping scandal. Phillips told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that the incident was a "black mark" on the Patriots successful string of Super Bowls. After King reported Phillips' comments on HBO, the Dallas coach tried to back away from those comments saying King must have misunderstood him.
A humbled Phillips -- who openly cheered his team on during the game - took the podium after the game to address the loss and what it meant to the Cowboys.
"We were worried about their passing attack, we tried to stop them running the ball, certainly they were able to throw it," Phillips said. "We just didn't make the plays on defense."
Unable to explain the slow start to the offense, Phillips thought the officials had an impact on the Cowboys' chances to win the game. "Obviously the turning point was that fourth and one play," Phillips said of a the Cowboys attempt to go for a first down at their own 47 trailing by just 7 points in the fourth quarter. "We made it that and the interference penalty in the end zone. We could have stayed in the game."
Missed opportunities are certainly the reasons games are won or lost. But Phillips didn't include the touchdown catch Randy Moss had which was overturned by a replay official on the series prior to Dallas' fourth down attempt. Had Moss been ruled in bounds, the Patriots would have been up by two scores.
Phillips tried to put a positive spin on the game. "Obviously with the score It looked a lot worse than it was," Philips said. He also grudgingly admitted the Patriots are a dangerous team that will give any opponent fits this season.
"They're an outstanding team with tremendous matchup problems for any defense."
The following day Phillips continued his explanation of how the officiating impacted the game. He reiterated the holding call which put the Cowboys in poor field position, the motion penalty which called back a 20-plus yard completion to Terrell Owens and the interference call involving Randy moss in the in end zone which Phillips referred to as "gave [the Patriots] the touchdown."
"We've had more penalties at home that the teams we're playing which is surprising," Phillips said on Monday. "Not that officials go one way or the other for teams." Obviously when you have 12 of them (Penalties), you're making mistakes."
Yet Phillips couldn't let the officiating issue go, continuing to imply that the Patriots were given an advantage by the officials.
."Those are mistakes, not all of them are going to be called right, I know that. But when you have 12, there's bound to be a lot of them that were."
The coach continued to focus on discussing how to eliminate the penalties, which put the Cowboys at a disadvantage "We had three offsides penalties on one drive, and we (only) had one in the whole season, " Phillips said.
One of them DeMarcus [Ware] is just quicker than everybody. He wasn't offside, so sometimes they'll just miss on him, which you can see because he's so quick."
"I think elite means Indianapolis and New England. They were stronger than we were in that game. They were better than we were in that game. But it doesn't mean they have to be that way when the season is over."
When asked another question on Penalties Phillips remarked "I'm a little smarter than that. I got beat, but I don't want to get fined."
Crayton Says Patriots Not That Good
Wide receiver Patrick Crayton took his umbrage at the loss further than the head coach or even fellow receiver Terrell Ownes. Crayton claimed the Patriots weren't as good as the score indicated.
"If they make it to Arizona, we will see them again," Crayton said. "Seriously, I'm not backing down from that statement. If they make it to Arizona, we will see them again."
Crayton couldn't help himself and the media were only too eager to get further insights from the team's fourth-year receiver. Crayton went on to say that had Dallas not shot themselves in the foot, they were better than the Patriots.
"Offensively, they are the real deal," Crayton said. "I'm not going to lie about that. Defensively, I can tell you no. They're not. They're not at all. The only time they stopped us is when we had penalties. If that's stopping us, it is what it is. Defensively, they are not the real deal."
Indeed. If Dallas does make it to Arizona, "If", then they may get to have the chance to prove it wasn't' the officials that put up 48 points on Sunday.