Cowboys Concerned, But Not Apologizing

It will not be a happy Cowboys team headed to Seattle for the wild-card playoffs. The Cowboys went from leading the NFC East and possibly a second seed in the NFC playoffs to three embarrassing home losses in the final four games, capped by a regular-season beatdown by the 3-13 Detroit Lions.

Turmoil and disgust and disappointment surround the team, which heads to the playoffs with more questions than answers.

--Quarterback Tony Romo has gone from a sensation to regression.

--The defense simply can't rush the passer or cover receivers.

--And coach Bill Parcells has no answers.

The Cowboys have no momentum and little confidence. But as bad as it seems the Cowboys are not without hope. Seattle is an opportunity for them to start a new season and put their abject December in the past.

Frustrated as he is, Parcells said, "I am not apologizing for being in the playoffs."

Said linebacker Bradie James: "We are a playoff team. The record speaks for itself. It's disappointing because you set the bar so high and you crash in December. I can't figure that out. We don't know what to expect. But we are still playing. That's all the hope you need."

While teams don't usually remake themselves from being mistake prone to perfect in one week, the Cowboys don't have to be perfect in the post-season to have some success. The NFC playoff chase is filled with teams who share in their misery of playing their worst football in December. The Seahawks have just one win in their last four games.

It also helps that the Cowboys are playing on the road. They had a better record on the road than they did at home in 2006. And they are very familiar with playing in Seattle.

This will be their fifth trip to the Northwest in the last three seasons. The Cowboys played at Seattle during the regular season in 2004 and 2005. They also played preseason games in Seattle in 2005 and 2006.

"You always want to play at home," Romo said. "Obviously we haven't played great at home lately. You never know. This team focuses well on the road. For some reason, we step off the bus ready to go sometimes. Hopefully that will take shape this week."


--QB Tony Romo has had eight interceptions and seven fumbles in the past five games. Coach Bill Parcells said Romo has been careless with the football because he has been overconfident. "Sometimes when everybody is feeding you the cheese it's hard not to eat it," Parcells said.

--RB Julius Jones again complained about his role in the offense. He had only one carry in the second half against the Lions, which has been a trend over the second half of the season. But Jones has hope things will change against the Seahawks. He ran 30 times for 198 yards and three touchdowns at Seattle as a rookie in 2004.

--WR Terrell Owens had a league-high 17 dropped passes and a league-high 13 touchdown receptions in 2006. The 13 touchdowns were the second most in club history behind Frank Clark's 14 in 1962. Bob Hayes had 13 in 1966.

--LB Bobby Carpenter will make his second start against the Seahawks on Saturday. The rookie top pick got his first start against the Lions in place of Al Singleton. He had two tackles and broke up a pass.

--CB Terence Newman allowed only two touchdown passes this year. CB Anthony Henry had 23 pass deflections, the most by a Cowboys defensive back since 1984. Safety Roy Williams intercepted five passes. But those were hollow numbers for a Dallas defense that ranked 24th in pass defense and gave up 25 touchdown passes this season. Top Stories