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Big Loss Leaves Cowboys Flustered
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
A difficult week for the Dallas Cowboys reached its nadir Sunday, when the Rams pounded out a 34-14 victory at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams' two-game winning "streak" mirrors the Cowboys' two-game slide.
In an overtime loss to Arizona last week, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo broke the little finger on his right (throwing) hand. He was replaced by 40-year-old Brad Johnson, who slogged through a rugged outing Sunday.
Speedy rookie running back Felix Jones and punter Mat McBriar also were lost to injuries. Then cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was slapped with a league suspension Tuesday of at least a month for his involvement in a late-night scuffle with his own bodyguard at a Dallas hotel.
Pacman had just landed a starting role because Pro Bowl cornerback Terence Newman had groin surgery Oct. 10.
Suddenly, the Cowboys, popular preseason picks to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, are 4-3 and fighting to resurrect their flagging season.
"I'm angry, disappointed and embarrassed," second-year Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. "We didn't want to get beat at all. But we shouldn't get beat like that, for sure. ... This is the worst game this team has played since I've been here."
Said tight end Jason Witten: "To be 4-3 at this point ... nobody would've thought that."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted that he — but not his team, he stressed — took the Rams too lightly. "I really did think when I walked out of our dressing room for the second half, I said, 'We'll get a couple of scores and we'll be back in it,'" Jones said. "I give the Rams the credit for that. I was just thinking a little lighter than I should have about this ballgame."
The Cowboys outgained the Rams 341 yards to 325. But much of the Dallas real estate was gathered well after the outcome was decided, and an uncharacteristically sloppy performance helped keep the Cowboys in arrears most of the afternoon.
Defensively, the Rams gobbled up four turnovers and sacked Johnson three times.
"We're not even giving ourselves the chance to put points on the board," Witten said. "Seven points against this team? We're not running the ball, we're not giving the quarterback time, and we're not getting open like we should. ... It's unacceptable."
Offensively, the Rams posted easily their highest point total of the year, prospering behind quarterback Marc Bulger's best day of the season, and running back Steven Jackson's 160-yard rushing output and three touchdowns.
"We obviously need to play better," linebacker Greg Ellis said. "We just need to stick together. Not a lot more needs to be said."
Wide receiver Terrell Owens insisted that the Cowboys weren't knocked off-kilter by the recent off-the-field occurrences. "No, we just have to come out and play," he said. "We got our butts kicked. We just have to regroup and turn this thing around.
"We need to put those distractions — if there were any — behind us."
Still, with the momentum clearly racing in the wrong direction, Dallas is facing an uncertain future in its quest to repeat as NFC East champions.
"It was a tough day for all of us," said Johnson, a 17-year veteran. "There's a lot of football left, and we need to believe in each other. We'll be all right."
Re: Big Loss Leaves Cowboys Flustered
A truckload of crying towels is being delivered to Texas Stadium right now.
Re: Big Loss Leaves Cowboys Flustered
The funny thing is the person that people most critisize made no excuses. He said the Rams played a solid good game and gave them credit. Who was it none other than T.O. I think he's a passionate player, and he's allowed to complain, and he didn't He only touched the ball two times.
The Cowboys lost goes to their entitled attitude. They thought that they were a better team. The rams knew they were the better team and that made the difference.
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