Week 2 loss to Redskins last year lingers for some Cowboys
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys lost seven games last season, so it's hard to single out one as the reason they missed the playoffs.
At least, that's the way veteran cornerback Aaron Glenn sees it.
Not linebacker Bradie James. He's convinced the Week 2 meltdown against Washington -- when Dallas gave up two long touchdown passes in the final 3:46, turning what had been a defensive gem into a 14-13 loss -- was the one that did the most to keep the Cowboys home in January.
In a way, James is right. Washington finished 10-6 and snagged a wild-card berth, while Dallas went 9-7 and didn't. The Cowboys had a lot of narrow losses in there, but the one against the Redskins was the closest to being a win.
However, it's never that simple. There's no telling how differently things might've gone for Dallas if it had started 2-0, or for Washington if it had been 1-1.
Yet as the teams prepare to meet Sunday night in another Week 2 prime-time game at Texas Stadium, the coulda, woulda, shoulda factor provides great motivation to James and anyone else who wants to share his perspective.
"If you look back to that Washington game, we basically dominated for 57 minutes," James said. "We look back at the end of the year -- they advanced and we stayed at home. ... This year, we'll definitely be ready and it will have that good rivalry feel that you need to have."
Washington hadn't won at Texas Stadium since 1995. The Redskins ended up sweeping the season series, also a first since '95, after clobbering the Cowboys 35-7 in December.
Since there was only a one-game difference between Dallas and Washington last year, you could argue that second game was just as much of a difference-maker -- even though the Cowboys were never in it. Or you could point to several of the other close games. Such silliness is why Glenn considers all the talk about the Week 2 game so ridiculous.
"That was NOT the game that stopped us from going to the playoffs," he said. "Come on. I could pick any one of those (losses). I could have pointed to about any one of those and say that was the game that stopped us."
Perhaps the best summation of "the importance" of last year's game comes from Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.
At the time, he called it "one of the greatest moments in sports for me."
"It's kind of hard for me to remember last year," he said.<
^HERE'S YOUR T.O. TV GUIDE:@ Having trouble finding out anything about Cowboys newcomer Terrell Owens? Not to worry. The cable networks are ready to help.
The NFL Network is airing an interview of Owens by noted journalist Deion Sanders. It must be good because it's being shown in three parts on the "Total Access" show; the final installment is Friday night.
Fox Sports Net is using Owens to lure viewers to their "Pro Football Preview" show that also airs Friday. A news release hypes an interview with former Cowboys safety George Teague saying Owens recently shunned him. Teague, you may recall, blind-sided Owens during the second of his two touchdown celebrations on the star logo at Texas Stadium during a game in 2000, when Owens played for the 49ers.
ESPN is getting in on the act, too, albeit through its radio network.
The weekly "Terrell Owens Show" makes its debut on ESPN radio on Friday. Owens will be at his house, chatting via telephone with Miami-based Dan LeBatard. Owens said the duo did the show last year in Philadelphia -- until the Eagles dropped Owens.
^YOU DON'T SAY?@ There's no quote of the week this week. Too many good ones to choose from.
-- QB Drew Bledsoe at the start of his conference call with Washington reporters: "How are things there? Same as here? The sky is falling? The world's coming to an end? That kind of thing?"
-- Coach Bill Parcells on the best way to learn about a player's mettle. "The people that say pressure doesn't affect me one way or another, they just haven't had the right kind of pressure yet. Because, believe me, it will affect you one way or another."
-- Bledsoe on the pressure all quarterbacks face: "If you don't welcome or relish pressure, then you're playing the wrong position. That's part of it that I've always enjoyed. I've always enjoyed being the guy, it falls heavily on my shoulders. When it doesn't go well, it's extremely disappointing, but you have to bounce back and be able to make it go right the next week. I feel like that's something I've always been very good at doing."
-- Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, who has won Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, on quarterback controversies: "If you've got a quarterback controversy, that's probably good. That means you've got at least two good ones. ... People always say it may not be good for the football team or the quarterback. I don't look at it at that way. I think if you can't handle that then, chances are, you're not going to be able to handle trying to take your team down the field in front of 90,000 screaming people and try and win a football game."
-- Bledsoe on the motivation tricks he uses to stay confident: "Prepare as hard as you can, practice as hard as you can. ... For me, it's how I talk to myself, the things I say to myself. ... That's a conversation between me and myself. I don't have them out loud."
-- Terrell Owens on his big start, slow middle, big finish in the opener: "I have gone through games where I go out the first half and then for some odd reason I may catch one or two the second half. Sometimes I wonder what I could do if I put two halves together. I know I could do a lot of damage."
-- Parcells on how to cut down on penalties if flags continue to fly in the second game: "Pretty soon, it's just like any other thing that increases the probability of you losing -- the perpetrators sometimes have to be altered."
Is that a nice way of saying someone will lose their job?
"Yeah, kind of," he said.
-- LB Bradie James, contemplating Dallas losing Sunday and having to sit on an 0-2 record through a bye week: "That would be h-e-l-l."
-- Owens on cameras showing him encouraging his teammates on the sideline: "It's no different that I've done in the past. I just try to be positive and give the team a lift, just to try to get some things going."
-- Redskins coach Joe Gibbs on longtime rival Parcells: "I'd sure like to see him get out. You can pass that message along. I'll chip in for his retirement party and for his place at the beach if he will just leave."
Told of Gibbs' offer to pick up a mortgage payment, Parcells said, "It's already paid for."
(The following actually was from last week, but it's apropos this week...)
-- Bob Costas in an interview with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: "Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, recently he got in business with Tom Cruise. Who would you like to be in business with?"
-- Jones: "Well, I think that's really a big starter for the difference in our organizations, our philosophy. Nicole Kidman would be my business partner."
^EXTRA POINTS:@ Parcells said Thursday he's considering activating both kickers Sunday. If so, then he has to figure out a position player who can't suit up. It'll likely be a linebacker or a running back. ... All players practiced Thursday. The injury report is blank. ... Yes, that really was C Al Johnson lined up at tight end against Jacksonville. Parcells said he chose Johnson over backup tackle Jason Fabini because he couldn't envision Fabini being a receiver. That prompted the obvious question of whether Johnson could. "You could visualize that a little more easily," Parcells said. "Still difficult." ... Trivia: This will be Dallas' 93rd game against Washington, matching Philadelphia for the most-played foe. The Cowboys are seeking their 55th win, which would be their most against anyone. At 54 losses to Dallas, the Redskins are tied with the Cardinals in that category.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index