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Owens returns, Cowboys rout Young, Titans

Oct 1, 2006 - 8:08 PM NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Terrell Owens was just a part of an array of offensive weapons for the Dallas Cowboys. Vince Young was asked to carry the whole load for the Tennessee Titans.

Drew Bledsoe connected with Terry Glenn on a pair of touchdown passes and Julius Jones rushed for 122 yards and a score to lead the Cowboys to a 45-14 victory over the Titans in an interconference battle.

Young - the third overall pick in the 2006 draft - made his first start for the Titans (0-4) and completed just 14-of-29 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.

But once again, the spotlight was on Owens, the controversial wide receiver who started just five days after being rushed to the hospital for an "accidental overdose" of prescription pills and caught five passes for 88 yards.

Owens, who was administered the pills after undergoing surgery for a broken right ring finger on September 18, returned to practice last Thursday. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells confirmed on Sunday morning that Owens would start and he played with a plate and glove protecting his hand.

"I've been through this time and time again," Owens said of the media attention. "Regardless of all the critics, you know, everybody speculating, it doesn't bother me. On the inside of my house, I vent to my people. You know, I have people that I talk to, but once I step on the football field, it's all football."

Owens had a chance to catch a touchdown pass just before halftime, but was unable to pull in a seven-yard pass in the end zone from Bledsoe. An official behind the end zone initially ruled it a touchdown and Owens celebrated by bouncing up and down as he sat on the ground. But the ball clearly hit the ground and another official overruled the call.

Glenn caught a pair of 13-yard touchdown passes - the first with 34 seconds left in the first quarter and the second with 12:43 remaining in the second quarter - to stake the Cowboys (2-1) to a 14-3 lead.

But it was the running game which dominated for Dallas. Jones produced his season-high total on 23 carries and Marion Barber added 55 yards on nine carries.

The Cowboys rushed for 217 yards overall compared to just 78 for Tennessee.

"Our running game in the second half was very good," said Bledsoe, who was 13-of-20 for 179 yards. "Terry Glenn had a great game, and Terrell Owens after not much practice this week came in and really played well."

Jones scored on a five-yard run and Barber rushed for a one-yard touchdown in the third quarter to increase the lead to 28-6.

Linebacker Bradie James returned an interception 15 yards for a touchdown and Tyson Thompson scored on a seven-yard run in the fourth quarter to complete the rout.

"Our offense played pretty good all game," Parcells said. "We just need to do a better job defensively. Things went our way and we were able to get some plays defensively in the second half and that helped us."

The Titans slipped to 0-4 for the first time since they dropped their first 10 contests in 1984 when they were known as the Houston Oilers.

With the team not a legitimate playoff contender, coach Jeff Fisher decided to make the switch from veteran quarterback Kerry Collins to Young.

"I said that one of the most difficult things to do was to deal with the temptation to play (Young) sooner than we should," Fisher said. "I never put a timetable on it. The perception is that this is the Steve McNair timetable. That is not the case, everybody's different."

Giving Young his first start was certainly the popular choice with the sellout crowd of 69,143. However, Young did not have much of a chance to win with a sub-par running game and a defense that could not stop the Cowboys.

Young committed three turnovers - two interceptions and a fumble - and was sacked two times. He only was able to rush for five yards on three carries.

The highlight of the day for Young came when he hit tight end Ben Troupe with a 17-yard touchdown pass with 3:40 left in the third quarter and then scored a two-point conversion on a quarterback draw.

"I just thought I let my teammates down, man," Young said. "I'm a competitor, that's how I am. I can't stand losing, especially when I've got a lot to do with it. We're going to try to turn this thing around. I told my teammates today I'll take the blame for that one."

Young passed for 267 yards and rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns in Texas' 41-38 victory over Southern California in the Rose Bowl for the national championship last January.

Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was ejected in the third quarter after stomping on Cowboys center Andre Gurode in the end zone. Gurode needed stitches above his left eye.

"I'm very sorry," Haynesworth said. "I apologize to Andre. What I did was disgusting. I'm not a dirty player. I don't play dirty. What I feel like is I disgraced the game, disgraced my team and disgraced my last name."

Rob Bironas kicked field goals of 39 and 33 yards for Tennessee.

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