Cowboys
Falcons
38 - 28 Final
  for this game

Barber keys 17-point run with two TDs as Cowboys rally late

Dec 17, 2006 - 8:18 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Tony Romo and Michael Vick put on a great air display for three quarters. But when it got to crunch time, Marion Barber III grounded the Atlanta Falcons.

Barber sparked a second-half comeback with two tough touchdown runs as the Dallas Cowboys edged the Atlanta Falcons, 38-28, in an exciting game with playoff implications.

Atlanta kicker Morten Andersen and Vick set records during the contest, but it was not enough to overcome strong games from Romo, Barber and Terrell Owens.

"I am very happy with the win," Dallas coach Bill Parcells said. "They had us scrambling in the third quarter. It looked like we were going to have trouble settling down the rest of the way. Our defense settled down and our offense drove the ball two or three consecutive possessions for scores."

Romo threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns and Vick threw for four TDs, including three in a 35-point second quarter, and ran for 56 yards.

But with the Falcons holding a 28-24 lead in the third period, Dallas coach Bill Parcells decided to go with a steady dose of Barber, his reserve running back, and the second-year back delivered.

Barber finished with 69 yards on 11 carries and caught four passes for 27 yards. He ran through several tackles during a nine-yard TD run right up the middle with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter that gave Dallas a 31-28 lead.

"Barber did a great job tonight," Romo said. "It showed a lot of character on our team that we are going out there and playing some muscle football."

On the Cowboys' final possession of the game, Barber covered the final 32 yards of an 11-play, 80-yard drive that lasted 6 1/2 minutes by running six consecutive times. He scored the clinching touchdown, his 13th of the season, on a three-yard run up the middle for a 38-28 lead with 2:23 left in the game.

"I kind of do the grunt work, and he gets in there on third downs and gets it done," running back mate Julius Jones said. "He's been very productive this year. He's been good for us, and hopefully, we can continue to keep this little combination going."

After surrendering 42 points to New Orleans last week, the Cowboys' defense was torched for a second straight week, allowing 397 yards. But it came up big early in the fourth quarter on a 4th-and-1 from the Dallas 38.

Vick rolled to his left but his pass to Ashley Lelie on the left sideline was knocked away by Anthony Henry. Dallas was leading, 31-28, at the time.

"We were real shaky in the secondary at one point," Parcells said. "This team presents real problems to me because if you play a lot of zone against them, then you got to get your shaping and that is when Vick thrives on the run. So we tried to play a lot of man-to-man today to keep him contained.

"For the most part, keeping him contained was Ok but he did hit a couple of really good throws on the side. We played a lot better late in the game. We played a lot better on defense."

DeMarcus Ware made the biggest defensive play for the Cowboys early in the second period. Vick was rolling out to his left and was attempting to pass into the left flat, but Ware jumped into the air to block the pass, caught it instead and raced 41 yards untouched into the end zone for his second TD of the season.

"I knew (Vick) was trying to throw the ball away, but I didn't know he was going to throw it straight into my arms," Ware said. "I just jumped in the air and tried to bat the ball down. But I closed my arms and squeezed my hands on it, and there she was."

The win gave Dallas (9-5) a 1 1/2-game lead over both Philadelphia and the New York Giants in the NFC East.

"It was as big a game as we had this year," Romo said. "I think we are trailing everybody when it comes to tiebreakers. We knew the importance of this one coming in. At the same point you can't let that make you play scared. You have to play loose together and let it go.

"The championship teams, the teams that really have a chance come January, bounce right back and win. There were a few plays out there at the end that showed a lot of character."

The loss dropped Atlanta (7-7) one-half game behind both the Eagles and Giants in the wild card hunt.

Atlanta, which had won its previous two games, next faces Carolina (6-7) in a must-win situation next week before closing out the season at Philadelphia.

"When there is a lot on the line you have to bring something extra to the table," Vick said. "I look forward to all the guys in the locker room stepping up. I look forward to us having a great week of practice and playing well next week."

Romo rebounded nicely from his poorest outing of the season in a 42-17 loss to New Orleans last week. He improved to 6-2 as a starter, spread the ball around to six different receivers and threw just one interception on a tipped pass. Terry Glenn had five catches for 96 yards and Jason Witten added five grabs for 56 yards.

"I wasn't one of these guys who thought Tony was never going to have a bad game," Parcells said. "I thought his performance was better than the week before, but he still can play better."

On the Cowboys' second drive, Romo drove the club 66 yards on 11 plays, completing all six of his passes for 45 yards. He capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Owens.

Romo moved around the pocket, buying time until finding Owens in the left-hand corner of the end zone. It was Owens' 10th TD reception of the season but first in the first half.

The Dallas quarterback hit Owens again on a 51-yard scoring pass with 3:21 left in the first half that gave Dallas a 21-14 lead. Owens beat DeAngelo Hall on a deep post and Romo led him perfectly.

"I think if you ask DeAngelo that, he'll tell you that he guessed a little bit, and he had a breaking route and T.O. got up on top of him," Atlanta coach Jim Mora said. "The great corners in this league, sometime they take those chances and sometime it pays off and sometimes it doesn't. Unfortunately it's something to learn from."

Owens, a resident of suburban Atlanta, finished with five receptions and 69 yards, but could not avoid even more controversy. After the contest, Hall accused Owens of spitting in his face early in the the game. After the game, Owens admitted to spitting on the Atlanta cornerback, saying, "I was frustrated, I apologized for it and now I'll move on."

Atlanta responded to Owens' second TD when Vick hit Roddy White down the right sideline for 43 yards, and after a TD pass to Justin Griffith was called back, Vick scrambled before finding Lelie in the right corner of the end zone for an eight-yard scoring pass with 11 seconds left in the half.

On the opening drive of the second half, Vick passed the Falcons down the field before hitting a wide-open Griffith in the left end zone for a five-yard pass and a 28-21 lead just four minutes into the third quarter.

Martin Gramatica kicked a 47-yard field goal with 3:52 left in the third period to bring Dallas within 28-24. With four extra points, Andersen surpassed Gary Anderson as the NFL's all-time leading scorer with 2,438 points.

"It's tough to talk about individual records when you lose the football game," Andersen said. "So it is bittersweet. I am proud of our accomplishment. It is a reflection of a lot of guys that helped me through 24 years of football with a lot of different teams."

Vick finished the game with 990 yards rushing this season, surpassing the record for quarterbacks previously held by Bobby Douglass, who gained 968 yards for Chicago in 1972.

"It means a lot. It is everything I have worked for in my career," Vick said. "It will mean a lot to me when my kids are sitting around with their classmates talking football. My son and daughter will be able to say this is what my dad accomplished. I am disappointed that we didn't get the win."

Vick finished 16-of-24 for 237 yards and an interception. White caught three passes for 104 yards, including two long passes that set up Atlanta touchdowns. Vick left the game with a strained groin during the game's final minute.

"I felt pain I have never felt before," Vick said. "It was a sharp pain. I will go to see doctors now and see what they have to say. ... I felt it early in the third quarter, but I was able to still play."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 7 14 10 7 38
    ATLANTA 0 21 7 0 28 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DAL - TD, TERRELL OWENS 7 YD PASS FROM TONY
    ROMO (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK),
    13:28. Drive: 11 plays, 66 yards in
    6:54. Key plays: Romo 10-yard pass
    to Glenn to Dallas 46; Romo 9-yard
    pass to Po

    Dec 16 11:02 PM


  • NFL
    TD DAL
    MARION BARBER III 3 YD RUN
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    DALLAS 38
    ATLANTA 28 2:18 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 10:46 PM
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    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 10:46 PM
  • 0
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 30 roots

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 10:43 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 2 roots

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 10:39 PM
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    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 10:38 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 7 14 10 31
    ATLANTA 0 21 7 28 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DAL - TD, TERRELL OWENS 7 YD PASS FROM TONY
    ROMO (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK),
    13:28. Drive: 11 plays, 66 yards in
    6:54. Key plays: Romo 10-yard pass
    to Glenn to Dallas 46; Romo 9-yard
    pas

    Dec 16 10:21 PM


  • NFL
    TD DAL
    MARION BARBER III 9 YD RUN
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    DALLAS 31
    ATLANTA 28 2:32 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 10:12 PM


  • NFL
    FG DAL
    MARTIN GRAMATICA 48 YD
    DALLAS 24
    ATLANTA 28 7:17 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 9:59 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    JUSTIN GRIFFITH 5 YD PASS FROM MICHAEL VICK
    (MORTEN ANDERSEN KICK)
    DALLAS 21
    ATLANTA 28 11:09 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 9:48 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 7 14 21
    ATLANTA 0 21 21 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DAL - TD, TERRELL OWENS 7 YD PASS FROM TONY
    ROMO (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK),
    13:28. Drive: 11 plays, 66 yards in
    6:54. Key plays: Romo 10-yard pass
    to Glenn to Dallas 46; Romo 9-yard
    pass to

    Dec 16 9:27 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    ASHLEY LELIE 8 YD PASS FROM MICHAEL VICK
    (MORTEN ANDERSEN KICK)
    DALLAS 21
    ATLANTA 21 0:11 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 9:25 PM


  • NFL
    TD DAL
    TERRELL OWENS 51 YD PASS FROM TONY ROMO
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    DALLAS 21
    ATLANTA 14 3:08 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 9:11 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    MICHAEL JENKINS 9 YD PASS FROM MICHAEL VICK
    (MORTEN ANDERSEN KICK)
    DALLAS 14
    ATLANTA 14 6:30 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 9:05 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    JUSTIN GRIFFITH 1 YD PASS FROM MICHAEL VICK
    (MORTEN ANDERSEN KICK)
    DALLAS 14
    ATLANTA 7 11:11 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 8:51 PM


  • NFL
    TD DAL
    DEMARCUS WARE 41 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    DALLAS 14
    ATLANTA 0 14:50 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 8:38 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 7 7
    ATLANTA 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DAL - TD, TERRELL OWENS 7 YD PASS FROM TONY
    ROMO (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK),
    13:28. Drive: 11 plays, 66 yards in
    6:54. Key plays: Romo, 9-yard pass
    to Polite to 36 of Atlanta on 3rd
    and1

    Dec 16 8:37 PM


  • NFL
    TD DAL
    TERRELL OWENS 7 YD PASS FROM TONY ROMO
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    DALLAS 7
    ATLANTA 0 1:32 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cowboys vs. FalconsDec 16 8:29 PM