Cowboys
Panthers
20 - 13 Final
  for this game

Romo plays well, but Owens hurt in Cowboys' win

Dec 23, 2007 - 6:19 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Playing with an injured right thumb didn't seem to affect Tony Romo. But the Dallas Cowboys now are concerned about a left ankle.

Romo threw for 257 yards and Marion Barber ran for 110 as the Cowboys posted a 20-13 hard-fought victory over the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night.

With the victory, Dallas (13-2) can now clinch home field throughout the playoffs with a win on December 23 at Washington or one more loss by the Green Bay Packers, who have games left with the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.

"We're looking forward to the next game," Dallas coach Wade Phillips said. "We have to win 14 to get home-field advantage."

Dallas rebounded from last week's 10-6 loss to Philadelphia and received another strong outing by its defense, which limited Carolina to 216 yards and 12 first downs.

"It's a big win for us," Phillips said. "I thought our defense played really well. ... We played a solid game on the road.

"Tony threw the ball well. His thumb is fine - 99 percent."

Romo, also dealing with all the hoopla surrounding girlfriend Jessica Simpson, completed 28-of-42 passes for 257 yards with a TD and a interception.

"There's so much distractions about just junk," Romo said. "I just go about my business playing football.

"Adrenaline is a good equalizer," said Romo, talking about his thumb injury. "It goes a long way. Thursday was the first time I really felt good."

Romo played the last 2 1/2 quarters without star wide receiver Terrell Owens, who left the game with an injured left ankle. X-rays were negative but Owens will undergo an MRI exam on Sunday.

"I'm a little sore and in a little pain," Owens said. "I've been through this before. It definitely could have been worse. All I know is I got tackled from behind and went down."

Dallas moved the ball with relative ease prior to Owens' injury, but Romo and the Cowboys' high-powered passing attack bogged down after he was hurt.

Romo threw for 188 yards and a TD in the first half as the offense generated 18 first downs and 291 yards, but the Cowboys garnered just seven first downs and 114 yards after the break.

"We weren't quite explosive in the second half," Phillips said. "He (Terrell Owens) is an All-Pro. It's hard to replace that."

Romo fumbled the first snap from scrimmage but engineered a 13-play, 70-yard touchdown drive on Dallas's second possession of the game. The Pro Bowler completed 5-of-7 passes, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to Owens, who caught the ball in the right flat at the line of scrimmage, deked cornerback Richard Williams and scampered into the end zone.

Barber took center stage on the Cowboys' second TD, a 75-yard drive over eight plays. The back-breaking running back carried five times for 63 yards during the drive, capping it with a 5-yard run off left tackle for a 14-0 left with 7:02 left in the first half.

"That's a tough running back," said Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis. "He is a very tough running back. It was one of the toughest games we have played this year. They were able to put two touchdowns up on us in the first half and I think that was the difference in the game."

Carolina fought back, pulling within 20-13 with 3:01 left in the game on a 25-yard field goal by John Kasay, but Dallas ran out the clock on its next possession.

"I told the guys that when they leave the locker room to hold their heads high, Panthers coach John Fox said. "That team was a little better than us tonight. We gave great effort and played with a lot of heart. Our offense has been a little bit more solid."

Matt Moore, who was cut by the Cowboys in preseason, completed 15-of-28 passes for 182 yards with a TD and interception in his second career NFL start. But his club was hurt by two apparent non-calls on interference calls - including a 40-yard attempt - in the second half that ended possessions.

"They are a good football team," said Moore, who is 1-1 as Carolina's starting quarterback. "They played well tonight. We played well too. They just got us there in the end. There were some good things. There was obviously some stuff to work on."

Steve Smith caught nine passes for 137 yards for the Panthers (6-9), who were officially eliminated from the postseason.

"It means that we still have to show up for Tampa Bay," Smith said. "Whether we are 8-8 or 1-15, we still have to got out there and play."

Carolina responded immediately after Dallas took a 14-0 lead, needing just three plays to cover 63 yards to cut the deficit to 14-7. DeAngelo Williams broke off a 39-yard run and Moore threw his first touchdown pass of his career on the next play, a 10-yard fade to Smith in the right corner of the end zone.

Dallas Pro Bowl kicker Nick Folk capped the first half with a 42-yard field goal.

Carolina moved within 17-10 on a 37-yard field goal with eight minutes left in the third, but it had a 2nd-and-goal from the Dallas 1 before a holding call and two sacks pushed the Panthers back.

Folk added a 23-yarder with 8:07 left for a 20-10 lead, but Moore completed a 57-yard bomb to Smith. However, the Panthers had to settle for Kasay's field goal after a 1st-and-goal at the Dallas 9.

Dallas played without safety Roy Williams, who was suspended one game for a horse collar tackle against Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb last week.

Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers missed the game with a sprained right knee, ending his streak of consecutive games played at 78.






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    Cowboys vs. PanthersJan 15 11:54 AM
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  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 7 10 0 3 20
    CAROLINA 0 7 3 3 13 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DAL - TD, TERRELL OWENS 10 YD PASS FROM TONY
    ROMO (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK), 13:30.
    Drive: 13 plays, 70 yards in 6:18.
    Key plays: Romo 12-yard pass to
    Witten on 3rd-and-10 to Dallas 42;
    Barber 1

    Dec 22 11:14 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 25 YD
    DALLAS 20
    CAROLINA 13 3:01 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Cowboys vs. PanthersDec 22 11:05 PM
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    Cowboys vs. PanthersDec 22 11:05 PM


  • NFL
    FG DAL
    NICHOLAS FOLK 23 YD
    DALLAS 20
    CAROLINA 10 8:17 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Cowboys vs. PanthersDec 22 10:44 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 7 10 0 17
    CAROLINA 0 7 3 10 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DAL - TD, TERRELL OWENS 10 YD PASS FROM TONY
    ROMO (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK), 13:30.
    Drive: 13 plays, 70 yards in 6:18.
    Key plays: Romo 12-yard pass to
    Witten on 3rd-and-10 to Dallas 42;
    B

    Dec 22 10:27 PM
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    Cowboys vs. PanthersDec 22 10:19 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 37 YD
    DALLAS 17
    CAROLINA 10 8:00 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Cowboys vs. PanthersDec 22 10:04 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 7 10 17
    CAROLINA 0 7 7 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DAL - TD, TERRELL OWENS 10 YD PASS FROM TONY
    ROMO (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK), 13:30.
    Drive: 13 plays, 70 yards in 6:18.
    Key plays: Romo 12-yard pass to
    Witten on 3rd-and-10 to Dallas 42;
    Barbe

    Dec 22 9:40 PM


  • NFL
    FG DAL
    NICHOLAS FOLK 42 YD
    DALLAS 17
    CAROLINA 7 1:56 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cowboys vs. PanthersDec 22 9:30 PM


  • NFL
    TD CAR
    STEVE SMITH 11 YD PASS FROM MATT MOORE
    (JOHN KASAY KICK)
    DALLAS 14
    CAROLINA 7 5:38 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cowboys vs. PanthersDec 22 9:19 PM


  • NFL
    TD DAL
    MARION BARBER III 5 YD RUN
    (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)
    DALLAS 14
    CAROLINA 0 6:57 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cowboys vs. PanthersDec 22 9:13 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 7 7
    CAROLINA 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DAL - TD, TERRELL OWENS 10 YD PASS FROM TONY
    ROMO (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK), 13:30.
    Drive: 13 plays, 70 yards in 6:18.
    Key plays: Romo 12-yard pass to
    Witten on 3rd-and-10 to Dallas 42;
    R

    Dec 22 8:50 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 7 7
    CAROLINA 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: DAL - TD, TERRELL OWENS 10 YD PASS FROM TONY
    ROMO (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK), 13:30.
    DALLAS 7-0

    Dec 22 8:46 PM


  • NFL
    TD DAL
    TERRELL OWENS 10 YD PASS FROM TONY ROMO
    (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)
    DALLAS 7
    CAROLINA 0 1:30 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cowboys vs. PanthersDec 22 8:43 PM
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