49ers 22

(3-8, 1-4 away)

Cowboys 35

(7-4, 4-1 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 23, 2008

Texas Stadium, Irving, TX 

1 2 3 4 T
SF 6 0 3 1322
DAL 0 22 7 635

Top Performers

Passing: T. Romo (DAL) - 341 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: M. Barber (DAL) - 19 CAR, 59 YDS

Receiving: T. Owens (DAL) - 7 REC, 213 YDS, 1 TD

Owens has big receiving day as Cowboys beat Niners

Associated Press

IRVING, Texas -- With Tony Romo scrambling, Terrell Owens kept chugging down the sideline. Once the pass went up, Owens went to work.

He caught the ball and turned upfield, getting pushed out of bounds after a 52-yard gain. Then he kept going, drawing more attention. With all eyes and TV cameras on him, Owens stretched his arms out to form a T, then curled them over his head to form an O.

Fast Facts

• Terrell Owens racked up 213 yards, the second-most of his career. He had 283 yards in the 2000 game in which he caught an NFL-record 20 passes with the 49ers.

• The Cowboys put up 35 points, their best since scoring 41 against the Eagles in Week 2.

• Dallas scored 22 in the second quarter, its most in a quarter since racking up 25 in the fourth quarter vs. Carolina on Oct. 29, 2006, a game that was Tony Romo's first career start.

• Romo hooked up with Owens for a 75-yard touchdown, the longest TD pass of his career.

-- ESPN research and The Associated Press

• Rapid Reaction

Yes, T.O. is back.

And the Dallas Cowboys might be hitting their stride, too.

Bottled up all season, and his frustration starting to show, Owens broke out with seven catches for 213 yards and the Dallas defense played great when it had to, helping the Cowboys beat the San Francisco 49ers 35-22 Sunday.

"They unleashed me today," Owens said, smiling.

Dallas (7-4) has won consecutive games for the first time since starting 3-0. With sputtering Seattle coming to Texas Stadium on Thursday, the Cowboys could distance themselves even more from their recent 2-4 rut and could go steaming into December in prime position for a wild-card playoff berth.

Thanks to this game, they also shouldn't have to worry about an uproar from Owens.

T.O. had the second-most yards of his career, behind only the 283 he had for San Francisco when he caught an NFL-record 20 passes in 2000. It was the fourth-most in Cowboys history, the best in the NFL since Philadelphia's Kevin Curtis had 221 in September 2007 and tops by a Dallas player since Tony Hill had 213 against the Eagles in 1979.

"He's still got it," quarterback Tony Romo said. "He's a fantastic player."

To appreciate the significance of Owens' big day, consider the background: 13 games without cracking 100 yards, nothing more than 89 all season and 38 or fewer the past five games. Earlier this week, he told the NFL Network's Deion Sanders, "It's not that I can't play, it's the system in which I'm in."

Things were still out of synch at the start, with Romo's first three passes to Owens falling incomplete. One of them even hit Owens because he didn't turn to look for it quick enough.

Then, early in the second quarter, he caught a deep pass between two defenders and bullied past them for a 75-yard touchdown, erasing a 6-0 deficit. His next catch went for 45 yards. Add in the 52-yarder and three of his five longest catches this season came in this game.

Dallas Cowboys San Francisco 49ers Video

Watch highlights from the Dallas Cowboys 35-22 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

"I've been telling you guys all along, it's not anything wrong with me," said Owens, a few weeks shy of turning 35. "Performance-wise, I can play. ... It showed."

Everyone had a different theory about what unleashed Owens.

Owens said there were some new wrinkles in the game plan and credited the offensive line with giving Romo more time. Romo said it was the 49ers giving Owens more room to roam, mainly by having cornerback Nate Clements play several yards off the line of scrimmage instead of jamming him during the first 5 yards.

"Nate can cover T.O.; he did not today," interim 49ers coach Mike Singletary said. "I'm not going say that T.O. is the greatest wide receiver in the world. I think he does a heck of a job. When you're not playing smart that's going to happen. But I'm not going to say Nate can't cover him."

San Francisco (3-8) was looking to build off its first win under Singletary. The 49ers certainly had their chances early, but the Dallas defense refused to buckle.

San Francisco missed a 53-yard field goal on its opening drive, then reached first-and-goal from the 4 on its next two drives -- yet managed only a pair of field goals. That 6-0 lead shriveled into a 29-6 deficit early in the third quarter. The 49ers trailed 32-9, getting only a field goal out of two more drives inside the Dallas 20, before finally getting into the end zone.

Shaun Hill was 21-of-33 for 303 yards, but also was sacked four times, including consecutive plays inside the 20 in the first quarter. He threw a pair of late TD passes, to Isaac Bruce and DeShaun Foster.

The Cowboys also limited Frank Gore to 26 yards on 14 carries and one catch for six yards.

Romo was 23-of-39 for 341 yards and three touchdowns in his second game playing with a splint protecting a broken pinkie on his passing hand. He probably will need the protection for another game.

"I don't know if I could aggressively make the throws I made today without the splint on it," Romo said. "It was still painful when I tried this week."

Owens knew when he had 199 yards and told Romo he needed another catch. A slant came his way and he juggled it, but held on for a 14-yard gain. Owens got up triumphantly, clutching the ball as if he planned to keep it. He gestured toward the bench and accepted congratulations from Romo as the achievement was announced in the stadium.

"The demise of Terrell Owens," Dallas coach Wade Phillips said, "was greatly exaggerated."

Notes: San Francisco's game-opening formation forced Dallas LB Zach Thomas to the bench, ending a streak of 178 starts. ... The Cowboys blocked a punt for a safety for the first time since 1992. ... The 49ers lost return specialist Allen Rossum, a Dallas native, to an ankle injury. He went down without being touched waiting to catch a punt.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1616
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5269
Total Yards304408
Yards per play5.85.9
Total Drives1313
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-62-3
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

sfFG2:42Joe Nedney 23 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 75 yds, 5:14
sfFG0:03Joe Nedney 22 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 47 yds, 1:18
dalTD14:06Terrell Owens 75 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Nick Folk Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 77 yds, 1:06
dalSF12:08Andy Lee Punt Blocked Out of Bounds in End Zone for Safety
Drive info: 3 plays, -11 yds, 1:52
dalFG7:28Nick Folk 48 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, 5 yds, 0:57
dalFG3:06Nick Folk 41 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 57 yds, 2:43
dalTD0:57Martellus Bennett 1 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Nick Folk Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 19 yds, 2:00
dalTD12:10Patrick Crayton 10 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Nick Folk Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 75 yds, 2:56
sfFG8:27Joe Nedney 35 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 42 yds, 3:41
dalFG14:53Nick Folk 47 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 51 yds, 6:04
sfTD8:27Isaac Bruce 18 Yard Pass From Shaun Hill (Joe Nedney Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 80 yds, 1:27
dalFG5:11Nick Folk 42 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 17 yds, 3:14
sfTD3:54Deshaun Foster 9 Yard Pass From Shaun Hill (Shaun Hill Pass to Isaac Bruce For Two-Point Conversion is No Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 57 yds, 1:20