PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Terrell Owens stuck it to the Philadelphia Eagles again.
Nearly two years to the day Owens was banished from the Eagles, the star receiver caught 10 passes for 174 yards and one touchdown to help the Dallas Cowboys dismantle Philadelphia, 38-17, Sunday night.
Tony Romo threw three TD passes, Marion Barber had 106 total yards and one score and the NFC East-leading Cowboys improved to 7-1 for the first time since 1995.
Desperately needing a victory to have any hope of defending their division championship, the last-place Eagles (3-5) were dominated on both sides.
It’s the worst start for Philadelphia since Andy Reid became coach in 1999. Reid had a tumultuous week, missing practice Thursday to be in court with his two oldest sons. A judge sentenced Garrett and Britt Reid to prison and likened Reid’s home to a “drug emporium.”
Right from the start, it was clear Reid and the Eagles were in for a tough night.
Donovan McNabb fumbled on the first play from scrimmage, and the Cowboys converted it into their first score, a 2-yard run by Julius Jones.
Owens had a key 23-yard catch on third-and-6 during that drive, and tormented the Eagles all night.
Unlike his visit to Philadelphia last year, T.O.’s second trip to Lincoln Financial Field since he was kicked off the team he helped reach the 2004 Super Bowl was merely an afterthought.
There were no mock funerals in the parking lot or derisive chants in the stands. Even the boos lacked venom.
Once the Cowboys went up by 14 late in the second quarter, Owens tried hard to incite the rowdies. He strutted along the sideline, flapping his arms and yelling at the crowd behind the bench.
But the disappointed Philly faithful were too angry at their own team to worry about Owens’ antics. So, they directed their boos at the Eagles as they ran off the field.
It got uglier after halftime when Dallas increased its lead to 28-7 on the first drive of the third quarter. Owens turned a short pass from Romo into a 45-yard TD catch.
Known for his flamboyant celebrations, Owens didn’t rub it in all that much. He just flapped his arms again the way he used to when he was catching passes from McNabb.
After Jason Witten caught a 20-yard TD pass to make it 35-10 in the third quarter, the stadium emptied. No one wanted to stay around and watch Owens celebrate anymore.
While the Eagles try to figure out how to save a season that began with high expectations, the Cowboys are getting ready for an important matchup at the New York Giants (6-2) next Sunday.
Romo finished 20-for-25 for 324 yards and had one interception. He became the first quarterback the Eagles didn’t sack this season.
After Brian Westbrook’s 3-yard TD run tied it at 7, Romo tossed a 1-yard TD pass to Tony Curtis to give Dallas a 14-7 lead it never relinquished. Barber set up the score with gains of 22 and 14 yards on consecutive screens and a 16-yard run to the Eagles 1.
Philly’s defense got a key turnover late in the second quarter when Lito Sheppard stepped in front of Romo’s pass to Patrick Crayton and intercepted it at the Eagles 8.
McNabb was picked by Ken Hamlin three plays later and the Cowboys started at Philly’s 14 after a 14-yard return. Barber ran three straight plays, scoring from the 5 to give Dallas a 21-7 lead.
No team had scored more than 21 points against the Eagles in the first seven games, and a revamped defense had allowed just eight touchdowns in 77 possessions.
Dallas racked up 437 total yards and reached the end zone five of its nine drives.
Westbrook tied a team record with 14 catches for 90 yards. Don Looney also had 14 receptions for Philadelphia at Washington on Dec. 1, 1940.
McNabb had a rough night against a tenacious defense. He was harassed often and hammered into the ground a few times. The five-time Pro Bowl QB was 27-for-46 for 264 yards, one TD, two interceptions and got sacked three times.