Cowboys handle Texans 27-13 to avoid 0-3 start

Roy Williams had his best game since arriving in Dallas and the

Cowboys avoided disaster.

With the Cowboys in danger of an 0-3 start, Williams had 117

yards receiving and two touchdowns to lead Dallas to a 27-13

victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

The oft-criticized Williams scored on TD catches of 15 and 63

yards, showing the kind of impact the Cowboys (1-2) have been

looking for since owner Jerry Jones traded four draft picks to

Detroit for him in 2008.

”He’s just an example of how to keep going and for him to come

in here today and make the big plays he made today to me is

inspirational and I think it inspires this team,” Jones said. ”We

all know how he’s handled it and he’s handled it well. I’m talking

about the competition, the criticism.”

Williams was happy to hear that Jones was raving about him.

”He’s the one that writes the checks and he’s the one that made

the trade for me,” Williams said. ”I haven’t been what he’s

expected of me the first year and a half. But this year, like I

said in the offseason, I’m just going to work and just stay under

that radar and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

Dallas had a seven-point halftime lead and Williams’ first score

stretched the advantage to 17-3 in the third quarter.

The Texans pulled to 17-6 on a field goal by Neil Rackers early

in the fourth quarter after they lost two yards on three plays

after getting to the Dallas 1.

Then Williams struck again. This time he streaked past Houston’s

defenders and scored on a 63-yard pass from Tony Romo that thwarted

any kind of Houston comeback.

Romo was 23 of 30 for 284 yards and two touchdowns to help the

Cowboys rebound from losses to Washington and Chicago.

”We knew that we needed to come out here and get a win,” Romo

said. ”We know that it’s not always going to be perfect, but we’ve

got to find a way to keep getting wins.”

The Cowboys’ defense slowed Houston’s vaunted offense, sacking

Matt Schaub four times and picking him off twice. DeMarcus Ware got

things going early, sacking Schaub for a 10-yard loss on third down

that pushed the Texans out of field goal range on their first

possession.

The Texans got a field goal on their first drive of the second

quarter to take a 3-0 lead.

They wouldn’t be on top for long as Romo led the Cowboys on a 7

1/2 minute drive capped by a 1-yard run by Marion Barber that made

it 7-3. Romo found Miles Austin on a 17-yard reception to the

Texans 1 a play before to set up that score.

”Our team came out and showed the way we can play,” Cowboys

coach Wade Phillips said. ”The little things that were missing for

a couple of games, I thought we came through with. We played solid

all the way around, made a lot of big plays in the game.”

He said he didn’t fathom his team dropping to 0-3 during his

preparation this week.

”It wasn’t a possibility in my mind,” he said.

The Cowboys took advantage of a young Texans secondary that

features rookie cornerback Kareem Jackson. Safety Bernard Pollard,

the veteran of Houston’s secondary, said the Texans can’t use youth

as an excuse for their poor performance.

”They attacked us and we have to find a way to stop the

attack,” Pollard said. ”I think until we do it, teams are going

to continue to bombs away on us. You don’t want that in the

National Football League because these receivers can run and these

quarterbacks are accurate. We’ve just got to be sound.”

Andre Johnson, who sprained his right ankle in last week’s win

over Washington, aggravated the injury early in the third quarter.

He was helped off the field, but returned on the second play of

Houston’s next series. Schaub threw a deep pass to him that Mike

Jenkins intercepted at the 10-yard line for the Cowboys’ first

takeaway of the season.

Johnson said his ankle bothered him in the game, but that he

wouldn’t be on the field if he didn’t think he could deal with

it.

”I’m not worried about my ankle when I’m out there,” he said.

”I’m out there trying to help the team win the game and that’s my

focus.”

Houston’s only touchdown came when Schaub found Kevin Walter on

a 7-yard pass late in the fourth quarter.