Win provides relief for Cowboys going into bye

A 1-2 record has never looked so good for the Dallas

Cowboys.

It is certainly much better than the doomsday mood that could

have engulfed the Cowboys for two weeks without that victory going

into their bye weekend.

”Obviously we were off track, but I think it did give us some

spark for us to win that game,” offensive guard Leonard Davis said

in a still-subdued locker room Monday, a day after winning 27-13 at

Houston. ”Yeah, there is some sense of relief.”

The Cowboys avoided their first 0-3 start since 2001, and their

first three-game losing streak under coach Wade Phillips, by

finally Sunday looking like the team that went into this season

expected to be one of the NFC’s best.

Dallas had a turnover-free game on offense, with Tony Romo

throwing two touchdown passes to oft-criticized receiver Roy

Williams. The defense had four sacks and finally forced some

turnovers for the first time this season, with two interceptions

and a fumble recovery.

”It’s a relief, it’s excitement, it’s all in one,” safety

Gerald Sensabaugh said. ”It’s great to see us our team play like

that. We did great in all three phases. We put up a lot of points,

had a lot of stops, played some sound football.”

Last season, the Cowboys went into the bye week after a 26-20

overtime victory at then-winless Kansas City. That made Dallas 3-2

instead of 2-3 for an extra week. The Cowboys won five of their

next six games after their break and went on to win the NFC East

title.

This time, they avoided being winless for an extended

period.

”Obviously you feel better going into a week after you get a

win,” Marcus Spears said. ”At the end of the day, you’re 1-2.

That’s not the prettiest record, but it’s a step in the right

direction.”

Despite two losses, the Cowboys are within one game of NFC

East-leading Philadelphia (2-1) while division foes Washington and

the New York Giants are also 1-2. There are still 13 games left in

the regular season.

The victory for the Cowboys came after some inspirational words

the night before the game from special teams coach Joe DeCamillis,

who is still recovering from the broken neck he sustained when the

Cowboys’ practice facility collapsed during a rookie minicamp in

May 2009.

”I wasn’t big on speeches last week, but Joe D was talking

about when the facility collapsed and he was under the rubble and

he had to make a decision whether he wanted to live or die. He

didn’t want to die. He basically had to do whatever he could to

live,” Sensabaugh said. ”He made the game situation like that. We

are 0-2, we are falling behind and if wanted to live we had to go

out there and play like we wanted to. We had a lot of guys playing

with a lot of fire. … We were a totally different team .”

DeCamillis delivered his speech to special teams players, though

coach Wade Phillips said that incorporates most everybody on the

team.

All the players know what happened to DeCamillis, but his

passionate words Saturday night were the first time many of them

had heard it so personally from the coach.

”When he talked about it, it resonated because you knew his

story, you knew what happened. He gave it to us real and just how

he felt,” Spears said. ”You can relate it to something like

football, because this game, a lot of it is like life, about

perseverance, coming back from tough times, sticking together with

teammates. … It was amazing to here him say that.”

Phillips said DeCamillis gets the players ”riled up” every

week and that sometimes even owner Jerry Jones sits in on those

special teams meetings ”just to get motivated.”

Still, Phillips said this time was a bit different because it

was so much more personal.

Something definitely got the Cowboys’ attention.

”I guess we probably needed those two losses to have a reality

check. The way we played (Sunday), that was our true identity,”

Sensabaugh said. ”If we can play like that (every game), we can be

what everyone thinks we are.”