See. See what happens when you have a head coach who plays to win instead of plays not to lose. This is what happens: Tony Romo produces five touchdowns, the Cowboys gash the New York Giants 45-35, and Wade Phillips, Diet Dr. Pepper in hand, enters the Texas Stadium post-game interview room and bellows, “How ‘bout my offense?!”
Let’s not start sizing the rings just yet, but it’s already clear that Phillips is, thankfully, more Jimmy Johnson than Bill Parcells. Instead of trying to coddle, nurture and protect a slim halftime lead, the Cowboys attacked a weary Giants defense sapped by an early injury to pass-rusher Osi Umenyiora and the stifling humidity. Instead of mandating that his quarterback be a conservative bus driver, Phillips allowed Romo to play kamikaze pilot.
“Scoring 45 every game is unrealistic,” Romo said after throwing for 345 yards and four touchdowns and running for another score. “But we’re sure gonna try.”
It was the second-highest-scoring opener in Cowboys history, behind 1971’s 49-37 win over the Buffalo Bills -- and, by my estimation, it was the most exciting, promising lid-lifter since the 21-comeback to beat the Redskins in Washington in 1999. In that game the Cowboys trailed 35-14 in the fourth quarter before a quarterback named Troy Aikman threw for 362 yards and three touchdowns, including a 76-yarder to Rocket Ismail in overtime.
Let’s not get carried away. The Cowboys are 1-0. Terry Glenn is hurt. Terence Newman is hurt. Greg Ellis is hurt. And last night starting nose guard Jason Ferguson ended his season with a torn biceps.
But, just one game into the Wade Phillips Era, it’s refreshing to once again know that simply outscoring an opponent is a viable strategy to win a game. --Richie Whitt