Owens’ fourth-down touchdown reception with four minutes left Sunday helped seal the Cowboys’ 37-20 win over Miami. He celebrated by leaning against the goal post and holding the ball to his face as if videotaping with it, his way of poking fun at the spying scandal involving Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick.
“It was all in good fun,” Owens said with a grin. “I hope they don’t give me a hefty fine like they gave Belichick.”
Owens did receive a 15-yard penalty for “using the goal post as a prop,” but by then the Cowboys were up 30-13, thanks in large part to their ball-hawking defense.
After winning a shootout in the season opener, the Cowboys this time relied on five takeaways. They intercepted Trent Green four times and recovered a fumbled snap. Green also fumbled attempting a spike play late in the first half, possibly costing Miami points.
“I have tough enough skin and broad enough shoulders,” said Green, booed in his home debut for the Dolphins. “Unfortunately this is not the first time I’ve had a day like this.”
Dallas came from behind twice and nursed a 20-13 lead early in the fourth quarter, then sealed the win with two touchdowns in the final 4:01. The Cowboys committed no turnovers, while Anthony Henry had two interceptions, and Ken Hamlin and Roy Williams had one each.
“That definitely helps,” Owens said, “especially with an offense like ours that can strike at any time.”
Particularly pleased with the takeaways was new Dallas coach Wade Phillips.
“How about the defense?” Phillips said. “Five turnovers—how about that? That’s the kind of defense we have.”
The Cowboys have won their first two games for the first time since 1999, when they started 3-0 but finished 8-8.
“You can’t crown us champions right now,” Hamlin said. “It’s only the second week of the season.”
Marion Barber scored on runs of 1 and 40 yards and finished with 89 yards to help Dallas control the ball for 35 minutes.
“Marion the Barbarian,” Owens called him.
Miami fell to 0-2 for the third time in four years, and new coach Cam Cameron is off to a rough start in his bid to end a franchise-record five-year playoff drought.
“If you’ve been in this business long enough, you’ve been in this position before,” Cameron said. “I know I have. We’re going to stick together.”
The Dolphins’ ineptitude included their punt team, which committed penalties on consecutive plays, negating a 53-yard net kick with the second flag. The subsequent punt was returned 49 yards by Patrick Crayton. Three plays later, Curtis scored his first NFL touchdown to put the Cowboys ahead to stay, 17-13.
Dallas mounted a pair of 12-play scoring drives in the first half, each lasting more than six minutes. Rookie Nick Folk was perfect, making field goals of 26, 28 and 47 yards.
Defense did the rest—with help from the Dolphins.
A bizarre sequence led the Dolphins to run two spike plays in a row at the end of the first half, possibly costing them a touchdown.
With 25 seconds left, Green wanted to stop the clock but fumbled before he could complete the spike. Another six seconds ran down before Green took another snap and spiked successfully. One play later, on fourth down, the Dolphins settled for a 45-yard field goal by Jay Feely that left them trailing 10-6 at the half.
Dallas’ other takeaway came when a snap slipped through Green’s hands in the third quarter, leading to a field goal.
“That’s all on me,” Green said. “I have to squeeze the ball better.”
Neither team reported any injuries. … Owens was also penalized 5 yards for delay of game when he caught a pass to convert a third-and-15 situation, then tossed the ball away. … The Dolphins lost their home opener for the fourth time in five years. … The Cowboys’ point total after two games is their highest since 1971.