Cowboys lose Owens, hang on to beat Panthers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With Terrell Owens watching the second half from the locker room, the Dallas Cowboys had to depend on their running game and their defense to avoid a second straight upset loss.
Tony Romo threw for 257 yards and a touchdown and the Cowboys overcame the loss of Owens to a left ankle injury in a 20-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night.
While Dallas (13-2) moved a step closer to clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the Cowboys were dealing with another injury to a key offensive player.
Last week it was Romo, who bruised his right thumb and was ineffective in a loss to Philadelphia. Now it’s Owens, who left in the second quarter after his left leg got caught underneath him after a catch.
The Cowboys made it 14-0 a play after Owens left, but failed to score another touchdown.
After the Panthers (6-9) cut it to 20-13 on John Kasay’s 25-yard field goal with 3:01 left, the Cowboys put it away on Marion Barber’s 11-yard run with 1:45 left.
Barber rushed for 110 yards on 22 carries to help Dallas match the 1992 team for the most victories in franchise history.
The Cowboys will clinch home-field throughout the playoffs if Green Bay loses at Chicago today, but there are concerns about when Owens will be able to play again.
Owens’ fifth catch midway through the second quarter was his last. After Romo’s 4-yard pass near the goal line, Owens’ left leg caught underneath him when he was brought down by Jon Beason.
There was no sign of Romo’s girlfriend Jessica Simpson, who was the target of criticism for her appearance at Dallas’ last game.