Cowboys whip up on Saints

Published 7:19 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Even without Terrell Owens, the Dallas Cowboys appear to have some receivers capable of making highlight-worthy touchdown catches.

There was Terry Glenn reaching around a defender’s head for a one-handed grab.

There was Sam Hurd pushing, then getting pulled as he hauled in another lob.

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And there was Mile Austin reading the defense, beating the coverage and doing the rest with ease.

No wonder coach Bill Parcells rolled his eyes when asked about Owens following Dallas’ 30-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

“I’m tired of talking about it, I really am,” Parcells said. “Let’s talk about the guys who were here and played.”

Drew Bledsoe threw the first two TD passes, and Tony Romo beat a blitz on the other, providing some pizazz for the NFL’s first preseason game in Shreveport since 1970.

Those in the crowd of 45,162 who were rooting for the Saints didn’t have much to cheer about, at least not after Deuce McAllister ran for 8 yards on two carries in his first game since a knee injury early last season.

“The knee felt fine … no apprehension about anything,” McAllister said. “There are a few mental hurdles I have to get over, but I’m ready to work.”

Dallas’ first-team defense shut out New Orleans’ starters, keeping them from even getting a first down on its first three drives. Parcells grumbled that his unit didn’t get enough work and Saints coach Sean Payton said his team was “not as improved as I thought.”

Reggie Bush spiced things up with a 9-yard run and an 11-yard gain on a third-and-2 screen, both on the final drive of the first half. He finished with 7 yards on four carries, 14 yards on two receptions — and disappointment that the starters didn’t do better.

“This isn’t the old Saints any more,” he said. “We need to take three-and-outs personal. We need to change our way of thinking. We need to keep our defense off the field. We didn’t do our job as an offense.”

Drew Brees was 7-of-12 for 67 yards. Backup Todd Bouman was 13-of-16 for 117 yards.

Jamal Branch had the lone score for New Orleans, a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

Owens was in Dallas, presumably watching, because of a hamstring injury that kept him on the sideline more than the practice field during training camp. With Parcells not letting him play the Saints — and be on a Monday night cable television broadcast — his next chance is Saturday night at home against San Francisco, although even that is iffy.

Bledsoe went 12-of-16 for 156 yards, leading Dallas to scores on three of four drives. Romo went 6-of-8 for 138 yards and also put up points on three of four drives.