IRVING, Texas (Oct. 30, 2005) -- All week, Bill Parcells stressed how important this game was for the Dallas Cowboys.
They got the message.
"Bill challenged us a little bit, that this week was a little bit different than the others," quarterback Drew Bledsoe said. "The fact that our team answered that challenge, I think, says something about us."
The Cowboys (5-3) stayed on pace in the jammed NFC East. They also had a good performance going into their bye week, which comes before they have to play three games in 11 days.
"I'm happy to get that one," Parcells said.
"We would have hated going into the bye at 4-4," defensive end Greg Ellis said. "It's a big swing for us, even though it's only one game."
For a change, the Cowboys didn't have anything to worry about in the final few minutes. Except for a 33-10 victory over Philadelphia, the team they play next on Nov. 14, every other Dallas game was determined in the closing minutes.
Early Sunday, one fan held up a sign that said: "The game is 60 minutes long."
At least, the final 20 or so in this one were used to savor a victory.
Anthony Henry's 58-yard interception return early in the fourth quarter, the first defensive score for Dallas since Oct. 19, 2003, eliminated any late drama.
Arizona had a 3-0 lead after Neil Rackers kicked a 52-yard field goal to end the opening drive. The Cardinals didn't lead long, and never went ahead again.
Three plays and 80 yards later, Barber twisted his way through several defenders for a 28-yard TD. Barber had picked up 18 yards on the first play and Bledsoe's short pass to Jason Witten turned into a 34-yard gain.
Barber took over for Julius Jones, who was out for the third straight week with a sprained left ankle and has missed 11 of his 24 career games because of injuries. The rookie ran or 95 yards on 22 carries in Seattle.
"That kid will run, he will block and he will catch," Parcells said. "I don't know if he's going to be Gale Sayers, I kind of doubt that. But he is a complete back. ... I'm proud of him. There's a lot of pressure on him right now."
Barber put the Cowboys up 24-10 with his second TD, a 10-yarder just before halftime. He took a handoff to the left, cut back and once inside the 5 dived between three defenders, stretching into the end zone.
"Coach Parcells talked all week about how big this game would be," Barber said. "I'm just glad it turned out the way it did."
"We just lost our rhythm offensively," McCown said. "It's frustrating. At some point, we have to stack some wins together and get some momentum going."
Boldin will have an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of his right knee injury that forced him out of the game in the fourth quarter. Green said he thought it was a torn meniscus, the same injury that forced the Pro Bowl receiver to miss six games last season.
"I think I'm OK. Hopefully, it's just a sprain," said Boldin, adding that the knee bothered him all week. "But it's bothering me to the point where I'm thinking about it when I play. For me, it's tough because I've been there before."
Notes: Al Singleton broke his right collarbone, and Parcells said the linebacker could be done for the season. ... Rackers added a 47-yard field goal and has made all 22 field goal attempts this season, the consecutive streak a Cardinals record. ... Opposing kickers are 13-for-13 in field goals against Dallas this season, with four 50-yarders.