IRVING, Texas (Sept. 17, 2006) -- From Terrell Owens talking about his broken ring finger and upcoming surgery to Bill Parcells saying he felt "sick" because of how many penalties and other mistakes his team made, the Dallas Cowboys ' locker room was a somber place.
Imagine how bad it would've been if they had lost.
Coming off a loss and going into a bye, Dallas needed the victory to avoid a quarterback controversy and all the other negatives that come with an 0-2 start. For now, being 1-1 and in a three-way tie for first in the NFC East only helps stem the disappointment of Owens going under the knife Sept. 18 and being out two to four weeks.
"I'm going to try to get back as soon as I can," said Owens, whose rehab will be motivated by an Oct. 8 game in Philadelphia. "I feel like I'm a quick healer. Once we have the surgery, the healing process will start."
Owens, who missed most of the preseason because of a hamstring injury, said he was hurt early one of the first few plays of his home debut. He didn't tell anyone until the fourth quarter and was taken to the locker room for an X-ray.
The injury helps explain why he dropped so many passes -- one in the end zone on Dallas' first drive and two others on high passes with defenders ready to pop him. He also was penalized for an illegal block on the Cowboys' first snap and later for lining up in the wrong place.
"We've got some guys that can step in," said Owens, who finished with three catches for 19 yards, all in the first quarter.
Washington could use some guys to step up now that it is 0-2, its worst start since going 0-5 under coach Marty Schottenheimer in 2001.
Mark Brunell, playing on his 36th birthday, had only 64 yards passing through three quarters. He was similarly ineffective for 56 minutes of a Week 2, prime-time game at Texas Stadium last year, but bailed out Washington with two late TD passes to Santana Moss.
Brunell padded his stats in the fourth, but not enough to even make it a close game. He finished 18 of 33 for 197 yards, and was sacked six times, including the game's final play after reaching the 7.
"We've just got to find a spark," said Moss, who had four catches for 69 yards. "We find that spark, and things will get better."
Without T.O., the spark for Dallas likely will be the same guy it was against the Redskins -- "T.G.", Terry Glenn.
Dallas got into such a predicament because of the mistakes that left Parcells saying, "It's hard on me. I'm telling you, it really is. I feel ill right now."
Running back Julius Jones was the one to blame for the fumble that gave Washington the chance to tie it at 17. Safety Roy Williams turned things around for the Cowboys with an interception at the 1.
Bledsoe was 19 of 38 for 237 yards and two touchdowns, but he was much better than the numbers indicate, especially considering the scrutiny he was facing after playing lousy in the opener.
"I thought he made some real good decisions," Parcells said.
Mike Vanderjagt, Dallas' big free-agent signee not known by his initials, made a 26-yard field goal on the first drive and a 50-yarder midway through the fourth quarter. His celebration reflected how important it was in putting the Cowboys up by three scores and in building his confidence.
"He made a good clutch kick there," Parcells said. "That three points was big right there."
Jones ran 20 times for 94 yards. Washington, playing without injured Clinton Portis, got 40 yards from Ladell Betts and 24 from T.J. Duckett. ... Cartwright's TD was the first kickoff return against the Cowboys since Robert Brooks did it for Green Bay in October 1993. ... Washington was last 0-2 under Joe Gibbs in 1989, the fourth-to-last year in his first stint.