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(Monday, September 28th)
Final Score: Dallas 21, Carolina 7
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Terence Newman's interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter essentially sealed the Cowboys' first win at their new stadium, as Dallas scored 21 unanswered points to come away with a 21-7 victory over listless Carolina.
With Marion Barber sitting out due to a left quadriceps strain, the backfield duo of Felix Jones and Tashard Choice took over after a scoreless first half.
Jones gained 94 yards on eight carries before leaving with a knee injury, while Choice had 118 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown for the Cowboys (2-1), who rebounded from a loss to the Giants in their home opener last week.
Tony Romo played mistake-free football, ending with 255 yards on 22-of-33 attempts for the victors.
"We want to continue to grow and get better," Romo said. "This is a long season. [Critics] crown champions every year in September, in October, and every year some other team wins the Super Bowl."
Jake Delhomme continued his struggles for the winless Panthers (0-3), tossing two interceptions with a touchdown and 220 yards on 22-of-33 efficiency. DeAngelo Williams gained 64 yards on 11 carries, but Carolina's running game as a whole was outgained 212-73.
Carolina last started a season 0-3 way back in 1998, when they opened the year with seven straight losses en route to a dismal 4-12 finish.
The Panthers started a drive at their own 10-yard line with six minutes left in the game, trailing by just one possession, 13-7, despite not gaining a first down up to that point in the second half.
After Williams rushed for a 12-yard gain to finally move the chains, Delhomme was off the mark on a deep bomb to Steve Smith.
The QB went right back to his star wideout on the next play, but Smith broke off a quick slant, allowing Newman to step in for the interception and 27-yard return the other way.
The Panthers were able to move into Dallas territory on the next drive, only to have Delhomme fumble to fittingly end another lackluster offensive effort, much to the delight of the home faithful.
"We battled hard. We fought hard...we just couldn't get anything going," Delhomme said.
Dallas penetrated the red zone on the first possession of the game, but came away empty-handed after Nick Folk booted a 40-yard field goal attempt wide right.
Carolina ended a punt-filled first half with a late TD. With just over a minute before the break, Delhomme looked off the safety and threw a touch pass down the middle of the field to Dante Rosario, who slightly bobbled the ball before coming down with the Panthers' only score.
Carolina punted after failing to move the chains out of the break, and Patrick Crayton took the kick 27 yards to his own 46 yard-line. Two plays later, Jones sprinted 40 yards down the left sideline off a nice counter play, but the Cowboys only came away with three points on Folk's 24-yard boot.
Following another three-and-out from Carolina, Dallas used just five plays to march 58 yards for its first touchdown of the game, capped by Choice taking a five-yard draw to paydirt.
Muhsin Muhammad was whistled for offensive pass interference on the next Panthers touch, negating a long touchdown grab.
A pair of third-down conversions sparked Dallas' next drive that bridged the fourth quarter. After Choice was able to muscle his way to the one, consecutive incompletions forced the hosts to settle for a 19-yard Folk chip shot with 12:02 remaining in the game.
Dallas leads the all-time regular season series with Carolina, 8-1, winning eight straight since the Panthers notched their only such win against the Cowboys at Texas Stadium in 1997...Choice logged 82 yards on 18 carries to go with four receptions for 36 yards...Jason Witten and Roy Williams added 77 and 75 receiving yards, respectively, for Dallas...Muhammad led Carolina with six catches for 51 yards, while Smith had just four grabs for 38 yards...Carolina went 1-for-8 on third downs...The Cowboys controlled the clock for 37:04.
09/29 01:45:59 ET