ATLANTA - Michael Vick and Morten Andersen got their records. Terrell Owens and the Dallas Cowboys got a crucial victory.
Owens hauled in a couple of touchdown passes, Marion Barber scored on two punishing runs and the Cowboys protected their N-F-C East lead with a 38-to-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons tonight.
Dallas (9-5) bounced back from a 42-to-17 home loss to the New Orleans Saints to bolster its playoff hopes. It was a devastating defeat for the Falcons (7-7), who had climbed back into the N-F-C wild-card race with two straight wins and overcame an early 14-to-0 deficit in this one.
Owens, who was kept out of the end zone by Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall when the two faced off in the 2005 opener, took care of that blemish. Owens made a seven-yard touchdown reception with a brilliant one-handed catch, then blew past Hall to haul in a 51-yarder. T-O toasted both scores with the same gesture.
He faced the crowd with his arms outstretched -- that's the `T'-- then clasped his hands in a circle above his head -- that's an `O.' Vick tied a career high with four touchdown passes and eclipsed Bobby Douglass' 34-year-old record for most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback.
Andersen, meanwhile, became the leading scorer in N-F-L history. The 46-year-old kicker booted four extra points, giving him two-thousand-437 points for his career and breaking Gary Anderson's mark of two-thousand-434.
It wasn't enough to hold off the Cowboys. Barber put them ahead for good on a nine-yard run with two and one-half minutes left in the third quarter, leaving Chris Crocker sprawled on the turf. Barber added a three-yard T-D run with 2:18 remaining to clinch the victory.