Johnson is the ultimate game-managing bus driver, a Bill Parcells wet dream. But after getting comfy watching Romo throw to Witten, being subjected to Johnson soft-tossing to Tony Curtis feels like downgrading from Phyllis George to Phyllis Diller. Aesthetically pleasing? Johnson's throwing motion is similar to a senior citizen's first date with a Wii.

To his credit, Phillips squeezed blood from the offense's shriveled turnip. After watching Johnson booed and Flozell Adams with yet another false start and a 1-2-3-kick! routine straight from the Kilgore Rangerettes, the head coach gambled on fourth downs and bypassed a field goal for a risky throw into the end zone for the game's only touchdown.

For a week, it worked. But it feels more like a temporary stay of execution than a permanent lease on life. You'd need Isiah Thomas' version of the truth to believe the Cowboys aren't still broken.

Head coach Wade Phillips was awarded the game ball after the Cowboys' huge albeit ugly win over Tampa Bay last Sunday.
James D. Smith/Icon SMI
Head coach Wade Phillips was awarded the game ball after the Cowboys' huge albeit ugly win over Tampa Bay last Sunday.

Unless ...

After the bye Romo gets healthy and Felix Jones gets healthy and Witten gets healthy and Kosier gets healthy and Henry gets healthy and Terence Newman gets healthy and Anthony Spencer gets healthy and Roy Williams gets better and Pacman Jones gets reincarnated.

Said Phillips, "I think everyone knows that after the bye we'll be a lot stronger."

Remember, the Giants won the Super Bowl last year without winning the division. In a country that might actually elect a black president, anything's possible. Wild cards do win. The Cowboys, for a refreshing change, could peak at the end of the season instead of the beginning.

But, more likely, the mere fact that Dallas is wildly celebrating mid-season wins is a testament that things have gone horribly, irreversibly wrong.

If the Cowboys are this happy just to survive in October, is it realistic to think they can succeed in January?

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