Cowboys, Lions capture victories in exhibition play
IRVING, Texas -- Wade Phillips keeps saying he likes getting the ball to his best players. So it probably wasn't a coincidence that the first play of his first game coaching the Dallas Cowboys was a pass to Terrell Owens.
Owens caught it for 8 yards, and didn't have another catch in his brief playing time in the preseason opener. The Cowboys still went on to beat the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts 23-10 on Thursday night, making Phillips a winner in his first game since taking over for Bill Parcells.
''I envision myself getting those chances,'' Owens said. ''The ball was distributed well. ... We'll practice hard and get better. This was a great start for us.''
Tony Romo completed 10 of 11 passes while leading two long scoring drives and watching Keith Davis intercept a tipped pass and return it 41 yards for a third-quarter touchdown.
Dallas' lead reached 23-3 before the Colts scored a touchdown in the closing minutes against a unit featuring few guys likely to make the 53-man roster.
Indianapolis certainly won't fret this result. The Colts went 1-3 in the preseason last year and wound up winning the Super Bowl; they were 0-5 in 2005 exhibition games then won their first 13 regular-season games.
Romo completed his first four passes, starting with the quickie to T.O., and his last six for a total of 93 yards. The only miss was an overthrow of Owens.
Peyton Manning played just one drive for Indianapolis, going 3-for-5 for 37 yards. Most of it came on a 28-yard strike to Marvin Harrison, made possible by rookie left tackle Tony Ugoh holding off Dallas' best rusher, DeMarcus Ware. Ugoh is trying to take over the spot vacated when Tarik Glenn retired five days before training camp opened.
Lions 27, Bengals 26
DETROIT -- Calvin Johnson, the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft, caught two passes for 45 yards late in the first half for the Lions.
The 6-foot-5, 239-pound receiver from Georgia Tech displayed his speed and savvy on his first catch, sprinting and settling into a spot behind a cornerback and in front of a safety. On the next play, Johnson used his body and leaping ability to shield first-round pick Leon Hall for a 21-yard reception.
Cincinnati led 26-17 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Lions won the battle of third- and fourth-string players. Dan Orlovsky threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Kasper with 50 seconds left after Detroit recovered an onside kick following Kenny Byrd's field goal. Cincinnati got in position to win, stopping the clock with a second left, but Shayne Graham missed a 48-yard, field-goal attempt.