EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Instead of using a Sharpie or running off at the mouth, a more patient Terrell Owens is letting his play dominate games these days.
He's one of the main reasons the Dallas Cowboys are in command in the NFC East and looking like one of the front-runners to challenge for a sixth Super Bowl title.
Owens caught touchdown passes of 25 and 50 yards to break open a tight game in the second half and the Cowboys snapped the New York Giants' six-game winning streak with a 31-20 victory on Sunday.
"This is why I feel Jerry brought me here," Owens said of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. "I want to be the playmaker for this team. I brought my level of focus up with this team. I know every play can be a big play. We have teams on their heels a little bit."
The Cowboys (8-1) have the division reeling after sweeping the Giants (6-3).
Dallas leads New York by two games and has the tiebreaker should they finish tied. The Cowboys also have a three-game edge on Washington (5-4) and a four-game margin on Philadelphia (4-5).
Owens has been a big part of that recently, of course, with the help of Tony Romo. The two hooked up six times on Sunday for 125 yards. It was Owens third straight 100-yard game.
"With this offense, I know we're capable of putting points on the board," Owens said. "Everybody on this team is making plays. I'm a big part of that. I just have to remain patient."
Owens had three catches for 31 yards in a first half that was more noteworthy for some foolish penalties by Dallas that handed New York 10 points.
In the second half, the big plays came Owens' way. He ran by cornerback Sam Madison on his 25-yard scoring catch to snap a 17-all tie. When New York had to settle for a field goal after losing a TD on a holding penalty, Owens whizzed past safety Gibril Wilson on his 50-yard score.
"Obviously today, we had more penalties than we would like, and we have to eliminate those," T.O. said. "That was everybody's emotions running high. There was a little trash-talking by them. We came here, the game was played and I feel like we made a statement."
Romo was a big part of that statement, too. He completed 20-of-28 for 247 yards, hooking up with Tony Curtis on a 15-yard score and Patrick Crayton on a 20-yarder.
"A win like tonight just adds to your confidence," Romo said. When you do something like this, you have a chance to do something special."
The last time the Cowboys started a season at 8-1 was 1995, which also was the last time they won the Super Bowl.
With seven games left, the Cowboys are tied with Green Bay for the best record in the conference. The two will play in Dallas on Nov. 29.
For the Giants, their best hopes for a playoff berth seemingly are a wild-card spot.
"It does put us behind the 8-ball," defensive end Justin Tuck said. "If you ever play pool, I've seen people make shots from behind that 8-ball. That's what we are looking at."
Eli Manning threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey, who tied his career high with 12 catches for 129 yards. Reuben Droughns scored on a 1-yard run and Lawrence Tynes kicked field goals of 40 and 26 yards.
The second field goal came after New York had Brandon Jacobs' potential tying touchdown run early in the fourth quarter nullified by a questionable holding penalty on guard Chris Snee against Roy Williams.
"I didn't think I held him, but you have to go with the call," said Snee, who originally thought Dallas was being called for a penalty.