The Dallas Cowboys abandoned their error-prone ways in their first game under Jason Garrett, their new coach, and played like one of the NFC's top teams in a 33-20 win over the New York Giants on Sunday.
The Cowboys had started the season 1-7, leading to the firing of Wade Phillips, the coach, last week.
"The key today was we made the plays when we had to make the plays as opposed to not making the plays the first eight weeks of the season," Keith Brooking, the Dallas linebacker, said.
"We stuck together. We fought and we did everything in our power to get the win today. This was a tough week. This game is tough. This league is tough and it's made for tough people and we found out what we were about today."
In ending a five-game losing skid and snapping a five-game winning streak for the Giants, the Cowboys played like the team that won the NFC East last season.
Jon Kitna passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns, Bryan McCann, the rookie cornerback, scored on a team-record 101-yard interception return and the Cowboys defence forced three turnovers.
"There was more a sense of urgency today," McCann said. "We had a good coach who got put out the door. Coach Garrett came in, added a little more spark and intensity in practice and obviously it showed up on game day."
Garrett was impressed with his team's mental toughness after a week of adversity.
"I thought the intensity was there in all three areas," Garrett said. "Guys were fighting for each other. We were challenged in all areas and I think we stepped up."
* Associated Press