Rams defeat deflated Cowboys 20-10 in regular-season finale

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

IRVING, Texas -- When the Dallas Cowboys extended their season to the final weekend, coach Bill Parcells praised his club for showing "a little spunk."

It was gone by the time they lined up for that last game without a chance of making the playoffs.

Their emotions sapped by other games not going their way, the Cowboys allowed Aveion Cason and Arlen Harris to run for their first touchdowns since 2003 and scored the fewest points against the St. Louis Rams this season in a 20-10 loss Sunday night.

"We weren't up to playing the way we were supposed to play," defensive tackle Jason Ferguson said.

The game was rendered meaningless when Washington beat Philadelphia. A Carolina victory over Atlanta earlier in the day cut off another potential path to the playoffs. A long-shot scenario had fizzled when the New York Giants won Saturday night.

This game ended the 10th season since the Cowboys won their last Super Bowl. They've won only one playoff game since then, in 1996.

St. Louis (6-10) ended a four-game losing streak and won for only the second time in its last eight games.

"The guys played with a lot of passion," interim coach Joe Vitt said. "They practiced well the last four weeks and had nothing to show for it. I'm proud that they got this win."

The Rams, who came in averaging a league-worst 27.9 points per game and were near the bottom in total defense and run defense, held Dallas to 271 yards and a season-low 57 yards rushing.

The Cowboys scored an early touchdown, but couldn't do much right for long after that.

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