IRVING, Texas (AP) – The Dallas Cowboys didn’t have to worry about the final few minutes this time, and got the victory that Bill Parcells stressed was so important.

With rookie Marion Barber running for 127 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in his first start and new kicker Shaun Suisham making two short field goals, the Cowboys beat the Arizona Cardinals 34-13 on Sunday.

Arizona lost its 14th straight game at Texas Stadium since 1989.

All week, Parcells talked about this game being “a little more important.” For good reason.

With the victory, the Cowboys (5-3) hit the midpoint of their season with a winning record and stayed on pace in the jammed NFC East. They also had a good performance going into their bye week, which comes before they have to play three games in 11 days.

The Cowboys didn’t have a penalty and scored in a variety of ways, going three plays for 80 yards the first time they had the ball. They also had two long sustained scoring drives, ran and threw for touchdowns and got Anthony Henry’s 58-yard interception return in the fourth quarter that eliminated any late drama.

Except for a 33-10 victory over Philadelphia, every other Cowboys game was determined in the final four minutes.

A week ago, Dallas lost 13-10 at Seattle after the Seahawks scored 10 points in the final 46 seconds. The week before that, in their last home game, the New York Giants tied the game in the final minute before the Cowboys won in overtime.

Early Sunday, one fan held up a sign that said “The game is 60 minutes long.” At least, the final 20 or so in this one were used to savor a victory.

Barber took over for Julius Jones, who missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle and has missed 11 of his 24 career games because of injuries. The rookie earned the start after running for 95 yards on 22 carries in Seattle.

After Neil Rackers kicked a 52-yard field goal to give the Cardinals (2-5) a 3-0 lead, Barber picked up 18 yards on Dallas’ first play. Drew Bledsoe then threw a short pass that Jason Witten turned into a 34-yard gain before Barber twisted his way through several defenders for a 28-yard TD.

Barber put the Cowboys up 24-10 with his second TD, a 10-yarder just before halftime. He took a handoff to the left, then cut back and once inside the 5 dived between three defenders, stretching into the end zone.

Josh McCown, still starting for Kurt Warner, completed 16 of 33 passes for 161 yards, with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin, who beat Henry in the second quarter to tie the game at 10. He also threw two interceptions.

The Cowboys went ahead to stay late in the first half when they drove 75 yards in 11 plays, with Bledsoe hitting Keyshawn Johnson for a 5-yard TD. Bledsoe hit 19 of 24 passes for 220 yards.

Suisham, a rookie signed off the practice squad after the Cowboys cut Jose Cortez this week, kicked a pair of 21-yard field goals. He also made all four extra points.

Rackers added a 47-yard field goal. He’s made all 22 of his field goal attempt this seasons, the consecutive streak a Cardinals record.

AP-ES-10-30-05 1628EST


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