SHREVEPORT, La. (Aug. 21, 2006) -- Drew Bledsoe lobbed two passes into the end zone and saw his receivers make terrific catches on both in his preseason debut for the Dallas Cowboys.
Neither play, however, was made by the receiver everyone is waiting to see him throw to -- Terrell Owens.
Terry Glenn reached around his defender's head and made a one-handed touchdown catch on Bledsoe's first lob, then Sam Hurd fought off his defender for another touchdown, getting the Cowboys rolling to a 30-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.
Bledsoe went 12 of 16 for 156 yards, leading Dallas to scores on three of four drives, and backup Tony Romo went 6 of 8 for 138 yards and also put up points on three of four drives. His best play was waiting out a blitz then throwing a 48-yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin.
Bledsoe didn't play the preseason opener so Romo could get more work, prompting speculation of a growing controversy. Bledsoe feels secure that he's the starter, although he acknowledged that having to wait to get on the field "pushes you a little bit."
"It gets you going," he said. "But I can't tell you I would have done anything different in camp had I been the only quarterback."
The Cowboys also saw their first-team defense shut out the Saints' starters. New Orleans didn't even get a first down on its first three series, leaving Dallas coach Bill Parcells grumbling that his unit didn't get enough work and Saints coach Sean Payton saying his team was "not as improved as I thought."
"We struggled across the board," Payton said.
This was the first NFL game in Shreveport since local product Terry Bradshaw brought the Pittsburgh Steelers to play the Boston Patriots in the 1970 preseason. The returning star this time was Saints running back Deuce McAllister, who gained eight yards on two carries in his first game since a knee injury early last season.
"The knee felt fine ... no apprehension about anything," McAllister said. "There are a few mental hurdles I have to get over, but I'm ready to work."
Reggie Bush spiced things up with a nine-yard run and an 11-yard gain on a third-and-2 screen, both on the final drive of the first half. He finished with seven yards on four carries, 14 yards on two receptions -- and disappointment that the starters didn't do better.
"This isn't the old Saints any more," he said. "We need to take three-and-outs personal. We need to change our way of thinking. We need to keep our defense off the field. We didn't do our job as an offense."
Drew Brees was 7 of 12 for 67 yards. Backup Todd Bouman was 13 of 16 for 117 yards.
Jamal Branch had the lone score for New Orleans, a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
Owens was in Dallas, presumably watching, because of a hamstring injury that kept him on the sideline more than the practice field during training camp. With Parcells not letting him play the Saints -- and be on a Monday Night Football cable television broadcast -- his next chance is Saturday night at home against San Francisco, although even that is iffy.
"The main thing is it is not firing," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "He needs to get to a point where it fires."
Bledsoe did his part to solidify his spot with crisp passes and poise in the pocket, save for an 8-yard loss on a sack during his only non-scoring drive. He also showed great timing with Glenn (four catches, 71 yards) and Hurd (three, 30).
"I don't think he made any bad reads," Parcells said.
He even showed confidence on the sideline.
"I was standing out there with him visiting and he said, 'Jerry, I'm your man,"' Jones said.
Romo did his part to keep alive the controversy, even if he faced backups.
He started with a drive for a field goal, then lost a fumble on a sack. He redeemed himself on his next series with the TD pass to Austin, then set up another field goal.
"I'm glad he got some more work," Parcells said. "That's six quarters. I want to get him nine or 10 this preseason."
Glenn played like his job was on the line, coming up with a 30-yard gain and a diving 21-yarder on the drive that ended with his highlight-reel maneuver around cornerback Mike McKenzie.
"Terry made two or three outstanding plays," Parcells said. "It shows me he's on his way to getting ready to go."
Hurd, who has been working with Owens, made a replay-worthy grab, too -- shoving off a bit on his defender as he turned for the ball, then having to withstand being grabbed from behind as the ball arrived.
Dallas' new kicker, Mike Vanderjagt, wasn't used because of a strained groin. Instead, Shaun Suisham hit field goals of 24 and 42 yards, and Tyler Fredrickson made a 49-yarder.
Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams was kicked in his left calf during the opening drive and didn't return. The injury didn't affect the knee that caused him to miss much of last season.