EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Troy Hambrick went to Dallas coach Bill Parcells with a request. He wanted to help get the running game going.
Hambrick did that and more Sunday against the New York Jets.
He ran for 127 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries as the Cowboys racked up 202 yards on the ground and won 17-6, sending the Jets to their first 0-4 start since 1996.
Parcells, who coached the Jets from 1997-99, is 2-0 against his former teams this season. The Cowboys (2-1) beat the New York Giants 35-32 in overtime two weeks ago.
"You work hard to be Tuna's guy," Hambrick said. "I went to him and asked what else I could do to be one of your guys and get this running game going. He just said, 'Keep hitting it in there and 3 or 4 yards will turn into 10 or 20. Just keep working hard. You're doing the right things and saying the right things."'
Hambrick, the starting back now that Emmitt Smith has gone to Arizona, tied his career high for yardage, set against Atlanta on Nov. 11, 2001. Of course, he had a relatively easy time against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league.
The Jets came into the game ranked 31 of 32 NFL teams in rushing defense, and Hambrick took advantage. In the second quarter, he converted a turnover into a 31-yard touchdown run for a 7-3 lead. Defensive tackle Chester McGlockton took full responsibility for the play because he was out of position.
"I made a mistake, and it cost us a touchdown," McGlockton said. "That started them rolling. It falls on my shoulders. It was a bad, bonehead play."
Things got worse for the Jets when Dallas converted another turnover into a touchdown just before halftime.
The Jets were driving with less than two minutes remaining in the quarter and looked as though they would score. Curtis Martin took the handoff at the Jets 20 and saw daylight to the end zone, but Roy Williams caught him from behind and caused a fumble at the 11.
The ball bounced into the end zone, where Darren Woodson recovered, and Dallas used its two-minute offense to perfection. Quincy Carter threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Bryant on third-and-3 with 11 seconds remaining. Officials initially called the pass incomplete because it appeared Bryant only got one foot in bounds, but the call was changed after video review.
The Jets were booed off the field at halftime.
"We just have to find a way to manufacture some points and stop the run, or it's going to be tough sledding for the next 12 games," Jets coach Herman Edwards said.
They tried to rally but came up short. Following an interception in the end zone by Sam Garnes, the Jets drove down the field, but Curtis Conway dropped a pass on third-and-5 from the 20. Doug Brien kicked a 38-yard field goal to make it 14-6 late in the third.
Trailing 17-6 with less than three minutes to go in the game, the Jets went for it on fourth-and-3 from the Dallas 10, but Vinny Testaverde threw a 2-yard pass to Wayne Chrebet, coming up short.
The Jets have scored three touchdowns in four games, and they couldn't muster much Sunday even though Testaverde's numbers looked good: 21-of-29 for 219 yards. The Jets made more of an effort to establish their running game but could not do much, and Martin had 21 carries for 64 yards.
Meanwhile, Dallas ran all over the Jets and had 119 yards on the ground in the first half alone. Former Jets player Richie Anderson finished with 37 yards on five carries plus four receptions for 46 yards.
"That's how you win in the NFL - you run the football," Carter said. "When you can run the football, and I don't have to lift my arm - I'd love to do that every game."
Things have gone wrong for the Jets in a hurry. In the week leading up to this game, Edwards and owner Woody Johnson got into a public spat. On Wednesday, Johnson said, "If you look at the talent on this team, it's equal or better than any team out there."
Edwards was upset Johnson commented on the team personnel. The two talked Friday and smoothed things over, but Johnson waited two days to clarify his comments. He said Edwards has his full support, and the coach's job is not in jeopardy.
Parcells believes Edwards can help the Jets turn their season around.
"I think Herman has been resilient as a coach with his team, and I think he'll do it again this year," Parcells said. "I'm hoping they can dig their way out."
|Troy Hambrick avoids Jets DBs Jon McGraw (38) and Aaron Beasley on his way to a 31-yard TD.(AP)|
|FG||Doug Brien 34 Yd, 8:57. Drive: 11 plays, 39 yards in 6:03.|
|TD||Troy Hambrick, 31 Yd run (Billy Cundiff kick is good), 12:43. Drive: 4 plays, 48 yards in 2:09.|
|TD||Antonio Bryant, 13 Yd pass from Quincy Carter (Billy Cundiff kick is good), 0:11. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 1:31.|
|FG||Doug Brien 38 Yd, 0:44. Drive: 11 plays, 60 yards in 5:51.|
|FG||Billy Cundiff 26 Yd, 4:56. Drive: 11 plays, 87 yards in 6:10.|
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