After being evaluated as the team playing the best football in the NFC by the NFL pre-game crew, the Dallas Cowboys laid a gigantic egg Sunday afternoon by reverting back to their old ways of stupid penalties, turnovers and a worn-out defense during playoff time.

The result was an embarrassing 34-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the noisy Metrodome in Minneapolis. Quarterback Tony Romo fumbled three times, was sacked half-a-dozen times and threw a couple of costly interceptions—things he had done such a good job avoiding during their four-game winning streak that ended abruptly Sunday.

And to make matters worse, the Cowboys were humiliated by 40-year-old Vikings’ quarterback Brett Favre, who announces his retirement as often as the meteorologists inaccurately predict the weather.

It was the first time in four tries Favre ever defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the post-season and the first time in 22 previous playoff games that he threw four touchdown passes. Favre connected on 15-of-24 passes for 234 yards without a turnover and became the first 40-year old quarterback to win a playoff game.

The last time the Cowboys won a playoff game on the road dates back to after the 1992 season when Dallas beat the 49ers 30-20 in San Francisco to win the NFC Championship. The Pokes trounced the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII Jan. 31, 1993 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Last weekend certainly shot holes in our theory about teams that rest lose their momentum as three of the four home teams that had a bye last week won by really huge margins. 

We were saved by the San Diego Chargers, who lost their momentum and their 14-3 lead in the second half and were upset by the amazing New York Jets 17-14 Sunday evening.

In the two divisional playoff games on Saturday, the New Orleans Saints, who had lost three in a row after clinching a playoff berth, ran rampant over the Arizona Cardinals 45-14 while the Indianapolis Colts completely shut down the Baltimore Ravens 20-3.

The Conference Championship schedule is complete for Sunday afternoon with Indianapolis hosting the surprising New York Jets at 2 p.m. while the Minnesota Vikings travel to the Crescent City to meet the New Orleans Saints in a 5:40 p.m. kickoff.

The Cowboys appeared to be hitting on all cylinders coming into Sunday’s game at the Metrodome after beating the Philadelphia Eagles 34-14 in the Wild Card Playoffs to snap a 13-year jinx of losing in the playoffs. It also was the first playoff victory for personable Head Coach Wade Phillips, who also got that monkey off his back.

The Cowboys had little trouble moving the football in the early going, but Romo lost two of three fumbles that halted early drives, giving the Vikings more confidence as the game wore on.

Favre looked like a quarterback half his age as he nimbly scrambled out of trouble and connected on a couple of long passes to wide receiver Sidney Rice, who hauled in three of Favre’s four touchdown passes.

The big story was the Vikings’ defense, which had Romo running for his life throughout most of the game and got better each quarter.

San Diego was a solid nine-point favorite over New York and played better than the visitors from the Big Apple. But the Chargers let the Jets hang around and NY came up with some big defensive plays in the late going, one of which was an interception inside the 20-yard line by Jim Leonhard on an ill-advised pass by Charger quarterback Philip Rivers near his own goal line.

The Jets scored a touchdown and then came back with the go-ahead score on the next series when tailback Shonn Greene found a gaping hole in the middle of the San Diego defense and galloped 53 yards for the touchdown, putting his team ahead 17-7 with six minutes left in the game.

San Diego scored with 2:14 left to narrow the gap to three points but then made a fatal error by trying an onside kick that was recovered by the Jets’ Kerry Rhodes. 

With less than two minutes left in the game, the Jets decided not to try a field goal from the 29-yard line and went for it on a fourth-and-1. Greene got the necessary yardage as the Jets’ sidelines celebrated the anticipated victory.

Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez knelt down a couple of times as the final gun went off to the dismay of the partisan crowd which booed the Chargers as they walked off the field, suffering only their first defeat in the last 12 games.

On Sunday the Jets hope their good fortune holds out against the Colts, who three weeks ago quit trying to win while leading these same New York Jets 15-9 and saw their undefeated record come to a screeching halt when they lost 29-15.

The Jets haven’t lost since then, blanking Cincinnati twice and the Chargers Sunday. They have great momentum coming into Indianapolis for Sunday’s AFC Conference championship game.

The NFC Championship features two of the NFL’s most potent offenses when Minnesota (13-4) visits the Superdome to face the New Orleans Saints (14-3) in Sunday’s second game.

This Korner Fearlessly Forecasts the Jets’ magic will come to an end in Indianapolis Sunday with the Colts winning 31-20 and that the Saints outlast Minnesota 41-37 in a slugfest.

KWICKIES…On Saturday the Texas Longhorns won their first-ever game as the nation’s No. 1 college basketball team but the Texas Aggies gave them all they could handle, sending the game into overtime before the ‘Horns won 72-67. Strangely enough, No. 2 Kentucky also won by the same score, downing Auburn 72-67.

The Lamar men’s basketball team won a squeaker from our alma mater McNeese 79-78 Saturday afternoon in the Montagne Center boosting their Southland Conference record to 2-1 and their overall mark to 10-8. The Cards are 10-1 at home but are winless on the road in seven outings. Unfortunately the Big Red must play three of their next four games away from the Montagne Center, with a game today (Wed.) at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi set for 7 p.m.

The Lamar Lady Cardinals beat McNeese 68-65 Saturday in Lake Charles on Darika Hill’s three-pointer at the buzzer. The Lady Cards battled back from a 10-point deficit to keep their Southland Conference record at a clean 3-0 and their overall mark at 13-4.

Lamar hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi today (Wed.) at 7 p.m. in the Montagne Center.

Former West Orange-Stark Lady Mustang star Brittany Scott fired in 16 points last weekend but it wasn’t enough as Marshall upset the University of Houston 66-61.

Jimmy Sims made a hole-in-one on the 151-yard No. 3 hole at Sunset Grove Country Club Wednesday. Sims used a five-iron for his ace, which was the second in his lifetime but first at Sunset. Witnessing the event were Steve Toal, Gay Richardson and Ken Ballard.

JUST BETWEEN US…Distance runner and 68-year old Sunset Grove golfer Ken Ruane won the 65-69 year old division of Sunday’s Houston Chevron Marathon with a time of 3 hours, 22:30 minutes. “It was a perfect day and I had one of my best runs as far as how I felt during the 26.2 mile run,” Ruane said. He said he finished in the top 7 percent of the field which was over 20,000 runners for the three different races. Orange’s Drew Bean won the 20-24 year old division with a time of 2 hours, 24 minutes in his first marathon attempt. Bean finished 13th overall. Former West Orange-Stark miler and Vidor resident Duane Defee finished third in the 35-year old division with a time of 2 hours, 35 minutes.