Cowboys' demise greatly exaggerated By Gil LeBreton Star-Telegram Staff Writer I was there on the day that my hometown NFL team lost its season opener -- at home, no less -- by the compelling score of 62-7. I was also there, in another NFL port, when the All-Pro quarterback, having rehabbed from a shoulder injury for 11 months, reinjured the shoulder in the first half of the season's first game. So don't tell me about season-opener disasters. Vikings and Daunte Culpepper 35, Cowboys 17, doesn't come close to qualifying as one. Yet a dark pall persists over Cowboys Nation. You have Season Opener Syndrome. High blood pressure. A bruised toe, from when you kicked the TV. But you'll get over it. Just drink plenty of fluids and stay away from watching any more Randy Moss. The big question mark going into last weekend's opener was what was going to happen to that old geezer, Vinny Testaverde. At age 40, against all published odds, Testaverde's first sack did not turn into another of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercials. On the contrary, his 355 passing yards says something. What, we don't know yet. And that's my point. "Listen, fellas, it's only one game," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells urged Monday. "Leave the funeral hearse in the garage for awhile." If last season's sudden turnaround taught you anything, it should be that on most NFL weekends, Parcells and his staff will win the battle of coaching wits. Coordinator Mike Zimmer managed to turn last season's bunch into one of the league's top defenses. The armchair jury needs to give him more time ... at least until Sunday. The Minnesota domed stadium, where the volume is always cranked up to 11, has never been a welcoming place for visiting NFL teams. Factor in the NFL First Sunday hype. Maybe some bad blood still left over from the Drew Pearson/Nate Wright play. And then add in Culpepper and Moss. A Cowboys victory would have been one of the opening weekend's more remarkable achievements. Nobody stops Moss. If Parcells and Zimmer were to be grilled about anything, it was: Why did they craft the defensive game plan around neutralizing him? Be careful what you game-plan for. The Cowboys held Moss to only four catches, but the man knows how to find the end zone. If you're going to play press coverage on Moss, as Cowboys cornerback Pete Hunter was assigned to do, you need long, strong, serpentine arms -- two or more -- to engage him at the line of scrimmage. Fearing that Hunter would need help, Zimmer also had safety Roy Williams assigned to provide it over the top. Somebody counted three blitzes by the Cowboys on Sunday. Three? A wise old coach once said that if you can't get to the quarterback by rushing four defenders, you'd better send five. And if you can't get to him with five, you'd better send six. Buddy Ryan said that. Or maybe it was Parcells? Culpepper not only seldom felt the Cowboys' pass rush Sunday; there was never a defender spying on him over the middle. When the quarterback needed or wanted to run, he ran. In recent seasons -- mostly since Charles Haley retired -- it's become fashionable to complain about the Cowboys not getting enough of a pass rush from their front four. The complaints now border on trite. Until the next Haley or Randy White comes along, the Cowboys' defense will need the blitz to pressure opposing quarterbacks. Any game plans that restrict that constitute the greater of two evils. Yes, they dearly miss veteran Darren Woodson, and likely will for the next month. Against the Vikings, they even missed Mario Edwards, who signed with Tampa Bay. But it was Randy Moss they were trying to cover. And Culpepper had all Sunday to find him, the tight end or any back coming out of the backfield. If you're glum, be reminded that the season-opener score wasn't 62-7. And Testaverde also survived his first test without leaving the stadium in traction. Like the coach said, call off the hearses. For at least, oh, another week.