Cowboys? Too little too late. Dallas's real action is at American Airlines Center, where Dirk Nowitzki (right; 24.9 ppg) and the 16--4 Mavs had won nine in a row through Sunday and the 16-8-1 Stars, led by center Brad Richards (30 points thus far), had reeled off six straight wins to sit atop the NHL Pacific.
Notre Dame's women edged Stanford 1--0 for their third NCAA soccer title; the football team (7--5) was invited to play an old rival, Miami, in the Dec. 31 Sun Bowl; and Graeme McDowell (right) of Northen Ireland nipped Tiger Woods in the Chevron World Challenge.
Don't sleep on the 5--7 Browns, who've offed the Saints, Pats and, on Sunday, the Fins, whom they nipped 13--10 behind Jake Delhomme's (right) rare clean sheet (no INTs or fumbles; his first in 13 months). Up next, a chance to reach .500 against woeful Buffalo and Cincy.
Boston makes it look easy. The 16--4 Celts just won seven straight, the Bruins are 14-8-3 behind Tim Thomas (right) and his NHL-best 1.46 GAA, and the Sox stole Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego. The Pats? They'd won eight of nine before their MNF tilt with the Jets.