Flashback: Dallas vs Kansas City – 1983

This must be one of the hardest Flashback posts of the season since Dallas and Kansas City have only played each other eight times over the years, with Dallas winning five of the eight. I try to come up with a game that I remember most for this feature and it’s not always a memorable one for most people.

So with this weeks match-up with the Chiefs getting closer we will Flashback to 1983 at Texas Stadium with the Chiefs taking on the 9-2 Cowboys. The Cowboys were just 2-2 in their last four games going into this game with the Chiefs and they were looking to get back on track after starting the 1983 season with a 7-0 record.

The Cowboys went up 7-0 early in the first quarter on their first possession with Ron Springs scoring on a 1 yard run. The touchdown came after Danny White connected with Tony Hill on a 58 yard pass on a third and two play. Hill was dragged down at the Chiefs seven yard line. A Rafael Septien field goal increased the Cowboys lead to 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.

With Dallas dominating the Chiefs as the second quarter moved on, Danny White decided to pull a trick out of his own pocket. White, who back then was also the Cowboys punter took a good look at the Chiefs defense as he prepared to punt and then stopped. White tucked the ball away and faked the punt. He gained 22 yards with a run up the middle, getting the Cowboys a first down at the Chiefs 39 yard line.

“He’s on his own.” Landry said. “I would never tell him to do crazy things.”

“I really didn’t do it for any particular reason, but we were sputtering.” White said. “I was watching the safeties, and they weren’t paying attention. They turned and ran and then it was just a matter of getting by the guy over the center.”

Two plays after the fake punt Tony Dorsett would score on a 28 yard run putting the Cowboys up 17-0. Then an interception by Cowboys cornerback Ron Fellows with 1:51 left in the first half positioned them for another Septien field goal from 41 yards out with just 15 seconds left. Dallas would go into halftime with a 20-0 lead on the Chiefs.

Dallas would continue their scoring early in the third quarter after Dallas safety Bill Bates sacked Kansas City quarterback Bill Kenney, causing a fumble which Dallas linebacker Dexter Clinkscale recovered at the Chiefs 32 yard line. Tony Dorsett would score again. This time on a 32 yard touchdown run. Putting the Cowboys up 27-0.

“That’s the type of run that takes advantage of my speed, the quick-hitting trap.” Dorsett said.

Tony Dorsett would finish the game with 108 yards rushing along with his two touchdowns. Those rushing yards also put him over 1,000 yards rushing on the season for the sixth time in seven years. Dorsett also went over 8,000 yards rushing in his career.

With the score 27-0 it seemed to be one play that woke the Kansas City offense up. A field goal attempt by the Chiefs kicker Nick Lowery in the third quarter was no good. But Dallas defensive tackle John Dutton blocked safety Michael Downs into Lowery, which gave the Chiefs a first down at the Cowboys 13 yard line. On the very next play Chiefs wide receiver Carlos Carson beat Dallas cornerback Everson Walls one-on-one for the Chiefs first touchdown of the game. The Chiefs got the ball right back after Dallas punted on their next possession and quickly went back to work. Quarterback Bill Kenney once again found Carson for a quick score. This time Carson scored from 48 yards and once again he beat Walls for the touchdown to close the Dallas lead to 27-14.

On the Chiefs next drive they moved to the Dallas 33 yard line. Looking to get within six points of the Cowboys, but the Dallas Doomsday defense stepped up. Ed (Too Tall) Jones and Randy White put pressure on Bill Kenney and flushed him from the pocket. It was then that rookie defensive end Jim Jeffcoat got his second sack of the game as he took down Kenney. They would also be Jeffcoats first two sacks of his young career. After two incompletions following the sack, Nick Lowery would miss a 51 yard field goal. Keeping the Dallas lead at 13 point, 27-14 at the end of the third quarter.

The Cowboys took advantage of the missed field goal and marched 66 yards for a score. Which included a 28 yard pass from Danny White to tight end Billy Joe DuPree and a 17 yard run by Ron Springs. Dallas scored when fullback Timmy Newsome took it in from 7 yards out, increasing the Dallas lead to 34-14.

The Dallas defense went back to work on the next Chiefs possession as they forced them to punt. Dallas punt returner Gary Allen returned the punt 68 yards for a touchdown to put Dallas up 41-14. It was the first Dallas punt return since 1975.

A late Chiefs touchdown by backup quarterback Todd Blackledge to wide receiver Stephon Paige made the final score 41-21, but it also made it clear that there was a lot of work to be done with the Dallas pass defense. The Chiefs threw for 432 yards and three touchdowns against the Cowboys. They also completed 33 passes on 59 attempts.

“I just know we are better than the yardage we are giving up,” Dennis Thurman said. “It’s really depressing. They threw a party and the only person they didn’t invite was Reagan. Fifty-nine passes. Incredible. As a cornerback, you go into this game looking forward to it because you know they are going to throw the ball. You come out regretting ever thinking about it. We wanted to show people we shouldn’t be ranked 26th in pass defense and now we will probably be 28th.”

Coach Tom Landry was also not happy with the amount of yards given up to the Chiefs passing game. A week earlier in San Diego the Dallas defense gave up 340 yards passing to Charger quarterback Ed Luther.

“Kansas City throws well, and their receivers catch as well as any I’ve seen.” Landry said. “The yardage concerns me. We’ve been giving up a lot (six) of 300-yard passing games.”

“We all realized today was very important, considering what happened last week, especially with the stretch run ahead of us,” Danny White said. “I felt going into the game this was going to be a real pivotal point in the season for us.”

The 41 points scored by Dallas against Kansas City was the most since scoring 51 in a 1980 Thanksgiving fest against the Seattle Seahawks, winning 51-7. Next up for the Cowboys would be their 1983 Thanksgiving Day game against the St. Louis Cardinals which they would only have three days to prepare for. Dallas would go on to beat the Cardinals 35-17.

You can check out the box score here…


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