Dandy Don Meredith: The Death Of A Cowboys Legend

1938 – 2010

Yesterday, all of Cowboys Nation was saddened over the tragic loss of a Dallas Cowboys icon, Don Meredith.

Dandy Don, as he was best known, died at the age of 72 after suffering a brain hemorrhage and lapsing into a coma.

Meredith started playing for the Dallas Cowboys in 1960, and was the original Dallas Cowboy, signing with the team two months before the franchise officially was admitted into the NFL.

He wouldn’t become the starting quarterback until 1965, but quickly led the Cowboys to their first winning season, 10-3-1, in 1966. He guided the Cowboys to the 1966 and 1967 NFL title games, both defeats to the Green Bay Packers, but he abruptly retired from pro football the following year at the young age of 31.

Longtime Cowboys president and general manager Tex Schramm once said of Meredith:

“He had a wonderful sense of humor and a very laid-back personality. But he was an absolutely intense competitor who could rally a team. He was very charismatic, maybe the most charismatic player we had.”

Though, his time as a Cowboy was short-lived, it was Meredith who helped Dallas become one of the best and most exciting teams in football.

The NY Times had a fitting quote that best described his sheer toughness on the field.

More than anything else, Meredith earned respect by repeatedly exhibiting one attribute: toughness. Few had more guts and courage, inside and outside the pocket. In his era, the rules didn’t protect the quarterback as they do today, and those that did weren’t strictly enforced. In those early years, the Cowboys’ offensive line wasn’t very good. Meredith often took a beating, but he never complained about it. According to Brandt, Meredith played a game against Washington in 1966 with broken ribs.

Don Meredith is probably best remembered for his remarkable broadcasting career which began in the broadcast booth with Howard Cosell and Keith Jackson and the birth of Monday Night Football. Funny, warm and knowledgeable, America fell in love with Dandy Don, and many credit him for MNF’s immediate success which also led to the widespread popularity of the NFL.

Who can ever forget hearing Meredith sing the Willie Nelson classic, “Turn Out the Lights” whenever a team was facing imminent defeat.

Meredith blazed his own path, as one paper put it, it was one that was followed by John Madden a few years later – by retiring early from football after great success and finding even greater success in broadcasting, accentuated by his larger-than-life personality.

I’m really gonna miss Dandy Don. He was one of the best personalities of the game, but more important than that he was a charitable person who always gave back to his fans and his community.

I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to end this post, than with the line from the song that he sang to us so many times.

“Turn out the lights, the party’s over. They say that all good things must end.”

Rest in Peace, Dandy Don. You will be missed.

Flashback, Cowboys vs Colts – 1981

The 1981 Dallas Cowboys were in a habit of not playing their best football against lesser opponents. The Cowboys were 4-0 when they went up against the 1-3 St. Louis Cardinals and lost 20-17. They were 8-2 when they lost to the 4-6 Lions, 27-24. Then on Thanksgiving they were 9-3 and just got by the 3-9 Bears, 10-9.

When week 14 came along the Cowboys were 10-3 and had to travel to Memorial Stadium in Baltimore to take on the 1-12 Colts. The Colts were on a 12 game losing streak and the last thing the Cowboys wanted was to continue struggling especially with the playoffs coming up.

The Cowboys caught a break as the Colts started quarterback David Humm in place of injured Bert Jones. Humm was in his 7th season and this would be his first NFL start. On the Colts first play of the game Humm tried a screen pass to his right, but Ed Jones got his hands on the ball. He deflected the ball right to linebacker Bob Bruenig’s hands and the Cowboys took over inside the 20 yard line.

Four plays later the Cowboys took an early 7-0 lead when Ron Springs scored from a yard out. On the third play of the drive backup quarterback Glenn Carano playing in place of Danny White who had injured ribs, found Drew Pearson as he leaped for the reception at the Colts one yard line.

The Cowboys defense held the Colts on their second possession. The Colts could only manage a 26 yard punt and the Cowboys took over again in Colts territory at the 43 yard line. The offense got to the 25 yard line before the drive stalled and Rafael Septien came on to kick a 42 yard field goal to make the score 10-0. Septien’s field goal made him the Cowboys All-Time leader with 70.

With the first quarter only half over the Cowboys for the third time got the ball in Colts territory at the 37 yard line. By the time the drive ended Ron Springs had his second rushing touchdown of the quarter and the Cowboys took a 17-0 lead on the 1-12 Colts.

With the Cowboys dominating in the first quarter and the Colts looking for their first down, the Colts caught the Cowboys sleeping. With about a minute left in the quarter Colts running back Curtis Dickey got into the Cowboys secondary and raced untouched for a 67 yard touchdown. The brief moment of excitement for the Colts ended when their kicker, Mike Wood missed the extra point attempt. At the end of the first quarter the Cowboys led 17-6.

As the second quarter started Coach Tom Landry was not taking any chances that the Colts were gaining any confidence off the Dickey touchdown. He called for an option pass from Drew Pearson to Tony Hill that gained 59 yards and put the Cowboys at the Colts nine yard line.  Ron Springs scored his third touchdown of the game when Glenn Carano connected with him from two yards out to make the score 24-6. Septien added another field goal before halftime and the Cowboys had a 27-6 lead at cold and windy Memorial Stadium.

The third quarter was quiet except for another Curtis Dickey touchdown to make the score 27-13 entering the fourth quarter. Dickey was the only bright spot for the Colts as he ran through the Cowboys defense for 130 yards and two touchdowns in the game.

Danny White who was still punting for the Cowboys even though he was not playing quarterback ran a fake punt in the fourth quarter. He gained 13 yards to keep the drive alive. The drive ended at the Colts 14 yard line and Septien kicked his third field goal of the game. The Cowboys increased their lead to 30-13. With the game all but over the Cowboys added one more score when backup running back James Jones broke loose for a 59 yard touchdown run. The Cowboys beat the Colts 37-13 to improve their record to 11-3. They remained at the top of the NFC East as they headed back home for an important division game against the Eagles the following week.

Tony Dorsett led the Cowboys offense with 175 yards rushing on 30 carries. He went over the 6,000 yard mark in only his fifth season. His 175 yards also put him at 1,506 yards rushing for the season, which was nine yards ahead of the Saints rookie running back George Rodgers.

“I always feel sorry for them (the Colts) because I’ve been there before,” Tom Landry said. “They just couldn’t do anything right. They do things, like go offside, where there is no explanation.”

“It’s hard when you’re up 27-6 to get rolling,” said Landry. “I wanted to get this game out of the way and get on with the business of next week.”

The box score from the game can be seen here.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198112060clt.htm

Give Choice a Chance

It sounds to me like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is being stubborn again. When he was asked about the struggling Marion Barber who is having his worst season ever as a Cowboy, Jones was not willing to give up on him despite plenty of evidence that his star is fading fast.

“I know certainly he’s got critics but I wouldn’t go that far in any way to say his time is done with the Cowboys,” Jones said on his radio show.

Barber is averaging 3.1 yards per carry has rushed for only 313 yards this season. He has never had a 1,000 yard rushing season as a Cowboy.

Lets stick with running backs and move onto my personal favorite, Tashard Choice. With the real possibility that Marion Barber will miss Sunday’s game, Choice will get a shot to strut his stuff and show Jason Garrett why he deserves more carries.

Choice hasn’t had many chances to be the featured runner in his career, but as Jean-Jacques Taylor pointed out in a recent column, he’s made the most out of them.

Remember his 23-carry, 88-yard performance against Pittsburgh in 2008? What about his 17 for 90 performance against Baltimore two weeks later? Or the 36-yard touchdown and 92-yard game in the comeback win over Kansas City last season?

Choice doesn’t have many supporters on his side. Jerry Jones constantly rags on him for not playing smarter on special teams, and Jason Garrett continues to say Choice is the third best RB on the team.

What a terrible way to motivate a player you intend to feature against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Nice job guys.

Despite the Cowboys’ poor record this season, they are still hot commodity when it comes to prime time coverage and national broadcasts.

When the NFL had a chance to change the matchup for Week 14 NBC Sunday Night Football, they decided to leave it unchanged and stay with the Eagles versus Cowboys on December 12th. This means the Cowboys will have been nationally-televised for the sixth week in a row. Nice!

New To The Silver & Blue: Bryan McCann

Bryan McCann caught a lot of fans attention during training camp and pre-season this spring only to be claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Ravens on September 5, 2010.  Fortunately for us he was cut by the Ravens after one game.  It didn’t take long for the Cowboys to re-sign him on September 16th. He was signed to the practice squad for a few months and was added to the active roster on November 4th.

It didn’t take long for this undrafted free agent to obtain his first NFL interception, picking off Eli Manning, returning it 101 yards for a touchdown.  That play also added him to the Dallas Cowboys record books for longest interception return once held by Mike Gaechter. McCann was also named Defensive Player of the Week.

The next week against the Detroit Lions he made a play on special teams that proved he is also a smart player that listens and learns from his coaches. McCann knew what he was doing when he picked up the ball from the three yard line and returned it 97 yards for his second NFL touchdown. Coach DeCamillis had preached since spring drills, if a member of the punt team has touched the ball the receiving team can attempt to advance it with no consequence. So even if McCann had fumbled it, the Cowboys still would of had it on the three yard line. This is a rookie we are talking about!  He is talented, smart and studies film over and over. Wow!

So where did this kid come from?

Here is a little background on undrafted free agent Bryan McCann.  He was born on September 29, 1987 in Lawton, Oklahoma. He attended Putman City High School in Oklahoma City, he was rated 20th best player in Oklahoma by Rivals.com and the 25th best player by the Daily Oklahoman. McCann lettered in football, basketball and track.

McCann turned down offers to play for Stanford, Northwestern, Tulsa, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, UAB and Rice. He choose to play for SMU where he played safety, cornerback and returned punts.

I can’t wait to see this young man’s future unfold.  With his work ethic and talent, the sky is the limit. I hope to see him in a Cowboy uniform for along time to come.

Roy Williams Serves Up Some Turkey On Thanksgiving Day

It’s been almost two days, and I still can’t get Thursday’s loss out of my mind. It really doesn’t matter how many games we win or lose from here on out, and I had no illusions of grandeur that somehow the Cowboys were still in it, but that particular loss just stung more than usual.

How amazing would it have been to beat the defending Super Bowl champs after all we’ve been through during this season of turmoil? We were almost there… We almost did it… We could have won our third straight game since we fired the Michelin Man, Wade Phillips…

Maybe Gerald Sensabaugh said it best,

“We just fought back to get ourselves back in the football game,” safety Gerald Sensabaugh said. “Our offense was driving and scoring points. We had a couple of good stops down there by holding them to field goals. It’s not a good feeling when you know you could have won the football game.”

I know many of you hung at least part of that loss on our kicker David Buehler, but he was act to go out there and execute on a 59-yarder that is a field goal kickers version of three Hail Mary passes rolled into one. If he would have made it, the game would have easily been the Cowboys biggest and most inspirational win in the last three seasons.

I firmly put that loss squarely on the shoulders of Roy Williams. Until he had that football stripped away from him, the Cowboys well on their way to pulling off one of the biggest upsets of the season against a phenomenal New Orleans Saints team that was hungry for another win.

I’m so tired of seeing Williams pollute this team with his constant complaining of the field, and his soft approach on the field. I still grit my teeth when I realize we made him one of the top paid wide receivers in the NFL. I’ll never understand how a first round bust who couldn’t cut it with the lowly Detroit Lions, can come to Dallas and get the richest contract ever for a wide receiver in team history. If there is anyway to get his ass off this team this offseason, I hope they do it.

It was difficult to see the team’s best receiver Dez Bryant, so under utilized on Thursday, and you could see the frustration on his face as he spent most of his time on the sidelines and even shouting his displeasure to anyone who would listen. Did you see the expression on Garrett’s face after Williams’ coughed up that ball and with it all of our momentum?

Everything the Cowboys worked so hard to fight back from and accomplish on Thursday, simply vanished because of this one play:

So what did Roy Williams have to say about his back-breaking blunder?

“It happens. I don’t know why things like that happen to good people. I should have just gotten tackled.”

Good people? What does that have to do with anything? What he should have said was that things like that don’t happen to “good players”.

Getting back to something more positive, I’m becoming a huge Jason Garrett fan. How incredible and refreshing was it to see him get in front of the press and take responsibility for that loss? When was the last time a Cowboys head coach did that? And the ironic thing about it was that I had zero problem with the way Garrett coached that game. I saw him resurrect a Cowboys team that was down 17-0 against one of the leagues best, and spark them back to life. I haven’t seen such passion, fight, intensity and raw emotion from the Cowboys in years.

I know Garrett is just the interim coach, but after what I’ve seen in the last three games, I wouldn’t have a problem if Jerry Jones dropped the interim tag from his title.

We’ve already had to well known names at the head of this franchise in Wade Phillips and Bill Parcells. Maybe it’s time we stop pinning our future on some coach whose glory days came with another franchise. I’m tired of having a coach who was chosen simply because he was well known and would be easy to market or sell to the fans.

Maybe this time we should choose a coach with some heart and passion regardless of his name and past exploits. I wasn’t a huge Jason Garrett fan before this season started, but I’m completely sold on him now. He lives and dies with every play call and that’s exactly the kind of coach I always wanted for this team.

What are your thoughts about that?

Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving Day weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

TG2

On behalf of everyone at Lone Star Struck, we would like to thank all of our wonderful readers and contributors for all of their amazing support over the years.

It’s always such an enormous pleasure to share our opinions and interact with the number one football fans in the world!

We also want to thank and remember all of our brave men and women who continue to serve our country and defend the American way of life. Our thoughts are always with you, and we honor your incredible courage and commitment to protecting our freedom.

Thanksgiving and Dallas Cowboys football has always been a great American tradition that sets us apart from all the other NFL teams.

Here’s to a great game today as we take on the New Orleans Saints. We’re shooting for our third victory in a row! 

Today is all about family, friends, great food and Dallas Cowboys football baby!

From all of us, to all of you…

 

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

 

turkeystars

Flashback, Cowboys vs Saints – 1983

It wasn’t a game that will go down in Cowboys history. Actually, it wasn’t even a game that the Cowboys had any business winning.  What the Texas Stadium crowd got in week 4 of the 1983 season was an ending that amazed even the players.

The Cowboys scored first when Danny White connected with Drew Pearson on four yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. The Cowboys followed that score with a Rafael Septien 41 yard field goal that gave them a 10-0 lead.

In the second quarter it would be the Saints that would battle back to tie the Cowboys. Saints kicker Morten Anderson kicked a 19 yard field goal. Then Saints running back Wayne Wilson scored on a two yard run to tie the game at 10-10.

Before halftime the Cowboys took the lead 13-10 when Rafael Septien kicked his second field goal of the game from 34 yards.

The Saints tied the game again with the only points of the third quarter. Morten Anderson kicked his second field goal of the game from 42 yards. The game was tied at 13-13 as the fourth quarter started and the fireworks were about to begin.

On the third play of the fourth quarter and the Cowboys sitting at their own three yard line, Coach Tom Landry reached into his bag of tricks. Danny White took the snap from center and threw a lateral to Drew Pearson who would look to throw and take the Saints by surprise. White’s pass to Pearson was tipped, but still made it to Pearson. The tip interrupted the timing of Pearson’s pass attempt to fellow wide receiver Doug Donley who was streaking down the left sideline.

Saints cornerback Johnnie Poe, who was covering Donley left coverage and ran towards Pearson. Poe hit Pearson’s arm as he attempted his pass and the ball was then tipped high in the air by the Saints Frank Warren. Tony Elliot from the Saints jumped high to grab the ball, but he could only deflect it. The deflection went right back to Frank Warren who came down with the interception. Four plays later the Saints took their first lead of the game when Wayne Wilson scored from the one yard line. The Saints now led 20-13 with 12:35 left in the game.

The mistakes for the Cowboys continued on the kickoff as Ron Fellows fumbled the ball and the Saints recovered at the 20 yard line. The Saints were looking to add to their lead, but on 3rd and 12 Saints quarterback Kenny Stabler fumbled the ball from center and Cowboys Larry Bethea recovered.

The Cowboys could not take advantage of the turnover as Danny White added to the Cowboys fourth quarter mistakes. White threw an interception that the Saints returned to the Cowboys 35 yard line. The Saints once again were looking to add to their 20-13 lead. On 4th and 1 Saints Coach Bum Phillips decided to go for the field goal.

As Morten Anderson attempted his 43 yard field goal, Cowboys Ed Jones got his hands on the ball for the block. Ron Fellows recovered the block on one hop and returned it 62 yards untouched for the touchdown.

“I wasn’t thinking anything but picking up the ball,” Fellows said. “I knew it had to be six.”

Rafael Septien looked to tie the game at 20-20 with the extra point, but the Saints Tyrone Young blocked the kick and the Cowboys remained behind 20-19 with 7:05 left in the game.

The Cowboys got the ball back at their 20 yard line with 4:30 left in the game. Four plays later the Cowboys were at their 49 yard line. Tony Dorsett took a pitch-out from Danny White as the Saints were blitzing. Dorsett broke free into an empty secondary and scored what the Cowboys thought was the go ahead touchdown from 49 yards out. But the officials ruled that Dorsett stepped out of bounds at the 15 yard line.

Danny White continued the drive as he looked to put the Cowboys back on top. White looked for Doug Donley over the middle at the goal line as he beat cornerback Johnnie Poe. But White never saw Saints linebacker Dennis Winston who intercepted White in the end Zone. Instead of taking a knee for the touchback Winston came out of the end zone. He managed to get to the five yard line before being tackled. The Saints offense took over with 2:07 left in the game and still holding onto a 20-19 lead.

All the Saints needed to do was run out the clock and they would improve to 3-1 on the season and hand the Cowboys their first loss of the season. On first down running back Wayne Wilson, who had scored twice in the game was tackled after gaining only one yard. On second down the Saints were looking to put some room between them and the goal line.

Kenny Stabler dropped back into the end zone looking for receiver Jeff Groth, but Everson Walls had him covered. This allowed Cowboys linebacker Anthony Dickerson who was blitzing to beat Wayne Wilson and sack Stabler for the safety. The Cowboys took the lead and won the game 21-20. It was the first time that a team losing by one point won by one point on a safety.

It was a game the Cowboys had no business winning as they turned the ball over six times and allowed seven sacks on Danny White. The lone bright spot for the Cowboys came from Tony Dorsett who rushed for 124 on 16 carries.

“I’ve never been in a game as bizarre as this one,” Everson Walls said. “Were we lucky? That’s an understatement.”

 “That was probably the most bizarre game I’ve ever been involved in,” Dorsett said. “We did everything possible to lose the game, and we still won it.”

“They deserved to win the game, there’s no question about it,” White said.

 

With the strange win by the Cowboys over the Saints they improved their record to 4-0 in 1983. The Cowboys would make a habit of coming from behind in the first half of the 1983 season as they built a 7-0 record with five come from behind wins. Their luck would end in week 8 as they fell to the L.A. Raiders 40-38.

The box score from this game can be viewed here.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198309250dal.htm

Dez Bryant Brings Greatness Back To Number 88

Recently, I came across an interesting comment that said the starting wide receivers, Miles Austin and Roy E. Williams, have combined for seven catches for 123 yards and just one touchdown in the last eight quarters. That’s an average of about 30 yards per game for each of them. That’s unacceptable from your numbers one and two receivers, even the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams can do better than that.

Enter Dez Bryant.

The emergence of our rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant has been nothing short of remarkable. In that same two game span, Dez has lit up the scoreboard to the tune of  12 catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Even more exciting is the fact he was targeted 15 times and Dez came through in 12 of them.

After connecting for a touchdown last week against the Giants at the Meadowlands, Jon Kitna said something I thought was very profound.

As they came off the field on Sunday, Jon Kitna gave Dez Bryant a simple but meaningful message. “I believe in you,” Kitna shouted. With that, Bryant broke into a million-watt smile. 

Watching the chemistry between Kitna and Bryant has truly been something to marvel at, and earlier this week even Miles Austin said that if he were Kitna he would go to Bryant first too.

Roy Williams sounded a little resentful over the emergence of Bryant and wanted to get more looks per game.

“If I get two or three looks a game, I have to capitalize on those two or three looks and hope that they can increase to four or five, six looks a game. Just know when the ball comes my way, I have to make a play.” 

Obviously, that was a thinly veiled hint that Williams is not happy with his decreased role in the offense.

The Cowboys are trying to put what’s been a brutal season thus far behind them. Right now, Dez Bryant gives the Cowboys their best chance to win.

In the last five games, Williams has caught seven balls for 88 yards and two touchdowns, while Dez Bryant has exploded during that span, catching 24 passes for 359 yards and five touchdowns.

“Kind of like the tables have turned,” Williams said. “I was scoring the touchdowns and all of a sudden I get swept up under the thing and here comes Dez scoring touchdowns. I just hope that all three of us can just do it.”

I love something Tim McMahan wrote last week,

Roy Williams said during training camp that it’d take a “baaaaad man” to beat him out of a starting job.

Bryant is clearly a bad man. He’s not officially a starter yet, but he’s bumped Williams down a spot in the Cowboys’ receiver pecking order.

So let me wrap this up with some fun facts about just how good Dez Bryant has been so far this season…

  • Through nine games Dez Bryant has seven touchdowns on the season, the most scores by a Cowboys’ rookie since Julius Jones had seven in 2004.
  • Bryant has scored at least one touchdown in four of the last five games, which is a pace he will have to keep up to make a run at Herschel Walker’s team rookie record for total touchdowns. Walker had 14 touchdowns in 1986.
  • With one more touchdown Bryant ties Calvin Hill, who had eight touchdowns in 1969 and he needs four more to tie Emmitt Smith, who had 11 in 1990. Bob Hayes (1965) and Tony Dorsett (1977) had 13 each.
  • Currently, Bryant’s five touchdown catches tie him with Michael Irvin, Mike Sherrard and Billy Joe DuPree. Another Bryant, Antonio, had six in 2002.
  • In the Monday Night Football game vs. the New York Giants, at Cowboys stadium on October 25, Bryant returned a punt for 93 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest Cowboys punt return since Dennis Morgan’s 98-yard return during the 1974 NFL season.

There must be something special about that Number 88.

First it was the legendary Drew Pearson who donned it and gave it notoriety, than Michael Irvin followed with his own brand of greatness. But now the torch has been passed to the electrifying Dez Bryant who believe it or not, with plenty of season still left to play, has already surpassed what Pearson and Irvin did in their rookie seasons. That my friends, is absolutely incredible.

The Story Behind Cowboys Number 88

Drew Pearson wore the Number 88 from 1973 to 1983. The number was vacant until Michael Irvin wore it from 1988 to 1999. Wide receiver Antonio Bryant and tight ends Jackie Harris and Brett Pierce have all worn the number briefly since Irvin retired. Overall, 10 Cowboys players have worn No. 88.

Marion Barber Continues To Slide

Why does Marion Barber continue to get a healthy share of the playing time at running back? That’s the question Tim McMahon and asks one we’d all like an answer to.

It’s a question that continues to puzzle me. The Cowboys opt to go with a two-back platoon, and dynamic Felix Jones is obviously going to be part of that. But it’s difficult to understand why Barber gets the rest of the carries instead of Tashard Choice, who has been productive on the rare occasions he’s gotten a chance to carry a significant part of the load over the course of his career.

Barber, on the other hand, is averaging an unimpressive 3.3 yards per carry this season. What does Jason Garrett see to justify Barber’s role?

“We like Marion Barber. We like him a lot,” Garrett said. “We haven’t run the ball as well as we need to run the ball, and that’s a team thing. We have to continue to emphasize that in practice and carry the emphasis into the ballgame. We’ll continue to try to do that.

By now you all know my thoughts on the matter as I’ve been calling for the Cowboys to trade Barber for well over a year now. When I first broached the subject, many thought I was nuts, but these days more people see it my way than those who don’t. Unfortunately, during that time Barber’s value only continued to plummet and given his huge salary, he’s now become an albatross that no other team would dare take off of our hands, even if we were to simply give him away.

Barber still has $45 million dollars coming to him, an obscene amount when you look at his paltry production. I guarantee you that if it was anyone else producing at such a poor level, he’d have been dispatched to the bench a long time ago, but in this case, the Cowboys will continue to trot Barber out there despite the probability it weakens the offense and decreases the chance for a win.

Flashback, Cowboys vs Lions – 1981

The Cowboys entered the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit with an 8-2 record and tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East. The Lions were 4-6 and five of their six losses had come in the final minute. The Cowboys were considered Super Bowl contenders in 1981 and they came out in this game ready to hand the Lions their seventh loss. What this game came down too would be the leg of a certain Lions kicker as well as a penalty flag that never fell to the ground. 

The Cowboys defense got the game started by forcing Lions running back Billy Sims to fumble at the Lions 39 yard line. Danny White drove the Cowboys offense to the Lions ten yard line and completed the drive with a ten yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson. The Cowboys took a 7-0 lead.

The Lions then drove down to the Cowboys four yard line looking to tie the game, but Billy Sims fumbled again. The Cowboys were able to add a Rafael Septien field goal to take a 10-0 lead in the second quarter.

The Cowboys defense seemed to have their way in the first half as they sacked Lions quarterback Eric Hipple four times. After forcing a Lions punt, Danny White drove the offense 62 yards in five plays to the Lions 12 yard line. From there he found Pearson again for their second touchdown connection and a commanding 17-0 lead on the Lions.

Like in so many of the Lions games in 1981 they would not go away. Eric Hipple got his passing game going as he connected with receiver Eric Hill for 30 yards. Then the Lions caught the Cowboys by surprise by running a reverse to receiver Mark Nichols that gained another 30 yards, which put the ball at the Cowboys three yard line. From there Billy Sims scored with just 15 seconds left in the first half to get the Lions on the scoreboard. The Lions were down by ten points at halftime, 17-7.

The Lions picked up where they left off at the end of the second quarter as the third quarter got under way. Defensive end Al Baker from the Lions intercepted a Danny White pass that came off of Tony Dorsett’s fingertips. The Lions converted the turnover into an Eric Hipple to Mark Nichols six yard touchdown pass. The Cowboys now led only 17-14.

On the next Cowboys drive Danny White threw his second interception as Lions linebacker Gary Cobb stepped in front of Drew Pearson and gave the ball back to the Lions offense. From there that certain Lions kicker tied the game 17-17 with a 37 yard field goal.

The Lions got the ball back and had taken all the momentum from the Cowboys who once led 17-0. They were looking to take their first lead of the game when Eric Hipple found a wide open Billy Sims for a sure touchdown, but Sims dropped the pass with just over seven minutes to play in the game. The Cowboys offense got the ball back and looked to put the Lions away.

Danny White led the Cowboys offense on an 80 yard time consuming drive. White capped off the drive with his third touchdown pass of the game. This time he White found tight end Jay Saldi for a 14 yard score to give the Cowboys the lead back, 24-17 with 2:37 left in the game.

Once again this Lions team would not go away. With the Lions sitting at their own 19 yard line it took them only 20 seconds to answer the Cowboys go ahead score. Eric Hipple found Billy Sims one-on-one against Cowboys linebacker D.D. Lewis as he streaked down the left sideline. Sims caught Hipple’s pass at the Cowboys 40 yard line and scored easily to tie the game 24-24 with just over two minutes remaining.

With the score tied the Cowboys thought that overtime would be the best way to go. It became obvious that the Lions were not thinking about overtime like the Cowboys were. The Cowboys ran three plays and were unable to gain a first down. The Lions used all their timeouts and forced the Cowboys to punt the ball back to the Lions with 1:13 left in the game.

Eric Hipple started the Lions drive at the 18 yard line. Quickly Hipple connected with David Hill on passes of 15 and 30 yards. Then with 25 seconds left he found tight end Ulysses Norris for an 18 yard completion to the Cowboys 30 yard line. With the Lions facing a third down and no timeouts it was thought that Hipple would just spike the ball to stop the clock, but the offense and special teams became confused. In what can only be described as confusion for the Lions as the clock continued to run, that certain Lions kicker came running out onto the field. Eric Hipple looked around not knowing whether to run a play or hold for a field goal attempt. Hipple went to a knee and took the snap from a makeshift offensive line. That certain Lions kicker approached the ball with just four seconds left. His 47 yard field goal attempt sailed up and through the uprights as time expired. The Cowboys just stood there in disbelief as the Lions celebrated their 27-24 victory.

In the newspaper the next morning a picture appeared showing the Lions last second field goal attempt. What was interesting was that the Lions players all had a number listed above them. What was even more interesting was that the numbers totaled 12. The Lions had 12 men on the field on their last second field goal attempt. With all the confusion of the last play for the Lions the officials never saw that they had 12 players on the field and a flag was never thrown. Of course nothing could be done at this point as league officials admitted their mistake. The Lions had the last second field goal to win the game and the Cowboys with the loss had fallen one game back of the Eagles in the NFC East.

I’m sure you are all wondering why I have not mentioned the name of the Lions kicker in this game. There became a connection with the Cowboys and this Lions kicker many years after this game. Because of the way this game ended there were many Cowboys fans who took a disliking to this kicker. He not only beat the Cowboys, but he beat them on a play that should have never happened. But like so many other times, there are opposing players who are disliked until they become a part of your favorite team and help them win. The kicker in this game was Eddie Murray, who became a member of the Cowboys in 1993. Murray kicked the game winning field goal in overtime against the Giants in the final game of the season. The win also earned the Cowboys the NFC East division title and home field advantage in the playoffs. Of course as Cowboys fans know, Eddie Murray went on to collect a Super Bowl Championship that season as he kicked three field goals in Super Bowl XXVIII as the Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills. It’s strange how things work out in life. Eddie Murray goes from being disliked by Cowboys fans in 1981 to being loved by Cowboys fans in 1993.

The box score from the Lions game can be seen here.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198111150det.htm

The video of game winning kick for the Lions can be seen here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDLgoM8lGng

Gameday Graphic: Cowboys at Giants

Well here we are Cowboys fans… Most of us have been screaming for change for well over a year and now that change is suddenly upon us. While most of us were hoping for something more than just Jason Garrett, it will certainly do in the interim, and we all should be rooting for him to succeed. I know I will. Our first game in this new Wade-less era comes against a fierce bitter rival, the New York Giants. The last time we faced off against the Giants we suffered a devastating and stunning loss at home, and I’m not talking about the game, I’m talking about the loss of our quarterback, Tony Romo. They say that pay-back’s a bitch… Let’s go out there and get this new era of Cowboys football off to a great start by handing them a defeat.      

The Cowboys matchup against the Giants this afternoon. Television coverage begins at 3:15 Central time on FOX.

The Lone Star Struck game chat will be open all day and we invite all fans to join us as we root for the Boys and share our game thoughts. Its a great experience with fans from both sides of the ball going at it, cheering for their team. We’ve had a lot of fun and excitement in the chat room so far this year, stop by and say hi you might find you’d like to stay a while!

Enjoy the game – GO COWBOYS!

Flashback, Cowboys vs Giants – 1992

Going into the second game of the season against the NY Giants in 1992, the Cowboys had only beaten the Giants once in the previous eight meetings. The Cowboys were looking to go 2-0 for the first time since 1986 and they got off to a good start.

On their first possession of the game the Cowboys drove 72 yards on the Giants defense. They took a 7-0 lead when Emmitt Smith scored from the five yard line.

Later in the first quarter the Cowboys defense forced the Giants to punt. On the punt attempt Cowboys linebacker Ken Norton Jr. blocked the punt by Sean Landeta. Special team’s player Robert Williams recovered the ball at the three yard line and crawled into the end zone to give the Cowboys a 14-0 lead.

Cowboy’s kicker Lin Elliott kicked two field goals in the first half to put the Cowboys ahead, 20-0. Then with 32 seconds left before halftime the Cowboys offense led by Troy Aikman found themselves sitting at the Giants two yard line. From there Aikman connected with Jay Novacek for the touchdown to give the Cowboys a commanding 27-0 halftime lead.

Less than a minute into the third quarter Cowboys safety James Washington intercepted a Phil Simms pass. That set up Troy Aikman’s second touchdown pass of the game. This time he found Michael Irvin from 27 yards out to increase the Cowboys lead to 34-0.

The Cowboys were dominating in all three phases of the game. Offense, defense and special teams could do nothing wrong. While the Cowboys were building a 34-0 lead early in the third quarter, the Giants offense could only manage two first downs.

With such a large lead the Cowboys seemed to relax or maybe they were just too young of a team and did not know how to finish off an opponent. The Giants took full advantage and put together scoring drives of 80, 80, 62 and 55 yards in the second half.

Running back Rodney Hampton got the Giants on the scoreboard first with a five yard touchdown run. Not long after Hampton’s touchdown, fullback Jarrod Bunch scored on a Phil Simms pass to get the Giants within 34-14 of the Cowboys as the third quarter ended.

Phil Simms threw his second touchdown pass of the second half when he connected with wide receiver Stephen Baker from six yards to make the score 34-21 Cowboys.

Each team seemed to reverse rolls from how it was in the first half. Now in the second half it was the Giants dominating and the Cowboys struggling. Phil Simms led the Giants again deep into Cowboys territory and threw his third touchdown pass of the half. Tight end Howard Cross caught a two yard touchdown pass from Simms which got the Giants to within six points of the Cowboys, 34-28 with 6:52 left in the game.

The Giants defense forced a Cowboys punt on their next possession and the Giants got the ball back with 3:42 left in the game. With the Giants stadium crowd watching such an incredible comeback by their team and the Giants about to start their drive, the scoreboard operator decided to get involved in the game. Giants Stadium flashed the final score on the scoreboard as…Giants, 35, Cowboys, 34.

The Giants started their drive with 3:42 to play on their own 18 yard line. They had sliced a 34 point deficit to just six points and were looking to finish off the Cowboys with their fifth touchdown of the second half. The Cowboys defense seemed to pick the right time to finally wake up. On first down Phil Simms went down field, but the pass fell incomplete. On second down Simms passed to Hampton who was tackled by Kenneth Gant and Tony Casillas after a two yard gain. On third and eight Simms went to Dave Meggett who was brought down for no gain by Darren Woodson and Bill Bates. The Giants punted hoping to stop the Cowboys offense once again and get the ball back.

This time it was the Cowboys offense that woke up. Emmitt Smith ran for a first down. Then Michael Irvin caught a 12 yard pass from Aikman on a third and seven with 1:40 to play. The Giants were out of timeouts and the Cowboys ran out the rest of the clock to win the game 34-28. It was the Cowboys first win at Giants Stadium since 1987.

“It’s just a relief to get out of New York alive with this one,” said coach Jimmy Johnson, who is 2-0 for the first time as an NFL coach. “This tells you how young a team we have. We had a big lead and didn’t know how to react.”

“When Simms got hot and their receivers started catching everything and we started missing tackles, they got back in it, said Johnson. They’re to be commended for getting back in the game. By the same token, our guys have to be commended for coming through in a true character test.”

“I’d hate for anybody to think that we let up,” Aikman said. “But the thing we didn’t do offensively is sense the urgency of each drive.”

“It’s the first time to be 2-0 since I’ve been here,” Aikman said. “It’s a great feeling. Last year we were 1-2 after three games, and it seemed like all we ever had after that were must-win situations. I think we’re going to find out a lot about this football team.”

Troy Aikman led the Cowboys with 238 yards and two touchdowns. Emmitt Smith rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown and also added 55 yards on eight receptions. Michael Irvin caught four passes for 73 yards and one touchdown.

The box score for the game can be seen here.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199209130nyg.htm